Wednesday, January 5, 2005

Well, today I planned to get very little done, and I did. Or, rather, didn’t. Er. I did as little as I planned.


Tuesdays are typically long, hard days for me. I’ve noticed that, on most Tuesdays, I come home tired and don’t have the energy for any significant projects; I have to veg out that night. So, I intentionally planned to do only a few things today, namely, make stir-fry, leave a check out for the plumber who’s coming tomorrow, and print out the submitted stories for my writer’s group next Tuesday. I didn’t get to the stir-fry, but I did manage the rest of it, plus I finished writing the first draft of my December short story, “Crossing the Border.”

The plumber is coming for an entertaining reason. When my Dad and I worked on hooking up my new dishwasher last Friday, we found a valve that looked like it shut off the water to the house. When my Dad turned it, he discovered he was turning it off, so he figured that wasn’t it. When he turned it back on, it began spraying water everywhere. After a few Calvin and Hobbes moments of fighting the streams of water, he closed the valve, but it was still dripping water, one drop every couple of seconds.

We got a bucket under it, and I tried calling a plumber…but this was four o’clock on New Year’s Eve. I finally got through to one service that promised to find someone who’d give me a call and an estimate as to when she’d (!) be out. Not surprisingly, I never heard back. Fortunately, the drip was slow enough and my bucket was big enough that I could leave it over the weekend.

So I called back on Monday. Turns out they don’t even service my area. Thanks for the promise, then. So I started calling plumbers again, and got one who said they’d send someone out Wednesday morning. My Dad volunteered to hang out at my place so I wouldn’t have to miss work, for which I’ve made sure to thank him repeatedly. So hopefully, the plumber will (A) fix the leak, and (B) figure out the location of the main shut-off valve for my townhouse. If he does that, Dad says he should be able to get my dishwasher up and running tomorrow afternoon.

I have my fingers crossed, but not my breath held. So to speak.

Man, English is a weird language.

She had to admit she was intrigued. The talkative one poured out his story, about his life in the mob, being assigned to “take care of” Thomas, his failures to do so thanks to Doodlehopper, and some ludicrous fairy tale about meeting with a bunch of mafia big-wigs who had some guy chained up in the same room.

Still. They dutifully showed her the tattoos on their palms, which marked them as mafia for life. The very few who managed to escape that life made sure to get skin grafts for their palms, since one glance at those tattoos meant an instant pink slip.

The talkative one was winding down. “So, you see, we can’t go back, because they’ll kill us. And no matter where we go, they’ll find us and kill us. There’s no use running. But…errrrr….” He looked down at his hands, which were throttling a paper napkin. “You’re really good at protecting yourself, and you’re against them. So we figure, if we could join up with you, we could fight together. We’d protect you, and you’d protect us.”

She fought the urge to laugh, knowing that that would be at best impolite and at worst an invitation for one of them to launch into hysterics.

He saw her face spasm and quickly said, “We won’t get in your way! We’ll make our own meals and everything. And we really are good at what we do, we just…well…you’re better than anyone else we’ve met.”

She closed her eyes and scrubbed a hand over her face. “I hate to sound cliché,” she said, “but there’s no way I can trust you. Maybe you’ve been given another chance and now you’re just trying to get my guard down.”

The quiet one spoke up, saying with a soft voice, “Boss is going to send another group after you. We know who they are, and we know how to stop them. One of them is going to attack you tonight. We can tell you what’s going on, and I know their system enough to hack in and find out what they’ll do next.”

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