The Plumbers Win!

Kage Baker firmly believed that plumbers are heroes. She had many examples to convince her of it – from the dear men who taught us how to plumb at Faire to the various laconic gunslingers who have stepped in to save us from shattered toilets, blocked drains and exploding hot water heaters (twice).

The plumbers from Rescue Rooter now go on that list of heroes. They have successfully gotten the stuck liner out of our main outflow pipe, reconnected us to the city main, and we are now the happy possessors of a working water system! It was clearly one of the worst jobs any of them had dealt with, but they persevered with great bravery, competency and determination. They are even cleaning up nicely!

It finally took a guy on a ladder (the hole is 8 feet deep) and one of those looong saws like you see used on giant trees, plus some weird machine with a huge hook on the end to winkle the offending section of pipe out. The new section is now in – everything drains, flushes, runs just the way it should.

We still have a wall and ditch in the driveway, but only until the city inspector gets here to approve the work. Then they can fill it in and re-concrete the driveway. I intend to steal some rocks first, though – I think I saw a couple of flint nodules in the spoil; you can find a nice chocolate-coloured flint here near the hills, and I’d like some of that …

We still don’t know for sure what the liner got stuck on. Anthony the plumber says it was just crumpled up on itself … I can sort of believe it, after decades of turning sleeves, waistbands, collars and other narrow bits of hand-made clothing. Plus watching wadding get stuck in friends’ musket barrels – almost as exciting as blocked pipes. Especially since it’s usually still burning when you finally get it out, and tends to end up on roofs and canopies in a smouldering mass …

But I cherish the idea that some subterranean or extra-dimensional EVIL of unimaginable proportions was hanging on to it down there. When Anthony and Jose began to finally saw and lever the blocked section out, the minions of Cthulhu must have scuttled away down the city main – it wouldn’t surprise me me if they have a base camp at the city sewage plant; the DWP is a prime candidate to be a minion of Dark Forces.

Maybe in the crumpled bunch of failed liner there are tiny, strangely shaped hooks and grapnels still stuck – carved from ancient, unspeakable bone in shapes that make your eyes cross and your brain bleed … handprints in ichor, with too-few, too-long digits, and marks like sucker cups … perhaps Anthony will take that pipe section he removed off to the yard where Rescue Rooter maintains a special incinerator, inscribed all over with spells of binding in red ocher and Cal Trans orange paint. Who can guess what only plumbers know about what lurks under the streets?

Though people like me and thee, Dear Readers, can speculate …

Still, it could have been worse. So much worse! The things in the pipes did scuttle away, and the Los Angeles Basin was saved from the hordes of inter-dimensional hell pouring out from under my front yard. The toilet works. We can shower, and spend all weekend washing dishes and laundry.

And valiant Anthony didn’t find what the unhappy city waste engineers of Manchester, Connecticut found in their waste water plant. A blocked pipe there yielded this:

They SAY it's an eel ...

This is described in the story,0,2917776.story?hpt=us_bn4  (thank you, Kelly!) as an eel. But it occurs to be that it could be a somewhat battered tentacle …

So maybe we got off lucky. And so did Los Angeles. The forces of evil have been repulsed!

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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9 Responses to The Plumbers Win!

  1. Will says:

    … this time!

  2. Widdershins says:

    Oh, botheration! … WordPress wouldn’t let me comment as Widder, so I went with the evil twin, Will!

  3. Looks like a tentacle to me!

    … the yard where Rescue Rooter maintains a special incinerator, inscribed all over with spells of binding in red ocher and Cal Trans orange paint
    –this is why I love you. 🙂

    Who can guess what only plumbers know about what lurks under the streets?
    –Which is why to this very day the Worshipful Company of Plumbers and Sub-ethereal Delvers calls their craft a mystery

  4. Tom says:

    What skutters and skitters below ground? It’s zombats and moombies, is what!

  5. PJ says:

    And is it any coincidence that the DWP just assessed us with a whopping sewer tax. I think not! Huzzah to the plumber heroes.

  6. Kate says:

    Whatever is down there keeps moombies and zombats as pets. And sends them up to lurk in our gardens!

  7. Margaret says:

    Congratulations to heroic plumbers for a timely extraction and exorcism.

  8. Medrith says:


  9. Chris Springhorn says:

    May the blessings and protection of Sainted Ed Norton be upon them.

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