(This is a continuing series called “Kissing Frogs” posted every Friday. To get caught up, you can click the “Kissing Frogs . . . so far” link at the top of the page.)
Capable, practical, blue-collar Joey Dreus. He had been introduced that way so often he was thinking of putting it on his business cards. Currently his cards read “Joey Dreus, a quality plumber with a sturdy belt” but it hadn’t drawn as many laughs as he anticipated, and it had certainly done nothing to attract business. His business was, no pun intended, in the toilet, and about to be flushed down.
In frustration, and with trembling fingers he was about to call the local elementary school and accept a position in maintenance just to pay the bills. Exactly where the bank manager told him he’d be, and only off by three months. But there is only so far that hard-headedness will go, and last time he checked it wasn’t taken as currency on loans. So he reached for the phone.
And it rang.
“Joey? It’s Tracey. . . Tracey MacManus . . . I’m in your Sunday School class.” The voice was ringing no bells, nor was the name, but the panic in her voice couldn’t stop him from seeing dollar signs.
“We have a flood. I don’t know why, or how, or even where exactly, but I need it fixed right now, and I know you’re a plumber. Do you think you could do me a favor, and put your current jobs on hold?”
It was a real effort to stem the tidal wave of sarcasm that threaten to flood his response, but he managed it.
“Uh, yeah. I can probably shuffle a few things. Give me the address, I’ll be there within the hour.”
He arrived in twenty-five minutes, after circling the block three times so as not to appear too desperate for work. From the street he could see where at least part of the problems began. The building had been built during the second world war, and judging by the layers of paint flaking from the brick, the newest thing about the building was the handsome sign announcing it as the home of Sophia Publishing.
Joey stopped cold in the street. Ooh! Tracey MacManus! This was going to be a hard-earned loan payment.