First down was the family goldfish. Flaccid and limp-finned, it had been surreptitiously slipped down the plughole as Sean’s daughter slept, shortly to be replaced by Goldie Mark II. Sean was aware that protocol demanded that the long-serving Goldie Mark I be flushed down the toilet with full military honours, but the en-suite was a chemical toilet and dissolving a family pet in what was essentially a pit of bleach felt a bit…premeditated.
When it came to the disposal, there was remarkably little fuss. Goldie did a couple of laps of the sink before finding his eternal rest and…was it Sean’s tired eyes playing tricks on him, or had the plughole widened ever so slightly in anticipation of its feast? Pulling the light chord, he went back to bed.
Next were the magazines found underneath his boy’s mattress. The recycling wasn’t an option – what if his wife were to see? And perish the thought of confronting his teenage son. No – it would have to be the sink once more. Telling his wife that the previous night’s curry hadn’t agreed with him, Sean settled into the en-suite with the washing up gloves, the magazines, and a pair of scissors. Before long the papery mulch at the bottom of the sink was threatening to overwhelm the plumbing. Sean gingerly prodded at the sodden mass with the toilet plunger. Suddenly, and unmistakeably this time, the plughole gaped as if overcome by a yawn long held back. The viscous paper slid as one into the chasm before the chrome ring returned to its normal shape. Sean’s mouth was as wide as the plughole had been. For a brief moment he considered calling his wife through. On balance, he decided against it.
Sean began to make better use of the en-suite sink. Garden waste he couldn’t be bothered to take to the dump, an angry letter from the secretary at work with whom he’d had a one-night stand, and, after a blazing row with his wife, the keys to her brand new 5 Series. All received with grateful silence. It was amazing, he thought, what a difference it makes when there isn’t a pair of eyes staring back at you.
It escalated from there, really. Before long he was pushing sheaves of paper down the mildewy cavern, papers provided to him by second-hand car salesmen who were quite happy if their secrets slid down the dark pipe after the paper. Word spread, and Sean ceased to ask questions about what he was rinsing down his sink. Heavy metal items wrapped in rags slithered down through the gunk, never clanging against any bottom that Sean could hear. For that, he was grateful.
He still had business of his own to attend to, of course. Like the time that his ex-secretary’s husband had arrived at the house, pounding at the door and demanding that he explain the messages on his wife’s phone. He had been tricky to get down; Sean had placed one foot either side of the sink and lowered the man in, hands underneath his armpits. If Sean’s wife and children hadn’t already left him, he would have been scared they’d hear his grunting.
That last time, the plughole had stayed open for longer than usual, as though expecting more, as though still unsatisfied. It shrunk eventually though – it always did. Sean returned to his cold bed and turned in for the night. He slept deeply, just like always. Beneath him, in the bowels of the semi-detached, the pipes groaned.
***Thanks for reading, folks***