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One Shot · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
Show rules for this event
The road to insanity is paved a single drip at a time. Oliver was already most of the way down that road and approaching the interchange to commitment by midnight. He got up, went into the bathroom, and regarded the evil porcelain god which was driving him crazy.

“Tomorrow, you’re getting a new flapper thingie,” he muttered before reaching underneath the toilet and turning the valve off.

An hour later, as the constant dripping had been supplemented by the quiet whine of a leaky shut-off valve, Oliver tromped downstairs and managed to find the household water cutoff while rehearsing the speech he was going to give Dave later.

“Dave, thanks for letting me use your house for my interviews this week while you were out. By the way, I fixed your toilet. You’re welcome.”

The next day, there was no water for the shower, so he had to dash downstairs, turn on the valve, and proceed with his scheduled activities, slightly delayed.

The job interviews went well, comparatively, so he stopped by the hardware store and picked up the widgets needed to fix Dave’s toilet.

Of course, they were the wrong ones.

Of course, the hardware store was closed when he went back.

Of course, the original parts had gotten broken a little when being removed.

The next day’s interviews, slightly fragrant from lack of showering, went… not quite as well.

This time when he stopped by the hardware store, he bought one of everything. He could always return what he did not use.

By slightly after closing time, he realized he had bought almost one of everything. Thankfully, he had enough of Dave’s wet towels to make a good simulation of a bath.

The job interviews the next day went perfectly. Oliver could feel the rising sensation of anticipation. Or perhaps all the hand sanitizer was soaking through his skin.

Afterward, the hardware store clerk greeted him by name. The part he needed was missing from the store shelves, but after a little begging and pleading, they found it in a nearby store. He returned to Dave’s house, armed and ready for battle.

This time, the bathroom’s PVC pipe broke off inside the wall. Before Oliver got the water turned off, it soaked a good chunk of the basement and much of Dave’s stored stuff.

It was fine. Everything was fine. No problem.

Oliver went out into the garage and got a gallon of gasoline from the lawn mower. He practiced his speech.

“I’m sorry, Dave. I don’t know what happened. You have insurance, right?”
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#1 · 3
· · >>TitaniumDragon >>Fenton >>georg
Hmm... I don't think that company knows what they're in for with Oliver. Truth be told it might have just been cheaper to call a plumber but, this piece is an exercise in absurdity. I did chuckle a bit at the situation in which he found himself. I find the story somewhat relatable, in that there were times I'd tried to fix something only to find out what I was trying to fix was either outside my skill set or wasn't what was actually broken.

That said it could have stood to have just a bit more meat on its bones. A few reactions from Oliver might have reinforced Oliver's decent into madness and if possible seeing some of his failed attempts at fixing things could have been fun.

The story is fun it just needs more.
#2 ·
· · >>georg
I'm with >>Misternick .
#3 ·
· · >>georg
Echoing >>Misternick.

"Do it yourself" isn't always a good idea and this story embodies that well. I laughed a little at his misfortune but I'm not really a good person.
#4 ·
· · >>georg
A perfectly passable little tale.

I'd need to stare at it a bit more, bit I think the prose could probably use a little bit of polishing to help increase the impact of some of the lines and tighten up what I felt was a bit of loose pacing. Basically, while the story got a vague smile out of me, I suspect another revision or two could really punch it up.
#5 ·
· · >>georg
Seriously? No one's commenting on the "I'm sorry, Dave," line? Sigh.

Anyway, as fun as that line is, I'm in agreement with the others that there's not much here. We get a hero frustrated by failure, and... well, that's about it. Well constructed, but I'm having trouble seeing what the point is, unless it's just the joke at the end.
#6 ·
Yeah, same as the rest here. The end says comedy, but the preceding proceedings didn't bring me there. Quite barebones, things go wrong because the universe hates Oliver I guess, Oliver tries to fix them, gets frustrated, and that's all, folks.

Make it pop! If it's supposed to be funny, make it really funny! If it's supposed to be serious, give us more tone and detail and a better conclusion!

As is, this lands around the mid-tier garden of meh somewhere. Thanks for writing, though!
#7 ·
· · >>georg
Ah, the “snowball” effect.

