By Big M
Foodge was feeling relaxed. It was early spring. The air was redolent with the perfume of flowers, which was a contrast to the odours of ‘McLeod’s, Tanners and Fine Leather makers to the Queen.’ There was no mention of which queen, and of which country. Foodge had good reason to feel relaxed. He’d been away for two weeks in the Southern Tablelands on an intensive watercolour camp that was run by Gez and his mysterious ‘H’. He’d produced dozen of works of art, which were of surprising quality, but Foodge was still shy about showing them to his fellow patrons. Added to this was the pleasure of driving the rebuilt Zephyr on country roads, plus the five big ones from the previous ‘case’.
“Dja read about the Local Member in the paper?” Enquired Merv, as he pushed another glass canoe across the deeply stained timber of the bar.
“No, I’ve been incontinentia, I mean, incognito, these last few weeks. Foodge replied, absent-mindedly looking at ‘The Law Review’, which was nowhere near as informative as ‘Barrister’s Weekly’, as there was no Word Finder, very few photographs, and lot’s of long winded articles.
“Incognito doesn’t mean out of touch.” Retorted Merv, as he struggled, in vain, to remove what looked like blood stains from the bar top.
“I think you’ll find it does.” Foodge took a long pull from his canoe, looking only slightly ridiculous with foam from his ‘Trotters Best’ forming a soap like moustache.
“What’s ‘e lost his seat?”
“Lost ‘is seat, an’ gone to gaol.” Merv’s brows were knitted as he scrubbed at the stain. “Got busted importin’ gerbils.”
“Didn’t know it was illegal to import gerbils.” Mused Foodge as he tried to decipher some of the Latin terms in the Review.
“It’s not so much importin’ ‘em, it’s what he did to ‘em once ‘e took delivery.” Merv gave up on the stain, becoming fixated by the carcasses of flies in the display case. His reverie was disturbed by a string of expletives from the Gents.
“Bloody dirty bastards, can’t piss straight when they’re sober, let alone with a skin full.” Granny emerged from the dunnies with bucket and mop in hand. “I’ve had a gutful, I’m a Master Brewer, not a cleaner!” She dropped the mop and bucket and marched off to the cellar.
“She has a point.” Observed Foodge, as the stench from the Gents overpowered all the aromas of spring, plus the tannery, which was saying something.
“I thought the new standuppery, plus the new tiles would get rid of that smell!” groaned Merv.
“Clearly we have a dilemma. How do we get the male patrons of the Pigs to micturate in a tidy and accurate manner?” Foodge thought himself clever for using a medical word (he’d read it in a Woman’s Weakly, but, wouldn’t admit it!).
“Buggered if I know.” Grumbled Merv. “Can’t piss straight meself.”
Foodge went into a meditative state, which lasted almost twenty seconds. “Perhaps there’s more to this odour than just urine on the floor, I mean, everything’s new in there, get’s mopped out daily, well, until today. There must be something else happening in there.”
“All of the facilities in the Gents are top notch, I should know, paid for ‘em meself, and installed them all meself, well, with the help of the Mondrian Brothers and some of the Angles, I mean, they had all the tools.” Merv’s shoulders were now covered in fine, white flakes as he stood scratching his head.
Foodge felt compelled to ask the question. “Are the Mondrian Brothers or any of the Angles licensed plumbers?”
Merv looked uncomfortable. “Well, how hard can it be, I mean, you only need to know that shit doesn’t roll up hill?”
“So, I take that as an answer in the negative.” Foodge was on his stride, like his old days as a barrister.
Merv’s eyes glistened. “Will I lose the pub?”
“No, of course not, all we need to do is find a plumber who’s happy to overlook the shoddy workmanship.” Foodge looked quite pleased with himself. “Come to think of it, O’Hoo comes from a long line of plumbers. He’s the black sheep of the family, couldn’t get into plumbing college, too much maths, so, became a copper instead!” Foodge had his mobile out, and was already dialling. “O’Hoo, old son, how the hell are you? Terrific, good, yes, yes, yes, yes, no, no, she didn’t. Well, can you meet me for a drink, yes, yes? Pigs Arms, yes, soon.” Foodge pocketed the phone just as O’Hoo crept up behind him.
“Guess who?” O’Hoo ejaculated.
“O’Hoo, of course, I’d recognise that droning voice anywhere.”
O’Hoo thought that this was the height of comedic wit, so, laughed until he was hoarse. Merv pushed a canoe across the bar. Foodge gave the lad time to drain his glass, stuff a day old sausage roll into his gaping pie hole and then reiterated the morning’s conversation.
“Mawder lork” mumbled O’Hoo, the second sausage roll sticking to his hard palate, which he rapidly dislodged with a half pint of Trotters Best. Odour Lock, did you install an odour lock?”
“What the f..” Mumbled Merv. “Odour Lock, what’s an odour lock?”
“It’s a valve that lets fluid through one way, but doesn’t allow gas, or fluid for that matter back out.” O’Hoo was eyeing off a third sausage roll. Clearly his intima, DCI Rouge was struggling to keep him on a diet. “It’s illegal to install a urinal without one. Used hep me Dad install ‘em when I was a kid.”
“Dja remember how to install ‘em” Pleaded Merv.
“Remember?” O’Hoo had decided against the third roll, instead was sinking a third schooner. “Easy peasy, piece of piss. Ha Ha Ha.” More wit from O’Hoo. “I’ll do it now.” O’Hoo marched straight out of the bar, and walked a couple of blocks to Bunny’s Hardware, returning a few minutes later.
O’Hoo was able to access the offending pipes from the cellar, and install the valve using some of Granny’s kitchen tools. Twenty minutes later, the Gents was ready for its first stench free micturition, which, surprising to everyone, except O’Hoo was a success. In fact, O’Hoo now thought of himself as being flushed with success!