Monday 6 September 2010

My Day Working As A Plumber

A few months back, I found myself in need of some extra cash. My full time job had started brightly, but I hadn't yet been paid and money was tight. Naturally, one of the first people I talked to about it was Brad Harmer, my fellow E14 legend. The conversation started on trivial things, as many of our conversations are known to do, but it wasn't long before I was bemoaning my financial straits.

"Dude, Why don't I give you the number for Bjorn, my agent? He's quite good at finding jobs for me to do."
"Mate, I'm not being funny, but every time you got a job from Bjorn, it seemed to end in an absolute disaster. In fact, last time you went for a job on his recommendation, you ended up almost coming a cropper in a laboratory!"
"Yeah, but he found it for me quickly, didn't he?"
Try as I might, I couldn't refute that logic, and so I took the number.

When I called Bjorn and he picked up, I could've sworn I heard the faint sound of children crying in the background, but decided to ignore it as he was quick to respond positively to my request for any temp work he had for odd days.
"Funny you should ask actually, I've just been made aware of someone who needs a plumber for Monday."
"I've never had any formal training as a plumber, is that going to pose a problem?"
"You'd think so, wouldn't you? Don't worry, they provide all the training for you. You'll be fine."
"Oh, that's fine then. What should I wear?"
"Wear whatever you like to the site, uniform is provided. Apparently they've got spares from the last guy."

The noise got stronger in the background, and I felt compelled to ask:
"Why can I hear children crying in the background?"
"Oh, they're just upset because I've run out of strawberry Cornettos."
"...Are you...running an ice cream van?"
"Well, everything's all set up. Good luck on Monday!" And with that, the line went dead.

On Monday, I rolled up to the address that Bjorn had given me in my pimped-out Ford Escort (with such awesome features as "wheels" as standard) and was surprised to find that the only thing before me was a giant green pipe sticking vertically up out of the ground and a strange hooded man.

"Here," he said, handing me an envelope. "You need to fill this out over the course of the day. Here's your uniform." He handed me a set of blue dungarees, a red jumper and hat, followed by a fake moustache. "You've got your own shoes, right?"
"I do, yeah. Look, I really don't know much about plumbing..."
"Don't worry about it, dude. You'll be absolutely fine. And if you're not, just blow on this and I'll come and help you."

After a few seconds of awkward silence, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a whistle.
"Thanks. Where do I need to go now?"
"Just climb onto that pipe, and crouch down in the middle."
"...Right." I obliged the hooded man, and climbed onto the pipe. As I crouched, I asked:

"Anything else I need to know?"
"Oh yeah, the last guy died mysteriously, and the people have not really come to terms with it. If anyone calls you Mario, my advice is to go with it."
"All right...wait, what?"
My question was never answered, as I was sucked off quicker than a millionaire in Thailand.

As I neared the end of the pipe, I was expecting to be carried through the air at a high speed, so I was relieved when I simply walked out of the pipe horizontally at the other end, and aside from my legs initially travelling a little faster than the rest of my body, I wasn't disoriented. When I regained my bearings, I was faced with a giant castle off in the distance, and a series of small people wearing spotted hats and waistcoats with little else covering their modesty but what appeared to be adult nappies.

"Oh boy!" one of them exclaimed in a voice so cheery I almost became diabetic. "Mario's back! He'll fix that no-good Bowser's wagon!"
"Actually, I'm here about some plumbing problems. Apparently there are some issues with the pipes."
"Oh," he said, dropping his enthusiasm. "You'll want to speak to Jeff in engineering. The castle's only a hop, skip and jump away."
"That's no good, I'm walking there."
"Oh, ok. It'll be a while then. Where's your accent by the way? You usually sound more...Italian."
Thinking on my feet, I regret to this day that the best I could come up with was "I was putting on an accent all along." Thankfully, the vertically challenged people were satisfied with this, and handing me a note which apparently had been left for me, I was able to continue along my way without needing to blow the strange man's whistle. Later, I would find out that the Mushroom Kingdom was rife with people faking accents.

As I walked along the path to the castle, I decided to read the note that had been passed to me by one of the small men. Unfolding it, it read:

Mario, please come to the castle. I have baked a cake for you. Love, Peach.

Reading between the lines, I found myself coming to one conclusion: This bitch needed to get laid big time. Still, far be it from me to disappoint, thus I continued towards the castle. At worst, I figured that it would make a good story to be involved in a porn-worthy story. Picture it if you will:

"Hello, I've come to fix the plumbing."
"Oh, you're just in time. I have just finished baking a cake, which is in dire need of filling."
"Will cream suffice?"
And so on...

Arriving at the castle gates, I was greeted by another of the small spotty-hatted people, who seemed in a tremendous state of agitation.
"Oh Mario! Thank goodness you're here! Our princess has been kidnapped!"
"For fuck's sake!" I shouted. "I've just walked all this way for very little reward!"
His look became one of confusion.
"Why didn't you use one of your wide array of moves, like the triple jump or the running dive?"
Thinking quickly again, I replied with "Dodgy knees."
His look shifted once more to one of sympathy.
"I've been there mate, I know how you feel. It's growth spurts, which you certainly seem to have had. Speak to Jeff in engineering anyway, he probably knows more than I do about where she is."

With a renewed vigor, and a vague unease at the idea of one of these small men suffering 'growth spurts', I carried on into the castle foyer. When I reached the atrium, I was faced with a slightly more official-looking small man who thankfully had a name badge reading:
Jeff, Head of Toad Engineering.
"Hey Jeff, what the hell happened to the princess?"
"Thank you for coming all this way Mario, but our princess is in another castle."
"...You're fucking kidding."

Will Rob ever save the princess? Who WAS the strange hooded man who offered his help? Will anyone suss out that Rob is not actually Mario? Tune in next week for the exciting conclusion to 'My Day Working As A Plumber'!

Words: Rob Wade


A student's life turns upside down when he discovers the battered old car his father gave him can fly...

After his entire world falls apart he makes a choice and shoots from zero to hero as a crime fighter known as Black Lightning. Little does he know that evil forces are watching... they want the incredible car and will stop at nothing to get it, even if it means killing him and destroying the city.

Produced by Timur Bekmambetov (Director of Wanted and Nightwatch), this fast-paced action-adventure features the Special Effects Team behind Wanted and stuntmen from The Bourne Identity & Quantum of Solace.

Thanks to our friends at Universal Pictures International Entertainment, we've got two copies of this to give away on DVD! For your chance of winning, send in your name and full postal address to before midday on Monday 13th September. The first two names out of the electronic hat will win a free copy!

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