Flushed

I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog where she hosts Six Sentence Stories and everyone is invited to write a story or poem constructed of six sentences based on a prompt word.

This week’s prompt word is Service


Flushed 

This DIY job is not a service but a replacement of vital parts, because the toilet cistern no longer flushes and its innards have fallen apart.

Luckily I remember some skills from when I was a 16 year-old apprentice plumbing and drainage engineer, back in Peaky Blinders land, ay, can still hear my gaffer say: “Water will always find its lowest level.”

Words of truth, but in this case the water has nowhere else to go – trapped, just sitting there idly in its ceramic fish tank waiting for replacement parts.

So it’s off with the tank lid, hands plunged into cold and calcified water, deep into the guts of this watery grave of broken plastic parts never meant to last or endure the hard water of our town’s supply.

Parts unscrewed, loosened, taken apart, brightly-coloured plastic contraptions of simple yet remarkable ingenuity pulled out like sunken hulks hoisted from the sea bed, then replaced with a brand new system all shiny and seaworthy for its future days in a 6 litre tank.

Job done – I marvel at my capability, thinking I have won; yet, water always does what it wants in the end and can easily make fools of our controlling ways; while some may believe the mark of civilisation lies in our art, our music, our architecture, our distribution of wealth – the true mark is simply how we try to manage the precious gift of water.


Editor’s note: The above is a true story – the flush has been threatening to go kaput for a while, so I ordered the spare part in anticipation. Also, I really was a plumbing and drainage apprentice based in Peaky Blinders land, Small Heath, Birmingham, by order! Props for good mate fellow WP blogster BK at Be Kitschig for telling me that if my adventures didn’t make into poem form I could always write a ‘flush fiction’ piece 🤣


Poem: by Ford.

Image #1: The Sleeze Brothers. Cloak and Dagger. Marvel. 1989. US.

Image #2: View-Master, 20,000 leagues under the sea. 1954.

Valentide

Valentide. Part I.

There is a distance. A gulf. Water, water, everywhere…

Uncharted seas treacherous as tyrants clinging to power,

Or familiar shipping lanes, precious days, favourable winds.

We navigate small islands, atolls, pause to watch ancient, mystical whales.

We dive and weave with playful dolphins, float on our backs and listen

To tales of mer-people and sea-monsters and pirate-fleets

As told to us by wise old turtles.

Once we saw a ghost ship – its crew a band of bleached-boned skeletons,

They blasted us with spectral cannonballs

Launched from the rotting boards of their phantom galleon.

We fled those shrieking ghosts and sailed on by,

Sometimes calling on deserted islands of pure and absolute paradise.

It is here, once, I saw your soul. Did you see mine?

Then one night a storm, unbelting itself and lashing us with its wet black leather.

Plunging us below then tossing us in the air – three, four, maybe five times…

Until we sank,

Became separated.

Our lifeboats were poor yet somehow sustained us. And what happened to our crew?

Some deserted us and jumped overboard. Some died. Some remained faithful.

Ultimately it was just you and me. Alone. Alone we drifted. On two different boats no bigger

Than matchsticks in the grand sea of things. Did you think of me as I thought of you?

Parched, sun burnt, salt in our hair and eyes like apocalyptic dust. We survived.

God. How on earth (or rather, on water) when I am such a poor sailor, and your captaincy

Is sometimes questionable?

But survive we did.

And though there was, sometimes still is, and maybe will be for much a long time

An ocean of distance to separate us,

Tides will always bring us together again.





Valentide. Part II.

On a bench somewhere, sometime, not long ago, someone wrote ‘I love you’. It wasn’t me, and it wasn’t you, but we borrowed those words and made them our own for just a moment. On dry land we shake off water and tuck in our fins. Retract our tails. Fold up our sails. Moored. Docked. We traipse the city and village and town, lost among others, surrounded by concrete and stone and things made of metal. They say we look small here. Maybe we do. But to me you will always be a giant. Je t’aime. Words borrowed from a wooden bench that looks out to the sea and back again.



Words and photos by the editor.

Adverts scanned by TVTA and Jaltesorensen.

Boatniks. 1970. Denmark; Moby Dick. Pif Gadget. 1982. France; Playmobil. 1979. Denmark; La Mauny. Geo. 1992. France; Sea-Monkeys. Fix Und Foxi. 1984. Germany; Canon Noir. Pif Gadget. 1979. France; Weird War Tales. 1975. US; Lego. 1989. Denmark.