Echoing about everyone else’s opinion here. The escalation is a bit hokey (the PVC pipe exploding in the wall? Really?) and predictable. Thus, there’s no real comic payoff except maybe the final line which tries to redeem the whole bunch.

Okay, I'm not a king of DoY but I still can fix a number of things, iPhones included, so I have a hard time relating to klutzes. But I agree some people had better call a professional rather than venture in countries they're hardly prepared for.

On the other hand, kudos for making finals, and kudos also to have kept this entry short enough to prevent it from slipping into boringness.
#8 ·
· · >>georg
Man, that opening paragraph threw me pretty hard, specifically this line:
Oliver was already most of the way down that road and approaching the interchange to commitment by midnight.

It just didn't work for me at all.

Other than that, this was pretty ridiculous... which worked, I think, given the over-the-top nature of the ending. It got a snicker out of me.
#9 · 3
Before I get started, guess what Georg was doing at home during this writeoff? If you guessed plumbing a toilet, you win. (I won’t tell you what you won. You wouldn’t want it anyway)

Brief summary: Good Friday at Georg’s house. Georg is playing World of Warcraft instead of being creative or reverent. God takes offense. Georgwife comes running into the computer room, drags Georg out of a raid, toilet is overflowing. Toilet float has sprung a leak and become a sinker instead of a float. Toilet overflow is *above* level of flush lever, which is pouring water all over the floor. Flush. Turn off shutoff valve. Mop. Grumble. Go back to WOW. Attend Good Friday services. God is not placated. Return from services to find toilet shutoff valve… isn’t. Bathroom flooded. Basement sheetrock dripping. Large puddle around basement stuff. Shut off water to whole house. Mop. Buckets under basement leak. Damp stuff dragged out to garage.

Then there was evening, and then there was morning. Next day. Holy Saturday. Georg goes to hardware store to purchase offerings to the plumbing temple. Finding it difficult to maintain the Easter frame of mind where we give thanks to God for sending his son Jesus to die for our sins. Wishing he had been a plumber instead of a carpenter. Purchase new float widget. Purchase new toilet shutoff valve. Install new float widget. Perfect. Attempt to install new shutoff valve. Wrong size. Return to the plumbing temple. Exchange. Return to toilet. Old copper sleeve will not slide off PVC pipe. Brief curse for cheap (censored) who built house. Install new shutoff valve with old sleeve. Turn on water. Sprinkler in bathroom. Turn off water. Old copper sleeve over PVC needs cut off. Get hacksaw. Fix. Saw off overflow tube while at it, just in case so it won’t overflow out the flush lever again. Install new cutoff valve. Attach everything. Test. Praise God. Put paper towel under valve. Wait an hour. No drips. Praise God again.

And then I wrote the story. Does it make more sense now? (And no, I was not tempted to get a gallon of gasoline. Much.)

Short was the whole point of this. I even used the shortest title I could think of.

>>Cold in Gardez

Yeah, the name decision was made about half-way through, because when you write the words, “I’m sorry” the next word just naturally flows out to be “Dave.” (at least for antiques like me)

Monokeras >>Monokeras

My goal was to bring it in at 400 words exactly, because I’ve got a bad tendency to write 1000 words and try to chop, thus winding up with word salad. Sort of the Toastmaster’s version of their 3B advice for new speakers. “Be brief. Be concise. Be seated.” And the pipe *almost* broke inside the wall, but ever since I did that (by accident) trying to fix an external faucet (hint: if you have to use the *big* wrench, you're doing something very wrong), I've been much better about caution and PVC.

Not_A_Hat >>Not_A_Hat

The ending actually came to me while writing that line, and while it may have worked better for the Twilight Zone prompt, the rest of the story flows out of it. Or drips, I suppose. Note how I started with flowery verbose descriptions, and as Oliver goes crazier, the sentences get shorter and choppier while his perception of the world slowly warps. It’s a lot like that when you’re trying to fix a toilet, too. Voice of experience, and all that. By the way, at this point I’ve replaced or repaired every single sink, toilet, and faucet in our house, and still kept (most of) my sanity intact. Then again, a SAN rating is only marginally useful anyway in the real world, particularly with plumbing.