Monday, October 31, 2005


Copyright 2005 Janice Price

“Mmm, this is the life,” Buddy breathes, as he rolls onto his side and stretches in the warm sunshine.

“Yes,” Merci agrees. She leaps deftly to her feet to avoid Buddy’s flailing feet. “This is my favorite time of the year.”

Percy nips the paw Buddy has shoved into his side and ignores Buddy’s yelp of protest. “It won’t be long before it will be too cold to stretch out in front of the screen door and sleep in the sun. It’s going to be a long, boring winter.”

“Oh, it won’t be boring,” Buddy says with assurance. “I have decided what I want to do with my life.”

“Eat!” Merci and Percy laugh.

“No, seriously, guys,” Buddy protests, “ever since Mr. Landlord was here the other day, I have been thinking of becoming a plumber.”

“Mr. Landlord? Oh, you mean our landlord.” Percy cocks his head. “No, he can’t be our landlord. Jan pays the rent. He must be her landlord.”

“But Mr. Landlord isn’t a plumber. We heard him tell Jan he’s a contractor.”

Buddy rolls onto his stomach and watches a squirrel sit on a porch step and eat a pecan. “But, Merci, he replaced the kitchen faucet when he was here. He’s a plumber!”

Merci shakes her head. “Just because he knows how to turn on and off the water, that doesn’t make him a plumber. He just got lucky.”

“No! If you remember, I helped him. I showed him where the leak was. I barked for Jan to fetch a rag to clean up the water after he pulled everything out from under the sink. I even reminded him to go buy a new faucet before he took out the old one. It’s a good thing I was there, peering under the sink, watching him. He might have fallen asleep under there if I hadn’t kept knocking things over and nudging him along.”

Percy laughs. “You’re right, Buddy. He couldn’t have done the job without you.”

“Go ahead and laugh now. You won’t laugh when I have money in my – Oh, I forgot, I don’t have pockets. But I’m going to have money to spend.”

“Can I earn some money too?”

Buddy looks indignant. “You’re a girl, Merci. Girls don’t do plumbing. Did you see the size of that wrench Mr. Landlord carried outside to turn off the water at the meter? It probably weighs more than you do!”

“Well, I could do something. Mop up the water spills, hand you the lightweight tools, whatever you need that I can handle.”

Buddy thinks a moment and changes his mind. “Yes, it would be nice to have an employee. You could be my secretary and make my appointments. Cameron, the Funny Farm Writing Club Treasurer, can’t count higher than his toes yet. Maybe you can also do the billing and balance the books. You can add, can’t you?”

Merci nods her head, growing excited at the prospect of having a career.

“Well, if you two are going to work together and have spending money, I want a position too.”

“Okay, Percy, you can be the one who mops up the water spills, hands me the tools and whatever else I need help doing.”

“Just don’t ask me to bring you a wrench like Mr. Landlord carried. I’m smaller than Merci, remember.”

“If we’re going to start a business, we need a name for it.”

“I know, Buddy, we can call it Percy and Buddy’s Plumbing Company.”

“Hey, you forgot my name,” Merci complains.

“But you’re only the secretary.”

“Buddy, if you don’t include my name in the company title, I’ll tell Cameron you need a bookkeeper.”

“Okay, okay. We’ll include your name. The Buddy, Percy, Merci Plumbing Company.”

“That sounds terrible,” Percy says. “We need something with class, like PBM Plumbing Company.”

Buddy rises to his feet and stretches to look as tall and masculine as possible. “This is my idea. It’s my company. My name goes first! And to be fair to you two, we’ll do it in alphabetical order. Buddy, Merci, Percy Plumbing Company.”

“That sounds terrible too, Buddy. The name weighs more than Mr. Landlord’s wrench.”

“What about the BMP Plumbing Service?” Merci asks.

Buddy mulls over the name. “BMP Plumbing Service. Hmmm, I like that. It’s easy to spell also. Does that sound all right to you, Percy?”

“Yes, I like that name. I can print some business cards. This should be fun. When do we start?”

“Just as soon as we get a client,” Buddy beams. “I can’t wait to get started. After all, how hard can it be to plumb? We can learn as we go. This should be fun.”

Percy and Merci exchange a nervous glance. Buddy’s schemes tend to go awry.

“In fact, we can practice here at home,” Buddy announces confidently. “The faucet in the bathtub has to be replaced. Let’s surprise Jan and fix it for her.”

Merci climbs to her feet and slowly follows Buddy into the bathroom. “One way or another, Jan is definitely going to be surprised!”

Secretary to the Funny Farm Writing Club

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