Short Story Day 73 of 365
Jake the Plumber came to the condo building quarterly for preventative maintenance. His contract required assistance from 2-3 maintenance staff if he needed it.
Once completed, Jake would treat the entire maintenance crew to a pizza lunch.
When Jake arrived each quarter, staff jumped at the chance to work with him because it took them away from vacuuming floors and emptying dumpsters.
Today, the thermometer topped out at 104 by midday. Jake’s work was done, the staff devoured most of the three large supreme pizzas, and all were cooling off in the tiny break room. One window air conditioner worked overtime to cool the room. Seven men lounged in every position imaginable, trying desperately to conserve energy. The heat and work had zapped all their energy.
Reynolds the Doorman tapped on the breakroom door before entering. “Sorry, don’t mean to disturb you fine gentlemen, but is black sludge supposed to be coming out of the ceiling in the hallway?”
Like the cartoons of old where there’s a momentary gap between the spoken word and action taken, so it was with the staff. All seven men leapt into action and scrambled out the door when they realized what Reynolds had said.
When they arrived at the lava-thick sludge scene, the building manager was already headed towards Jake the Plumber with fire in her eyes. She used words and phrases the staff had never heard before to describe him, his ancestry, and his work ethic. While he tried to calm her, the staff went to work to remove the ceiling tiles and stop the sludge leak.
By the time the building manager was done ripping Jake a new one, the sludge had been mopped up and the leak had been fixed – all within minutes.
Maintenance all returned to the break room just as Reynolds the Doorman was leaving with the last piece of pizza in hand.