The Plumber


Tsaurah Litzky

Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 112 in 2007.
One night, shortly after the first disclosures about Abu Ghraib, while listening to the talking heads spout euphemisms and I told you so’s on the Charlie Rose show, I suddenly felt so bilious, I had to go to the bathroom and make a deposit without even waiting for the station break. It was a very big deposit and when I flushed the toilet, it kept flushing and flushing, gushing like a fountain. The next morning it was still going strong. I phoned the landlord. He said I should call an emergency plumber out of the phone book and deduct it from my rent.
Akiva Plumbers in Borough Park sent a wiry, redheaded plumber, wearing a blue velvet yarmulke, who looked just like long-ago Kirk Douglas in Spartacus. This plumber also wore a wide gold wedding band. The fabric of his lightweight chinos creased and pulled tight around his hips as if he was carrying something big and heavy, maybe a toilet plunger, between his legs.
I watched him as he fixed the commode. All it needed was a new washer. He looked up and noticed the large white terrycloth robe hanging on the bathroom door.
Is that your husband’s robe?” the plumber asked. Actually, it was my robe. I like to wrap myself in a great big robe that will cover me all over like a second skin.
Nonetheless, I decided to say yes and create a mythical husband for myself. I have found that a mythical husband can sometimes be quite convenient i.e. you better leave right now; myhusband will be home in ten minutes. I told the plumber, yes, it was my husband’s robe.
“So where’s the husband?” the plumber asked when he was done.
“He’s away,” I told him. I offered the plumber a drink. After all, my mother taught me to always be courteous to workmen and offer them refreshment.
“Why not?” he said.
Half an hour later, the plumber, I never asked his name, was naked except for his yarmulke, which was firmly attached to his hair by four black bobby pins. I had told him to take off his things while I went into the bathroom and took off mine. I then washed my sweaty underarms and smelly crotch. I always like to smell sweet as a field of clover, when I join a gentleman in my bed.
When I walked into the bedroom he was lying on his back on top of the covers. As I approached he surveyed my nude splendor but he did not comment. His face seemed to pale and he looked a little sick. I wondered if he was afraid, and indeed his voice trembled as he asked me if I had a condom. I have a cigar box full. I took out three, demonstrating I am a hopeless optimist, and put them on the shelf above my bed.
Then I sat down on my not-so-clean sheets next to the plumber. He seemed uncertain as to what to do next and lay there stiffly like a marionette waiting for someone to pull his strings. I faced him and spread my legs wide so he could get good look at my wild garden of delight. Then, I put my hands under my big fat tits and began to stroke them and caress them until my nipples hardened and reached out towards him. I could smell the pungent aromas already wafting out of me.
“Don’t be shy,” I said to him. I took his hand and dipped his fingers into the little brook bubbling up between my legs; I am ever the eager one. He jerked that hand away as if I had plunged it into the burning fires of Sodom and Gomorrah or perhaps he just didn’t know anything about foreplay. I demonstrated by putting my own fingers inside me, moving them in and out, out and in to show him how it was done. I lifted my pelvis and spread my legs even wider so he could get a better view of my fingers, shiny with love juice, and my rosy pussy lips tucked deep inside my lush, black bush. He bent his movie star head closer to get a better look. His eyes widened as if he was enchanted, transfixed, but all he did was look.
His long, pale cock rose up and grew into a hammer, a fine robust mallet with a big, heavy head. Still, he did not strike me with it, he just continued staring at my snatch. Finally, I lost patience. I grabbed one of the condom packets, ripped it open, and slid the condom out of the packet. Then I grabbed his stupid tool and encased it. Rather roughly, I used it to pull him towards me, then I swung my leg over his hip, and fed him into me inch by inch.
He fell on top of me and at last, began to move, up and down, down and up, with a good steady motion like a roto-rooter. Then he bent his head and took my eager tit between his teeth, sucking it as gently as if it was his mother’s.
Just once, right in the middle of the act, did he take his mouth of that nipple, and then only briefly, to say with some amazement, “She likes it, she likes it, she likes it.” Who knows what he was used to?
He didn’t want to take any money from me for fixing the toilet. When I told him the landlord wanted me to put it towards my rent, the plumber accepted a check. He said he had a good time, kissed me on the cheek and left.
I went into the bedroom to neaten the bed. When I put my hand under the pillow, I found a twenty folded up into a neat little square. At first I was shocked, then I thought it was funny how I had involuntarily become an Irma La Douce at this late stage. But twenty dollars? What year did he think he was living in? 1968? Maybe he was just a cheapskate?
I decided to spend the money on copy paper and a bottle of Smirnoff. I did not tell my friends about my adventure with Akiva plumber and the incident was quickly fading from my mind. Within a few days, all I could remember about his cock was how pasty and white it was, like the belly of a fish.
The summer solstice arrived bringing with it sudden, intense heat. The as yet unopened package of copy paper sitting next to my printer inspired me. I turned off the TV, lowered the shades, put on the fan, and started to write again. I returned to my memoir of my life in the seventies.
