Tales of The Plumber 11…
Kodek “The Plumber” Wainwright was lying on his back staring up at the television set into the ceiling six feet over his face and he thought about the sword of Damocles and how ridiculous the premise might be using a television set. He’s seen a flick one time where someone got a television set smashed on their head and the fucking the exploded in arcs of electricity. It was an old tube television set, as opposed to the one he was currently staring up with the headphone set around his ears, which was a nice LCD flat-screen. He tried to think back on when those flat-screen television sets started to come out, but it was fuzzy. These days you turn around and there’s some new electro-magnetic gadget or mini-marvel of technology. Now way you could keep track of everything, right…?
The sound of the drill brought him crashing from this thoughts and he saw the dentist wheel his chair over.
“This shouldn’t hurt a bit.”
Shouldn’t. Comforting. The whole thing reminded him of that flick… No, Kodek thought, not the flick. The whole thing reminded him of that situation that reminded him of that flick. The dentist began his work, and he’d been right, it wasn’t hurting… exactly. Wasn’t too comfortable, either, mind you. The vibrations of the drill on his bad tooth shuddered rapidly through the inside of his skull, and Kodek couldn’t help but recall…
He crammed the pair of pliers through The Russian’s lips and felt them gran the back molar. For all he knew, he’s pinched a chunk of gummy flesh between the steel grips as well, but fuck, this was no time for details.
He yanks. The Russian screamed blood, then started to laugh.
That had reminded him of that flick… Little Shop of Horrors. Fucking Jack Nicholson, the masochist. Seymour…
An episode of M*A*S*H* appeared on the television looming over his face. He could sort of hear it through the whirring/vibrating drill but he was distracted, anyway. The Russian must’ve still been pissed at him over that incident, even years later. Yeah. A lot more made sense to Kodek now that he’s had a chance to reflect…
At any rate, his problems were more like here and now. The whole thing with The Russian was ancient history now (especially considering he was deader than fuck) and there were far more current things to deal with now. The least of which was not the deeply concerning fact that this dental association with one of Kodek’s past incidents was now filling him with some sort of understanding, or human sympathy, towards what he’d done.
The blood arced when he pulled the pliers out the first time. Half an hour later, there was so much blood Kodek couldn’t even discern what he was snagging with the slippery pliers in his latex-gloved hands. His black vinyl butcher’s apron was slick with liquid. He knew if he’d kept The Russian alive there might be hell to pay down the road. Things like this always had a way of biting Kodek in the ass later, usually when he was least expecting it.
After Kodek’s application of torturous dentistry, he found The Russian passed out and past the point of being woken. He had not, however, been paid to kill him, and so he hadn’t. He harboured a bad feeling about that for a few months after the fact.
Kodek, now sitting back in the dentist’s chair, wondered if his mind had flashed on any of this over those few fleeting lucid seconds when he must’ve seen The Russian’s SUV slamming into him—
Kodek finally turned his attention to the dentist, and wondered now how many time he’d had to address Kodek by his fabricated name before Kodek had clued in.
“Yeah?” he asked through the rubber dental dam.
“Open your mouth a little more, please,”
“Oh – Okay.” He lowered his jaw and realized it was getting sore. The drill whirred again. Or maybe it was something else. The fucker couldn’t still be drilling, could he? Kodek focused on the episode of M*A*S*H to try to gauge how much time had passed with him horizontal in the chair. 20 minutes?
The Russian had gone over to The Sheik, and The Sheik had fixed him right up. Took a few weeks, mind you, but The Russian ad a new set of pearlies and looked sharper than ever when The Sheik was finished with him. Yeah, him and The Sheik were thick as thieves after that. For a couple of years, anyway. Friends as they may have become over that time, The Sheik had decided to dock The Russian 32% of his pay (and minus the cost of a hotel room, which was minus another $231 for The Russian) on a hit that turned out to be easier than The Sheik had expected. Nikolai The Russian had whacked some senator, but when The Sheik had envisioned the job he pictured some high-profile high-risk situation where The Russian would be staked out on some hotel roof with a sniper’s rifle surrounded by hundreds of service men and thousands of civilians. As it were, The Russian simply whacked the senator two days earlier when he was on the way to his hotel by blowing out the back tire of his car, and the driver had lost control and crashed it into the side of a cliff. At least, The Sheik thought, he used the sniper rifle he’d been provided with. But because The Russian had been shown enough ingenuity to provide a highly efficient and highly effective work-around to what could have been a risky and potentially messy situation, The Sheik had rewarded him by docking him the 32% from the initially agreed-upon price for the hit – and minus the $231 for the hotel room, at a high-end hotel The Russian never even bothered to set foot into.
Well actually, that last bit wasn’t exactly accurate. The Russian did step into the hotel, two days later, out of curiosity. It was a ghost town in there, and he took a seat in the lounge and ordered a cup of tea and a shot of vodka. He’d spit the vodka out and finished the tea, mostly to wash the rancid aftertaste form his mouth. So he was out $8.50 and tax from the lounge and the undrinkable vodka, to boot. He’d considered billing The Sheik for that, too, as an expense, after the shit The Sheik had started to pull.
After that falling out, The Russian and The Sheik never spoke again, as far as Kodek knew. What Kodek didn’t know was if The Russian had ever received his pay in full. Likely not.
The dentist told him to sit up, rinse and suction the residue from his mouth.
Five minutes later, he met Anna who as waiting outside of the dentist’s office.
“Hey, there,” he said, “I wasn’t expecting to see you.”
“I found something you might like,” she grinned at him.
Three and a half minutes later they were walking around the corner at the end of the block and turning into a yard sale. Kodek saw it, and knew what she’d meant. He only hoped the SOLD tag that had been taped to it was because Anna, and no one else, had already purchased.
Kodek went to at and lifted the tape cassette ghetto-blaster in his hands.
“You can take that with you in any car you drive,” she told him.
So it was her who bought it, he thought. Now he was grinning, too.
“I’ll be able to use this on my new job, too!” he told her.
“What?! What new job?”
Kodek told her an hour later when they were undressing together.
“I decided to get into a new field,” he said.
“I don’t think Morimoto or Derrikson are going to like that very much,” she said flatly, and even though she was completely naked the mood was dissipating.
“Well, they don’t need to know,” Kodek explained. “I’m not exactly quitting.”
“What?” Anna couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “What do you mean? I think you’d better tell me your plan.”
“Sure,” he said, and began: “I was thinking today-”
“While you were at the dentist?” She interrupted.
“Yes, while I was there. Anyway, I decided to go back to journalism.”
“You were into journalism before?”
“I took journalism in university. I figured, I’d give myself some time – I don’t know how much – a couple of weeks, a couple of years, to get back into it. Get a J-O-B so to speak. And I could still coordinate any hits The Corporation might need me for.”
“So you’d be moonlighting.”
“As a hitman or a news reporter?”
Kodek thought about that one. “I don’t know yet. I’ll keep you posted.”
“Please do,” Anna said, and jumped into the bed. “Well?” she smiled up at him, standing at the bottom corner of the bed with his wang hanging in the breeze. “You coming in or do I have to take care of this myself?”
“Don’t worry,” he said, “I’m coming.” Before getting into bed with her, he walked over to his ghetto blaster and slipped in a tape – Led Zeppelin IV – and pressed the spring-leaded PLAY button.
“Good to hear it, Clark Kent,” she said, still smiling, he just wasn’t sure if it was at him or with him. He jumped into bed anyway.