Thinking About Plumbers

Being any sort of tradesperson must be really hard work. I don’t envy them in the slightest. Long days, tough conditions and really tricky problems to solve makes for stressful work – the type of work that if you’re not careful, could take years off your life. The reason I’m thinking about this instead of doing my own work is that there are commercial gas installers at our office right now.

I’m watching them fix the gas (I assume, I could be wrong because I have no idea about anything related to plumbing) and I just don’t know how they’re maintaining their morale. It’s extremely hot today and they’ve been standing under direct sunlight for hours. I’m feeling the heat and I’m just sitting in my comfortable private office with reverse cycle air conditioning. I feel really bad for the gas plumbers, if I’m being honest.

I wonder if they’re looking forward to the long weekend just as much as I am. I assume they are, if not more. See, this long weekend is going to be great because if you take an extra four days of annual leave, it works out that you get eleven days off in a row. How great is that? I saw that would be the case on the very first day back at work this year and immediately took those four days off. I needed to get in early so that I had guaranteed time off. 

I wonder if it’s as competitive to get time off for employees of hot water repair companies servicing Melbourne as it is for general office workers in Melbourne. Maybe next time I get up to make myself a coffee with our fancy coffee machine I’ll ask the commercial plumbers if they’re looking forward to the long weekend and whether they have time off or not. I hope for their sake they do because working when most people have holidays would suck. 


Into the Sewer

Maphira made the decision early that if she was going to be hauled through the sewers, she would be as annoying as possible about it.

“You seriously never played any Minimon games?” she asked Vai, her voice echoing through Melbourne’s dank and putrid sewer system. “Never even heard of them?”

“Nope,” answered Vai, her voice strained, likely already irritated at Maphira’s constant talking. “Should I have?”

Although Vai couldn’t see it, Maphira gave her former partner a shocked look through the darkness. “Of course, you should have! Minimon is the global sensation that took the world by storm in 1996, with the release of the first video games, Minimon Red and Green versions. Short for Miniature Monsters, Minimon sees you take on the role of a young boy about to start an adventure. You collect different monsters and use them to battle against other monster trainers, taking on difficult challenges such as the vile Team Rocketship and the country’s elite monster trainers. You put together a team of six—”

“By the almighty Lord Garthablog the 27th, just shut up.”

Maphira held her tongue for a moment. Just long enough for Vai to think she’d actually follow the demand.

“You know,” she started again, “I think Melbourne really should do better with its sewers. Why not get a good, professional drain plumber down here to clean them out a bit, you know? I think it would do the city a world of good, especially since we all seem to be down here so often.”

Vai groaned. “You idiot, we obviously paid off the premier to keep people out of here, so that we could use the sewers for secret travelling. It would do us no good to have regular drain cleaning. Around Melbourne, most people don’t go into the sewers, and that’s just the way we like it.”

“Wow,” Maphira said, “that’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard. Must have been a real moron who came up with that one.” Just in front of her, Maphira noticed Vai clench her fist.

“It was my idea,” Vai said.

Maphira could only grin.

Sewer Ambush

Through the oppressive darkness of New Hobart’s sewers, Charlie spotted a figure in white up ahead. It was hunched over, snatching at something just at its feet.

They’d travelled for almost an hour through the sewers, seeking dark little creatures that had taken a large chunk out of the Ivory Skull’s numbers. It was time for some revenge. Could this figure be one of the two foes they sought?

Right then, they were travelling along a tunnel adjacent to an infamous blocked drain. Oakleigh Road’s terrible drains had become a nightmare for the entire city, but dealing with those would have to be a problem for another time.

Charlie sent four members of her strike team down another tunnel. Although the instructions recommended they continue until the series of blocked drains around Thornbury Drive, she figured the tunnel would meet back up with them. If this really was one of the Little Men, better to flank the creature.

They approached through the darkness, attempting to make not a single sound. As they drew within fifteen feet of the figure in white, it slowly glanced up at them.

The creature wore a mask that covered its entire face, depicting a snake’s head. Through the eye holes, Charlie could see only dots of yellow. It stood a handful of feet tall. She’d seen one of the Little Men before, back when the monsters had attacked Fort Cambridge and the Brighton base for the Ivory Skull.

There was no mistaking it. This was, indeed, one of the Little Men.

She didn’t think; just charged forward, spraying projectiles like a madwoman. She had friends to avenge, and dammit, she was going to get justice for them today.

The Little Man was too quick for her, dodging out of the way and sprinting for the wall of the sewer. As if he defied gravity itself, he ran along the edge, headed straight for the rest of her team.

And that was when Charlie spotted the second of the Little Men behind her squad. As it turned out, they were the ones to be ambushed.