Plumb

“Do you want to see what I found?”

Marybeth was about to grab the laundry out of the washing machine – it had just turned off with a hard thunk – when the plumber called out to her.

No, not really, she thought, rolling her eyes and sauntering to the master bath. All I want to do is take a shower without being calf-deep in water. The skinny man was on his knees, chest pressed against the edge of the tub. She was grateful there was no sign of the infamous plumber’s crack. He smelled like grease and damp towels.

“It’s no wonder the water wouldn’t flow,” he said, turning to face her. Elvis would have been proud of the man’s mutton chops. One of his front teeth was gold, the one next to it silver. She jumped back a step when she saw the dead animal dangling from his fingers.

“Oh my God! How the hell did a rat get in the drain?” she shouted, cringing as the body spun lazily.

The plumber smiled. “That’s no rat. Nothing to be afraid of. It’s just a clump of hair and soap and shampoo. Kinda looks like a rat, though, doesn’t it? I pull them out all the time, but this one is especially big. You have daughters?”

She stared at him quizzically. “Yes, I do. How would you know?”

“House full of girls means a lot of long hair going down the drain. It builds up over time until you get something like this.” He tossed the hair-rat into the small plastic waste pail by the toilet. It made a squishing noise when it hit the bottom. Oh crap, that’s disgusting. Just keep cool. It’s not a rat. It’s just hair. Rats were high on her weakness list.

He kept on talking, oblivious to the shade of green she’d turned. “The best way to avoid this happening in the future is by using a few ounces of prevention.” He opened his massive toolbox, rooting around, making rough grunts and sighs.

“Here it is.” He held a brown bottle of liquid drain cleaner. The plumber shook it and unscrewed the cap.

“We tried that but it wouldn’t work,” Marybeth said.

“That’s because you waited too long. This stuff wasn’t going to get past that,” he said, tilting his head toward the garbage. Marybeth felt her bile start to resurface. “You gotta get to it earlier, clean it out at the source.”

Marybeth leaned against the doorframe. “Is there any brand you recommend?” Plumbers don’t come cheap. If all it takes is a few bottles of that stuff to avoid overpaying old mutton chops, she was in.

He repositioned himself so he was now sitting on the edge of the tub. The armpits of his blue shirt were dark with crescent moons of sweat. “Just make sure you get the name brand stuff. The knock-offs don’t eat the hair away near as well.”

She nodded. “Got it. Name brands. Don’t wait for the drain to get bad before I use it. You don’t need to pour that now, do you? I mean, since you just cleared everything out.”

The plumber nodded. “It’s best I show you how to use it.”

Great. I’m sure he’ll charge me ten times what that bottle is worth in the friggin’ supermarket. Does he think I’m an idiot? Open bottle, pour down drain, don’t get any on your skin. Jesus.

He waved her closer. “Come on, I don’t bite. There’s a trick to pouring so you don’t get any splashback.”

Marybeth resigned herself to his demonstration. Hemming and hawing would only keep him in her bathroom longer. She stood next to him, smelling his coffee and cigarette breath.

“Like I said, you gotta get it at the source.”

With whip-like speed, he lashed out and wrapped his fingers in her hair. “Ouch! What the hell are you doing?” Marybeth screamed.

The plumber smiled with uneven, jaundiced teeth. “Gotta burn it at the source.”

She tried to scream but he clamped a greasy hand over her mouth. With the other, he tipped the bottle over her head. At first, the gelatinous goop felt cold, like chilled pudding.

And then the fires began. Shocked with white-hot agony, she kicked him in the balls and pushed him in the chest with both hands. The man tipped over the tub, the back of his head ripping the water spout from the wall. “You goddamn bitch!” he shouted, cradling his head with his hand, his palm coming back slick and red.

Marybeth ran to the sink, spinning the cold water handle, splashing as much as she could onto her head, careful not to get any of the fluid in her eyes or face. It felt like battery acid eating away at her scalp. The stench of her disintegrating hair and scalp made her stomach lurch.

Something heavy smashed against the back of her legs, dropping her to her knees, her chin clanging on the sink’s edge. The plumber held the lid to the toilet tank. His legs were wobbly from the blow to his head.

“You fucker!” Marybeth shrieked. She grabbed her husband’s toothbrush, leaping to her feet and driving it into his eye. The man staggered against the shower wall, the wet gore of his eye leaking over the brush.

Marybeth’s cheek sizzled as the drain cleaner dripped past her hairline. The plumber fell into the tub, yowling like a deaf cat. “Is this the source?” she snarled, prying the heavy ceramic lid from his hands. He couldn’t hear a word, the pain was so excruciating.

With a mad grunt, Marybeth crashed the lid into and through the base of his nose. The plumbers extremities shuddered for a few seconds, then went still.

The lid keranged against the tile floor. Marybeth fumbled in the medicine cabinet until she found the shears. Working through searing pain, she shaved the hair from her head. When that was done, she ran water over her scalded flesh, crying. She dried her head carefully, then applied and entire tube of bacitracin to her head and face. She looked like a carnival freak. Behold, the Lizard Woman, even fire couldn’t kill her!

