This month’s #blogbattle prompt is ‘interface’
‘Of course,’ Lars Tez-Tickle rubbed his jaw ruminatively, ‘it’s your interface.’
Lars understood clients. He’d plumbed for twenty years and in that time he’d had every kind of reaction from despair to incredulity and beyond. He knew to wait, for some sort of response so he could judge which of his many faces – sympathetic, patronising, sharing or cheese-with-a-hint-of-chutney – he needed to employ.
‘Interface?’ Mrs Dundee – was it Dundee, Lars wondered? Some sort of fruit cake anyway. ‘What interface?’
‘You know you have an interface?’ Treat her as informed, Lars told himself. With just a hint of “I’m the expert but you may have googled this” to keep her sweet.
‘I have no idea what you’re talking about.’
Ah ha, mused Lars, removing his hand from his jaw and reaching for the clipboard – clipboards connoted training and record keeping, of the sort experts used – a hint of the rebarbative mixed with a soupçon of fear. Time to employ the ‘it’ll be fine, madam, trust me, I plumb,’ smile. Couple that with a little ‘I regularly take refreshers so I know the latest science’ nod and a slight ‘but you knew that when you called’ lowering of the eyelids and she’ll be putty in your hands. ‘Your drain is overflowing because of the blocked interface.’
Mrs Drizzle – Lars felt sure she was cake based – squeezed her eyes shut. ‘Is that the best you can do? What interface?’
Lars allowed a larger smile. Those always comforted the…
‘And before you say it, yes I know what an interface is. I just do not understand why the drains might interface with anything, other than the sewers.’
Lars had taken an involuntary step back. He needed to recalibrate this one. The latest ‘Guide To Compassionate Plumbing’ had indicated he needed to make it clear that any form of abuse wouldn’t be tolerated, but he rather suspected that Mrs Sponge – to be fair, she really didn’t come across as a sponge, but something more solid, something one might resort to if involved in hand to hand combat – might try and test the limits of that injunction, and Lars hadn’t just spent a month’s income on the latest in ‘dazzling dentures’ to risk the strength of their adhesion being tested. ‘Of course, and in normal circs, that would be the only interface. But you,’ he paused, not so much for dramatic effect, but because he sensed his client was tensing in a way that reminded him of one of those gory nature films involving top predators and their lunch, ‘you, or rather your drains now interface with the goblin colony at the end of your garden.’
The silence was as unexpected as it was long. Lars sent a series of messages to his features, trying to decide upon the correct mix for the expression he was aiming for, but this quiet was unsettling and it wasn’t long before Lars let his face do its own thing. Even he was surprised when this involved a giggle and a snort.
Those two short sounds appeared to break through the impasse. With a speed and dexterity for which no cakes were renowned, Mrs Stollen – fleetingly Lars wondered if there wasn’t something vaguely Germanic in her attack – launched herself at Lars, downing him in one blow. Before he could compute what was happening, two hands wrapped themselves round his neck.
‘Are. You. Taking. The. Mickey?’
Lars managed to shake his head and was relieved when he realised he could breathe again. He lay very still, triaging himself while his assailant stood and loomed over him. He swallowed painfully and croaked, ‘Something has built a link into your drains and whatever they are putting down it, is blocking yours. I take it you didn’t know about this?’
Lars winced as he felt sure he was about to be hit, but the hand that approached him was merely to help him stand.
‘Thank you. Though why you needed to make up nonsense about goblins, I really don’t know.’
Lars nodded. He wasn’t any sort of expert and a goblin infestation would be unusual in Surrey. He lowered himself into a chair and accepted the proffered slice – Carrot, of course.
Mrs Carrot sat opposite. ‘They’re sprites.’
Lars nodded. Well, there you go. Every day is a new learning experience.