Street Drain Help

‘Help!’ I called, running out onto the street. ‘Anyone?!’

‘What is it?’ a kindly older man with crinkled eyes asked, stepping off his porch and shambling towards me.

‘Oh, it’s horrible,’ I cried, tears tracking down my cheek.

‘Are you hurt?’

‘Yeah,’ I nodded, pressing one hand to my forehead and fanning my face with the other one. ‘Emotionally, I’m in so much pain right now.’

‘Emotionally?’ the man frowned. ‘What do you mean, child?’

‘I mean, if I don’t get someone who’s an expert at fixing blocked drains in the Melbourne CBD, I could die!’

‘Wait, wait,’ the man frowned, holding up a steadying hand. ‘This is a plumbing issue?’

‘It’s not a plumbing issue!’ I protested. ‘It’s the plumbing issue!’

‘Right, right,’ he mumbled. ‘You know, when I was in my first war—’

‘Oh, we don’t have time for that,’ I snapped, looking around the street for someone more helpful. ‘I need to get this fixed!’

‘Can’t your boyfriend just fix it?’ the man frowned again.

‘Wow,’ I shook my head. ‘You’re just assuming I have a boyfriend? Because I need a man? Because there’s no way I could be—’

‘Derek, right?’

‘What’s that?’

‘Your boyfriend,’ the old man repeated. ‘His name is Derek, isn’t it? You introduced us at the block party.’

‘Oh. Oh, right.’

‘So why can’t he fix it?’

‘Derek’s actually out of town right now.’

‘That’s unfortunate.’

‘It’s proving to be, yes.’

‘So why not give him a call? Ask him about drain cleaning? Melbourne is still his timezone, isn’t it?’

‘Hey, that’s your first good idea!’ I nodded excitedly. ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’

‘Honestly? I have no idea. It kind of boggles the mind.’

‘Thanks again, Joe!’ I called over my shoulder, already walking back to my still-flooding building.

‘Anytime,’ he waved me off, shaking his head as he did it. ‘You strange, strange girl.’

‘What’s that?’

‘Nothing,’ he smiled thinly.