One early morning I was working on the chapter about Nixon’s first days in politics, writing about how he ordered the F.B.I. to find and arrest the mysterious informant or informants who were the source of the widespread rumor that Pat Nixon was really a man. I decided to take a break and bring the trash outside. Last night’s leftover tuna fish was stinking up the room.
When I opened the downstairs door, steam was rising from the sidewalk and there was not a hint of breeze. Then I saw him. There, sitting right in front of my building in his truck with the windows open was Akiva plumber.
He jumped right out, “I was going to ring your bell at nine o’clock,” he said, grinning like a maniac. “I thought maybe you need more plumbing done?” In the bright morning light, I first noticed he had a weird little potbelly shaped like a cantaloupe. His nipples were hard and poked out in stiff points through the fabric of his shirt like tiny daggers.
I was terrified, “No, no, no,” I heard myself yelling, “Go away, don’t come here again!” He took a step closer to me, as if I hadn’t even yelled at him.
“You like it, you know you like it, “ he sneered and to my intense disgust he unzipped his fly and pulled out his flaccid member. He wagged it at me. “You like it when I do your plumbing,” he said. “You like my plumbing too, you like my big wrench, See, see.” He wagged it at me even more vigorously.
“Get away,” I screamed, I’ll call the cops.” He took another step closer and then another, his arms stretched out in front of him as if he was going to grab me.
Reflexively, I threw my garbage at him. The brown paper bag burst open on impact decorating his chest with the coffee grinds, eggshells and the soggy remains of the tuna fish salad. This stopped him for a moment, just long enough for me to dash back inside. I double-locked the downstairs door and ran back up to my apartment.
I was shaking, I ran around, slammed down the windows, as if he could somehow float up and in. I waited half an hour then peered out the window. The Green van was still there. His chubby arm hung out the open window. I felt sick thinking I had encouraged that arm to embrace me. I knew I should call the police but what could I say? If I told them I was frightened because a one-night stand had stopped by to see if he could get another lay, they would laugh me all the way to Canarsie.
Suddenly, I had a brilliant idea; I’ll call the police and tell them I’m reporting a suspected terrorist! I’ll say he’s parked outside my door in a green van. I’ll describe how he keeps getting out of the van with a pair of binoculars and gazes up at the bridge. I’ll tell them he is wearing a bulging backpack and a funny hat. That should bring the police straight away.
Resolutely, I went to the phone and called 911.
When a woman with a tired voice answers, I tried to make my own voice as high and excited as possible. I launched into my story about the suspicious man with the green truck, but she soon interrupted me. “Name please?”
“What do you need my name for?” I protested, “There’s a terrorist outside, send the cops right away, hurry up.”
“Name please,” she said again, more sharply, “It’s regulations with any terrorist complaints. We can’t go any further unless you surrender the information.” Then she asked for my phone number and my address. I told her.
“Apartment number? Date of birth?” she demanded. This was too much, “What difference does my age make? What are you going to do with this information?” I asked, my voice also growing sharp.
“I’m cross referencing, your information right now,” she said, “checking to see if your address matches with your tax records. I’m now entering you in the manifold database of our great republic. We want to know who all our good citizens are,” she continued ominously. This was the scariest thing she had said so far. I felt like hanging up but from where I was standing I could see Akiva out the window. He had gotten out of his truck and was peering up at my window, shielding his eyes from the sun with a big meaty hand. I wanted to ask the woman if she could stop for a few minutes so I could masturbate, I was so confused and scared. I needed to calm myself down and masturbation never fails me, but instead I got angry. “Look, this is wasting time,” I yelled. “There is a terrorist outside with a great big bomb, he’s carrying a big cardboard box with red letters on it that say, Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb!” I screamed into the phone.
“He has a bomb?” she asked. “Why didn’t you say that in the first place? Stay calm,” she cautioned, “Keep away from the windows. Hide under your bed, or hide in a closet. The anti-terrorist squad will be right there!”
I certainly wasn’t going to hide under my bed. I wanted a ringside seat. I went over to the window. In what seemed like a minute flat, four black S.U.V.’s screeched around the corner and surrounded Akiva’s truck. Two men jumped out of each vehicle. They were wearing suits and carrying big machine guns. The hapless plumber was surrounded in an instant. His cock was still hanging out of his pants like a flag at half-mast. He was gesticulating wildly, pointing up to my apartment, yelling loudly in Yiddish. However, the great Jehovah did not reach down his infinite arm and snatch the plumber up to safety in the clouds.
Instead, he was quickly bound with shiny yellow rope and thrown into one of the S.U.V.’s. Right before the vehicles drove away, a tow truck appeared for Akiva’s green van.
My stalker was gone, and it only took was one phone call, but I thought ruefully, the incident still had terrible consequences, I was no longer below the radar, my name was now permanently entered in Big Brothers roll book.
I needed to steady my nerves; I needed a cocktail even though it was only ten-thirty in the morning. I made it a stiff one. As I sipped it, I resolved to take better care of myself, promised myself not to take foolish chances because of my ever-hungry pussy. I promised myself never again to I seduce a man I had just met, but at the same time I knew this was a promise I would not keep.