January 21, 2010
Evan pried the lid off the plastic tub from the depths of the fridge. His mouth twisted in disgust. He dumped the greenish brown gunk into the kitchen sink, turned on the disposer with a good deal of water and watched it whirl down the big hole. And whirl up again.
• • • • •
The ponytailed man wore dark overalls embroidered with the name “Len.” He fed a cable into the open drain cleanout, looking back and forth between it and the video feed on a small monitor.
“Thought so,” he said. “See? Roots. They’ve busted through the old terra cotta pipe.”
Audrey grimaced. “It’s like we’re zooming down somebody’s aorta.”
“Most people say it looks like a colonoscopy. I saw my colonoscopy and I said, ‘Looks like a drain’.”
“Well, how long do you think it’ll last? I mean, if we’re careful?”
Len reeled in the line, on the end of which was a camera. “You coulda asked me that ten years ago, and I woulda said two or three. And I woulda been right.”
Audrey crunched across the snow with her checkbook as Len loaded up his van.
“Do you want it made out to the company or to you?” she asked. She’d dealt with enough subcontractors to know there was a range of bookkeeping options.
“CC Plumbing,” he said, and gave her his card. She smiled as she read it.
“Wow, your name is Carew? I’m a Carew. Well, my grandmother was. She traced our family tree back to thirteenth century Wales.”
He leaned forward. “You know about the castle?”
“Yes! Carew Castle! It’s a ruin now, but—” She shrugged. “I’d still like to go.”
“The wife and I went last year. Gotta see our castle in Wales, she says. Made her feel like royalty. Went to England and Scotland, too. Germany, France, Spain, Portugal….”
Audrey was sweeping spiderwebs and dead leaves from the doorway when Evan came out.
“All fixed?” he asked.
“No, that was just the diagnosis. We have to jackhammer out the concrete and put in new PVC. Which is fine, you know, because then it won’t ever clog up again.”
She stopped and looked at him. “Did I ever tell you about our castle?”
“We have a castle?”
Audrey swished the broom across the threshold.
©2010 Pam Wells