‘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!’
‘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!’