My Messy Brother

‘What?!’ I called out to my wife, struggling to hear her over the sound of rushing water. ‘Vanessa, I can’t hear you!’

         She took a tentative step into the bathroom, closer to me, the water coming up past her ankles as it erupted from all of the pipes.

         ‘I said,’ she screamed, close enough for me to make it out, ‘that I told you so!’

         ‘Not particularly helpful!’ I called back at her with a frown. She reached out and grabbed my arm for support, dragging herself to stand with me in the bathtub. Ironically, it was one of the only dry places in the entire room.

         ‘You and your idiot brother!’ she shook her head.

         ‘How was I supposed to know he wouldn’t fix it?’

         ‘I told you, there are plenty of professional drainage contracts available near Melbourne,’ she shook her head. ‘But noooo, he deserved another shot!’

         ‘He did,’ I protested. ‘He’s been back to school and got his plumbing certification and everything!’

         I want to see that diploma!’ she screeched at me. I took an involuntary step backwards at the sight of her very, very angry eyes.

         ‘Look,’ I said, placing my hands on my hips in an attempt at maintaining the higher ground. ‘Mistakes were made.’

         ‘Choose your next words very carefully,’ she yell-whispered above the roar of the rapids. ‘Or I’m about to drown you in three inches of toilet water.’

         ‘Well,’ I gulped. ‘We sure aren’t the only people who need blocked drain repair in the Brighton area.’

         ‘Go on.’

         ‘So it stands to reason…’ my tongue ran dry for a moment, until I physically willed saliva back into my mouth, ‘that other people have had this same problem.’

         ‘This problem?’ she arched an eyebrow, waving a hand over our flooded bathroom, and rapidly flooding home. ‘This problem seems, what… precedented, to you?’

         ‘Of course,’ I nodded, feigning confidence. ‘So let’s get a professional out who’s fixed this exact problem before! No harm, no… honey?’

         For the first time in my life, I physically heard the sound of somebody clenching their fists.

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