Stella writes poems and short stories and has published a selection of these on HubPages.
'You can call me Randy, if you like!'
'I'm Becoming Rather Paranoid About Leaks!'
In the throes of another seemingly endless washday and irate because she'd almost tripped over the children's toys discarded on the landing, Mrs Downe stormed downstairs to answer the front door, unwieldy laundry basket in hand. Dumping it on the kitchen worktop with an exasperated sigh, she quickly adjusted her hair in the hall mirror before opening the door. With just a smattering of make-up on and a dress that had seen better days, she hoped the caller was no one she wanted to impress.
Help! There's a drip in the House!
It was the plumber who she'd phoned earlier that week. "Hello luv, I'm Mr.Randolph," he introduced himself in a low drawl. "But you can call me Randy if you like. I hear you've got a drip in the house."
"Yes, but he's at work at the moment."
They both laughed.
"Seriously though," Mrs Downe continued, "as I said on the phone, I've got a tap in the kitchen that won't stop dripping and the downstairs toilet won't flush properly. I've been trying to get hold of a plumber for ages."
"Right then, luv... here's your opportunity," he declared almost throwing himself at her. "I'm all yours!
Mrs.Downe gasped in surprise and rapidly moved to one side. It was going to be one of those days.
Still, with an air of supreme confidence, the plumber followed her through to the kitchen, toolbox in hand. "Let's take a look and I'll see what I can do for you."
Twenty or thirty years ago he might have been considered quite a good catch by some, but now his face was clearly that of a man well past his prime. She was amazed that he still fancied his chances with someone as young as herself. Maybe he didn't realise how unattractive he was. She secretly wished she could be as bold when meeting someone she fancied. Taking a step back to avoid any unnecessary contact, she was dismayed to find him edging even closer.
"Would you like a coffee first?" she offered politely, telling herself to be careful not to respond to any of his banal innuendos. She already felt guilty because she'd been the one to make the first joke.
She went to fill the kettle from the dripping tap. "Would you like anything with it?"
"Depends what you have in mind luv," he winked, with a lecherous grin that creased up his face like a shrivelled prune, making him appear even older.
He reminded her of Sid James from the old "Carry On" films. Well, he isn't going to carry on with me, she decided. "I was thinking of a couple of digestives actually."
"Oh, is that all... and I thought you looked the generous type. Are they suggestive digestives by any chance?"
"No... Mc Vitie's Wholemeal."
"Aw... forget it then," he replied, pretending to look dejected as he began to inspect the faulty tap.
With a disapproving scowl, she began to sort the laundry. She'd better talk as little as possible, she thought, seeing nothing appeared to discourage him and it was attention she could do without. After all, time is money where workmen are concerned and there were other things she could find to do than flirt with an amorous and ageing plumber all afternoon. It was true she could do with a little romance in her life but if that ever happened it would be with a person of her choosing and at a time and a place convenient to her.
"Hmm... looks like your tap's corroded luv... I'll have to order you a new one," he informed her, inspecting the offending tap as if it was some gangrenous limb which needed radical surgery.
"Oh no! More expense," she sighed, knowing her parsimonious husband would complain when the bill arrived. "I'll show you through to the toilet."
The plumber disappeared briefly into the downstairs cloakroom whistling "Love is a Many Splendored Thing."
"You'll need a new ball cock in your cistern too," he said nonchalantly when he reappeared a few minutes later. "Now, what about YOUR "Plumbing" - is that all right? I can attend to that too if you like."
"No thanks, all the same, MY "Plumbing" gets serviced regularly, so you don't need to worry about that." It was a lie - quite a whopper in fact - but she wasn't going to discuss her marital problems with a mere plumber. Amazed at his persistence and downright impudence she stuck strictly to the matter in hand. "Just order the new tap for the sink and the part for the toilet and come back when you can fit them."
A week later and he was back with the parts as promised. "You look pleased to see me, luv. Have you missed me?" he grinned, still convinced he was irresistible.
