On The Job – (Fiction)

Good morning. Please come in. The drain in the kitchen sink is blocked, and the cold tap won’t stop dripping. I don’t want the water flooding over the top, so I called you urgently. Do you think you can fix it?

Yes, of course, I can fix it, madam; I’m a very experienced and qualified plumber. I’ve been doing this job for twenty-five years now, so I know my stuff. Let me have a look. I expect you’ve been putting fat down the sink, haven’t you? You housewives are all the same.

No, actually, I never put fat down the sink.

Huh! You know, you should never do that. It ends up bunging up the sewers; then some poor geezer has to go down there amongst all the crap to clear out other people’s shit.

I told you, I don’t put fat down the sink – ever.

Well, it looks that way to me. Tut! This job will take extra time to sort out.

Oh, dear – is that going to cost a lot more? I don’t have a lot of spare cash. You know, I used to do my own plumbing jobs before my accident.

I don’t think women should be casually messing around with plumbing. They don’t know what they’re doing – they’ll only make the problem ten times worse. They should leave it to the experts like myself.  Us men, that is.

There are female plumbers, too, you know.

Really!! They’re not as capable of tackling these tough jobs as we are. They haven’t got the hands for it.

I really think that’s unfair of you. After all, as I said, I used to be able to sort out problems like this, especially in my own home.

Look, madam! I’m a professional, as I’ve said. Do you want me to do this job or not!? If you’re going to cause a fuss and complain, you’d better find yourself another plumber to do the job. I’ve had enough of this. Women are so ungrateful these days. So, you just go ahead. After all, you might be happier with a woman plumber. If you can find one, that is. Ha ha!  Don’t come back to me when it all goes wrong.

Would you kindly leave, please?

With pleasure, madam! Just as soon as you pay me.

But you haven’t done anything.


That’s your fault, missus – you wanted the job done. I charge a call-out fee – that’ll be £85 plus £60 for any time up to the first hour. Think yourself bloody lucky I’m not charging you for the inconvenience.

I don’t have that sort of money, and my husband is at work, but I’ll ring him and ask him what time he’ll be back. Hold on, please.

Well, if I’m coming back later, that’s going to cost you extra – taking up more of my time like this. Hurry up!

“Oh, hello. This is Mrs Warren here. Could I please speak to my husband, Chief Superintendent Warren ……

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR – THIS PIECE ISN’T TO IMPLY THAT WOMEN ARE WEAKER THAN MEN, BUT TO SHOW A POWER STRUGGLE BETWEEN A PARTICULARLY STROPPY PLUMBER AND A SEEMINGLY TIMID WOMAN.

Image by Vien Hoang from Pixabay




32 thoughts on “On The Job – (Fiction)

    1. Stroppy is a British slang/informal word meaning bad-tempered, or short-tempered, awkward, difficult, quarrelsome or bloody-minded (from Roget’s Thesaurus – synonyms). Hope that helps, Jeff 😊.

      1. Ah, got it. Stroppy sounds like a good thing. Healthy people in America used to be called ‘strapping.’ I hope your character isn’t modeled after someone you encountered in a similar situation. I think that attitude here is finally dead. Women do pretty much every job now and usually better than men.

      2. My character in this story was modelled on a workman. I had to come and install a cat flap in the back door. He tried to rip me off and was most unpleasant. At the time, I didn’t dare to argue with him and just let him get on with it. I never had him back again, though. I used to be able to do all my DIY, everything from decorating and plastering (small jobs) to minor electrics (with the mains power off, naturally). I really enjoyed it. Now, I have to get someone to do those sorts of jobs for me, and it really grates on me that I can’t do them anymore because of my disability. I often mumble under my breath that I could do a better job if I were still able.

  1. I will not comment about women vs men
    Because that will initiate a conversation.
    But hey, loved it.
    It’s refreshing, it’s fun
    And I want more of it.
    What’s that fat down the sink??

    1. Thanks, Devang. I’m glad you enjoyed it. When we talk about putting fat down the sink (or toilet), it refers to things like butter, oil, ghee, grease etc – anything that would solidify in the pipes. When people do this, it often blocks the pipes or goes into the sewers and accumulates causing huge fatbergs, which have to be cleared out by workman and workwomen down in the sewers which run underground. Fatbergs are huge accumulations of solid fat, sometimes weighing up to 30-40 tonnes!! I hope that explanation helps.

    1. Thanks, Brit. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I am enjoying fiction now; it’s something entirely new for me, so I have a lot to learn. This is only the second piece of fiction I’ve written. Xx 🌻💛

  2. Plumbers do blame everything on fat down the sink, don’t they! Even female plumbers! Good work, Ellie. I just hope English plumbers are not all so chauvanistic anymore. If a guy can’t handle doing the same job as a woman, he should quit and become a housemother!

    1. Many of them to complain about this, yes. There are, of course, some lovely, helpful plumbers about, too. I daresay women plumbers would feel the same way about fat down the sink. Personally, I’ve had some good, friendly plumbers over the years, but also some ill-tempered, inpatient, know-it-all plumbers, too. I love your comment about becoming a housemother!

    1. Thanks, Davy. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I enjoyed writing it, too. It’s only my second piece of fiction ever, so I still have a lot to learn. Football terminology is a perfect way of expressing how you found it. I have had one of two plumbers (or other tradespeople) talk to me like this, but I just let them get on with giving me a quote, and then I contact them to say thanks, but I’ve found someone else cheaper. I’m not assertive enough to ask them to leave! If someone comes into my home to do a job, I expect them to be polite and courteous. I’ve been lucky so far in finding pleasant and efficient tradespeople. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    1. Thank you very much, Margaret. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thanks also for following my blog – it’s much appreciated. I will come over to your blog to see what you’re writing about tomorrow. Take care x 😊.

    1. Thank you very much, Bridgette. It happened to me in the past, which inspired me to write this piece. I will try to write another piece of fiction, although I find it more difficult than poetry or prose. Thank you for your encouragement and kind words. Xx 💓🌹

      1. I’m excited to read more from you! There can be a lot of power in writing fiction. Maybe you can write a different story for little Ellie.

      2. Thank you for having faith in me, Bridgette. I’ll definitely give it a go. I’ll have to think more about writing some fiction about little Ellie – it’s certainly food for thought, and I’m always up for a challenge, even if it takes me a long time to get there. Thanks for the great idea. Xx 💖

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