Rating: Blue Cortina, more or less, for language.
Word Count: 440
Notes: Sure, it's short, silly, and pointless, but what the heck. Unbetaed, so all mistakes are mine.
He was up to his—miserable, fucking piece of garbage—arms in it now, his carefully rolled sleeves soaked through with foul-smelling, dirty water as he fought back the urge to scream and kick and do serious damage to the already cracked and water-stained linoleum floor. Sam Tyler was a police officer, a professional; he’d waded through sewage and been elbow-deep in partially decayed human remains, all in the line of duty. He was smart, capable, efficient, and had spent his gap year working at B&Q, and he was not about to let one miserable…
“I don’t understand why you don’t just leave it, boss,” Chris said, from the doorway. “One of the girls can come round, clean up. Get a plumber in tomorrow.”
Reluctantly, Sam looked up, wiping the first beads of sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand. “I’ve got it,” he insisted, before bending back down again. The handle of the plunger was starting to splinter and his arm had started to cramp, but there seemed to be a knot of something dark and primal buried within him that drove him forward.
I am Man, it said.
Behind him, Chris was still hovering on the edge of the overflow. “Plumbing’s been dodgy for as long as I can remember.”
I am Man, and all DIY repair jobs will bow before me.
Enough was enough. He threw the plunger to the ground, and when the dank brown water splashed on contact he didn’t even flinch. “I don’t understand it!” he snarled, more to the cosmos than anything. He swung around, and Chris watched him—entranced, and a little terrified. “If this, the whole building, 1973, is all in my head, then why this toilet? Is there some symbolism here I’m missing? Why doesn’t it work?”
“It’s clogged,” Chris observed, a little nervous.
Sam threw up his hands. “I know that.”
“Maybe,” Chris said, hesitantly, “you feel impotent about the case. It’s been days since we heard anything, and it’s not like there’s anything we can do about it, is there?”
This time, it was Sam’s turn to stare. “What did you say?”
“Or it could be Ray using too much bog roll again. He does that sometimes.” The gum smacked around Chris’s mouth as he spoke. “Just a thought.”
Sam rubbed his forehead and, for the first time, he noticed how grotty his hands were. He wiped them on the front of his shirt, which was stained almost beyond recognition anyway. “You’ve been talking to WPC Cartwright, haven’t you?”
Chris shrugged. “I don’t think you’re impotent, boss.”
“Uh,” Sam said, after a moment. “Thanks.”