"No, I'm just happy because the kids have just gone to school! You're a bit cheeky aren't you! "she protested indignantly. "I bet in your job you get a chance to try it on with everyone."
"Not everyone - I've got good taste."
"Well... so have I!"
"Right all done luv," he said after completing his tasks.
Mrs Downe was relieved and imagined relaxing in her favourite armchair with the latest Danielle Steele for an hour or so before lunch, but it was not to be.
"Oh, and by the way, your hot water's a bit too hot. Maybe your thermostat's too high."
"Hmm... not as high as yours!"
"You'd better let me have a look in your airing cupboard... where is it?"
"In the main bedroom."
"Ooooh... you'd better take me upstairs then."
"Oh come on then, if you insist."
"Your water really is much hotter than it should be," said the plumber making her feel as if he was genuinely concerned. Does your hot-water tank make any strange bubbling noises at night?"
"Err... I don't know. You see I don't sleep in the main bedroom, I sleep in the spare room."
Mr Randolph's eyes lit up like two fiery beacons as he assessed the situation for what it was, "Oh, so you don't sleep with your old man then? Are you sure your "plumbing" doesn't need attending to?"
"Very sure thanks. And you're driving me right round the bend now." Exhausted by his audacity she vented her aggression on a pile of clean washing on top of the landing cupboard as she was accustomed to doing when aggravated. Folding, smoothing and patting items of laundry several times over to stay calm, was a habit of hers but on this occasion, she felt like twisting one of her candy-striped bed sheets into a knot and strangling the plumber with it.
"There, all done, I've set the thermostat lower. I'll send you the bill in a week or so unless you want to pay me in kind."
"No thanks, the bill will be fine."
Convinced that the ardent fellow was now out of her life for good, Mrs Downe could now breathe a sigh of relief. But a few days later she threw up her arms in dismay on discovering an ominous puddle on the downstairs cloakroom floor. She had no alternative but to call the irritating fellow once again.
Soon Mr Randolph was standing on her doorstep with the same look of expectancy about him.
Mrs Downe purposely donned the frumpiest, most matronly-looking dress she could find, but he was as undeterred as ever. He was quite a character, she had to admit. "I had to call you back as the toilet's started leaking again," she sighed with resignation.
"I knew it... you deliberately did something to make it leak so that you could see me again!" He smiled a knowing smile, like some super-sleuth who had just solved a mysterious crime.
"No I didn't... honest." She was livid now and pointed at him accusingly. "What impertinence! Maybe you did something to it so you'd have to come back! Look, all I want is a toilet that flushes properly and a kitchen tap that doesn't drip. If you want to read any more into it than that, then you're sadly mistaken. And by the way, I thought I'd let you know - I'm becoming rather paranoid about leaks."
Mr Randolph attended to the leak, wiping up the offending puddle with one of Mrs Downe's best hand towels. "There you are - all sorted. It just needed a bit more sealant around the pipe, your husband could have done that for you."
"Yes," she replied, quite innocently, "but you've probably got a better tool than he has."
"And I know what to do with it too!" He smirked as he began thrusting his pelvis back and forth for added emphasis. And as if this wasn't quite enough, he couldn't resist the opportunity to pinch her playfully on the bottom as she bent down to pick up the saturated towel.
"Oh! You beast! Get out! "she screamed, turning round savagely to slap him full in the face. Then, opening the front door, she very nearly kicked him out of it, making sure he hadn't left his toolbox behind. "Next time, I'm getting a gay plumber!" she shouted after him, while he was still within earshot.
A week elapsed and the dreaded bill arrived.
"Good God, woman! It's a bill for 240 pounds from that no-good plumber of yours!" gasped Mr Downe in disbelief as he opened the mail over breakfast. "Couldn't you have paid him in kind? And by the way, there's another leak in the downstairs hand-basin."
Mrs.Downe grabbed her fully-laden washing basket, shook her fist in the air and screamed at her husband murderously, before storming out of the kitchen...
"YOU FIX IT!"
Not the Most Amorous but Definitely the Worst Plumber Ever!
© 2014 Stella Kaye