She looked at the plumber’s body, heard the trickle of his blood going down the now-clear drain. His hair would do.

After a quick trip to the basement for her special toolbox, she removed his scalp with practiced ease. She placed the wet flap of flesh and hair in the sealed container she used for all of her trophies.

“Have to be more proactive with the drains,” she said, staring at the plumber’s scalp. She’d leave the body for her husband when he came home. Disposal was his specialty. She was just a trophy hunter.

~ Hunter Shea

© Copyright 2014 Hunter Shea. All Rights Reserved.

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About Hunter Shea

Hunter Shea is the product of a childhood weened on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself. Hunter Shea is the product of a childhood weened on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal – he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself. His novels, Forest of Shadows, Evil Eternal , Swamp Monster Massacre , Sinister Entity, Hell Hole, The Waiting and Island of the Forbidden are published through Samhain Publishing’s horror line. Hell Hole was named Horror Novel Reviews #1 horror novel of 2014. His first thriller novel, The Montauk Monster, was released June, 2014 as a Pinnacle paperback, and was named by Publishers Weekly as one of the best reads of the summer. His follow up Pinnacle novel, Tortures of the Damned, a post apocalyptic thriller, will be out July, 2015. That will be followed up by his latest cryptid tale, The Dover Demon, in the fall through Samhain. His horror short story collection, Asylum Scrawls, is available as an e-book, straightjacket not included. Hunter is an amateur cryptozoologist, having written wild, fictional tales about Bigfoot, The Montauk Monster, The Dover Demon and many new creatures to come. A copy of his book, The Montauk Monster, is currently on display in the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, ME. He wrote his first novel with the express desire to work only with editor Don D’Auria at Dorchester (Leisure Horror). He submitted his novel to Don and only Don, unagented, placed on the slush pile. He is proof that dedicated writers can be rescued from no man’s land. He now works with Don, along with several other agents and publishers, having published over ten books in just four years. Hunter is proud to be be one half of the Monster Men video podcast, along with his partner in crime, Jack Campisi. It is one of the most watched horror video podcasts in the world. Monster Men is a light hearted approach to dark subjects. Hunter and Jack explore real life hauntings, monsters, movies, books and everything under the horror sun. They often interview authors, cryptid and ghost hunters, directors and anyone else living in the horror lane. Living with his wonderful family and two cats, he’s happy to be close enough to New York City to get Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits. His daughters have also gotten the horror bug, assisting him with research, story ideas and illustrations that can be seen in magazines such as Dark Dossier.

22 responses to “Plumb”

  1. dragontailsandscales says :

    Hmm someone was having a bad hair day.
    Unexpected and great ending – I thought the hair rat was going to take form.

    Like

  2. Nina D'Arcangela says :

    I think I’ll be cleaning my own clogged drains from now on!! Fun piece Hunter! Who knew the serial killer plumber would get a call to fix the drain of a serial killer couple’s house! (whew – that was a mouthful – lol) Quirky twist! It’s weird, and I like it!! 😉

    Like

  3. moondustwriter says :

    I never trusted those guys with the large wrenches.
    Great piece Hunter. Everyone deserved to be unclogged in that one even the scary hairball.

    Like

  4. Thomas Brown says :

    You do these devious characters so well! Great piece, really enthralling. Didn’t see the twist coming, either! Those hairballs are gross…

    Like

  5. blazemcrob says :

    I love this one for sure, Hunter! Plumbing and I have never gotten along too well. I once had a leaky pipe in my kitchen sink. Tried everything, until . . . A container of liquid steel did the trick. It never leaked again. Your method is far more interesting. 😀

    Blaze

    Like

  6. zkullis says :

    This story was so much fun to read. I found myself following what I thought was the blood trail, only to be bludgeoned by an even better ending than I was anticipating.

    Do you think that her plan would have been spoiled had she been assaulted by the dreaded plumber’s crack? Good stuff Hunter!

    Like

  7. Sue says :

    we have that all the time.– if the scene where he grabbed her hair was a film, I would have gasped. She scalped him? Special toolbox?? Oh such a twist. Everyone in the family have their own specialties. What do the daughters do?

    And I bet you were inspired when the plumber visited your house. The furnace guy is about due here….

    Like

  8. mari wells says :

    I was so scared! Thinking I’ll never call a plumber for the rest of my life. Great story, loved the ending!

    Like

  9. Joseph Pinto says :

    Loved your story PLUMB, Hunter! This reminded me of a movie I might see late on a Saturday night…on Showtime, maybe lol As Zack mentioned, it was an enormously fun read, and I’m sure equally a fun write for you as well 🙂

    I always appreciate those horror tales that spin off from normal every day life. Now excuse me, gotta go plunge my toilet 😛

    Like

  10. Tyr Kieran says :

    Fun tale, Hunter! I really enjoyed the battle royal portion of the piece, but the setup was great too. The twist ending was blindsiding and appropriate. Well done as always!

    Like

    • Hunter Shea says :

      I wanted to extend the battle, but I was coming up against a hard word count. While I was writing it, I kept thinking of the James Gandolfini-Patricia Arquette bathroom battle in True Romance. 🙂

      Like

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