Neighbourly Plumbing Emergency

‘Well,’ I shouted over the roar of the escaping water, ‘at least we’re going to have an interesting day.’

‘Shut up, Ronald,’ my coworker glared at me from behind the leaking pipe. ‘This is your fault!’

‘I’m sorry?’ I frowned. ‘Run that one past me again?’

‘I told you we needed to get the hot water system looked at!’

‘Jenny, you’re right,’ I said, feigning horror. ‘And I am the only person here who has their own mobile phone!’

‘It’s your job!’

‘What is?’

‘Fixing things, calling plumbers,’ Jenny gestured vaguely. ‘Stopping our house from flooding.’

‘Is that so?’ I scoffed. ‘Just out of curiosity, how far am I supposed to offer look for someone who offers plumbing services? Across Melbourne, or just our suburb?’

‘Don’t be smart with me!’

‘Don’t be condescending with me!’



‘Uh…did somebody need a plumber?’ came a timid voice from the doorway.

We both whirled our gaze on him in an instant, our mild-mannered neighbour with a friendly face and a box full of tools.

‘What?’ my coworker frowned. ‘I mean, yes, please. Hi. Who are you again?’

‘My name is Kyle, I work next door,’ he said, clearly still nervous. ‘I saw the water outside, and I thought I’d just…’

‘Thank you, Kyle,’ I said through a strained smile. ‘We appreciate it.’

He nodded at me, the mood somewhat thawing, and waded into the room.

‘It’s a big one,’ he whistled.

‘Do you work for a company that does hot water repairs in the Melbourne area, Kyle?’ my wife asked him, innocently enough.

‘Uh,’ Kyle said, nervous again. ‘I guess? It’s just me and my dad, so—’

‘Next door!’ my coworker erupted, shoving a finger in my face. ‘You literally couldn’t find a qualified plumber if you lived next door to one!’

‘You also live here!’ I shot back. ‘Heaven forbid you ever talk to the neighbours!’



Flush In Trouble

‘Melvin!’ came the cry from downstairs. I briefly considered ignoring it.

Melvin!’ it repeated, angrier this time.

I sighed. No ignoring it. I just had to face the music.

‘Yeah, mum?’ I called innocently down the staircase.

‘Come here, please,’ she called back. Not calmly, exactly. More like… restrained.

I slowly trod down the stairs and into the bathroom, where my very unimpressed mother stood with her arms crossed in front of the toilet.

‘Explain yourself please,’ she said, tersely.

‘Uh…’ I started, but she immediately cut me off.

‘What happened?’

‘I don’t know what you mean?’ I tried, momentarily forgetting my pledge to face the music.

‘You know exactly what I mean,’ she said, pointing at the toilet bowl. ‘Now, I know that’s not your sister’s action figure sitting in my S-bend.’

‘It could be,’ I mumbled.

‘So tell me what happened,’ she said, ignoring me. ‘Explain why I’m about to call a plumber that fixes blocked drains in the Brighton area.’

‘Well…’ I started. ‘I brought him in here with me because I had to go, and I remembered that the box said that he was king of Atlan-tiss…’

‘Oh, Melvin,’ my mother put her head in her hand.

‘I thought he could swim!’ I said. ‘I wanted to see him swim!’

‘Sure,’ she said, exhausted. ‘But then why did you go and flush?’

‘Swimming was boring,’ I shrugged. ‘I wanted him to have to battle a cyclone!’

‘And how’d that go?’ she asked dryly.

‘He… he lost,’ I admitted.

‘Right,’ she sighed.

‘Will we be on the news?’ I asked excitedly.


‘Will we make it to the news?’ I repeated with a grin. I leapt into the headline with my best newscaster voice. ‘“Tonight: the great drain unblocking – Melbourne has never seen anything like it!”’

‘Why do you care if we make it on the news?’ she asked, frowning.

‘Because we always watch it!’ I told her.

‘Oh, I’ll be watching it,’ she nodded. ‘But how are you going to see it if you can’t use the TV for a month?’