Saturday, February 23, 2013

365 Jobs: Handyman Sketches: Quickie

Don't Blame Me, I'm Just Here to Fix the Garbage Disposal: Part Eight


I hear music from the upper floor.
Lickety-split I shut the door,
ring the bell. No response so I
let myself in again shouting my mission:
"Halloo!  Handyman!  I'll be in the kitchen!"

One must learn the rules, to be a handyman complete,
One respects tenant privacy.
One is discrete.

Loosening the faucet,
beneath the woolly bushing,
one slips an O ring,
gently pushing.
Next, one lubricates the threads with something smelly:
a dab of plumber's petroleum jelly.
Deep within the valve
where the leak is streaming,
one inserts the grinder
for a thorough reaming.
Let's not even mention,
(such things need no talk)
yielding with a sound like a squawk,
from the tube one squeezes
a fresh bead of caulk.

All the while with my repairs
I hear mellow music, murmurs,
human motion upstairs.

"All done!  Goodbye!"
Too busy,
they make no reply.

Closing the door
the key needs a jiggle.
From the window above
the sound of
soft giggles.

Note: Among my contracting jobs, for many years I've served as the on-call handyman for a group of townhouse-style apartments — or rental units — or whatever one should call an enclosed square of two-story dwellings in a subdivision of Sunnyvale, California.  It's steady money.  As a minor league writer, I need that.
I tried to summarize the experience in prose, but verse seems to work best.  Most of the events took place in the 1980s though a few are more recent.  This is Part Eight of a series.

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