Plunging the bent coat hanger up and down into the sink drain, I am rewarded with a slimy hair ball the size of a rat. How the hell does that get down there anyway? The goo comes out like something hanging on a stick from a sewer fondue. Is this someone’s twisted idea of fishing for the man who doesn’t get out enough? And it is inevitable that I have to touch it. I pitch it in one practiced, smooth stroke into the bathtub (I have done this before). It hits the porcelain with a sickening splat that only those who have ever done this will understand. I curse its existence knowing that I did not get all of it and that it will grow again. I contemplate the dead rat in the tub and consider showing it to my wife and daughter but soon realize, again, that this is not a good idea. It would create an instant frenzy of hand waving and screeches of “gross” and “why do I need to see this” and then a reminder that I have hair too. How it mysteriously grows to those lengths while in a drain I don’t know – but I don’t bring that up. Besides my wife says this is a man’s job.
I fill the sink with some water to test the drain after it birthed this thing. More curses – it still drains slow. There must be offspring deeper down in the trap beyond the reach of the coat hanger. At least I got the mother wad. Okay, this means I have to invade their den. After some time searching for and locating my misplaced vice grips and carefully placing a Tupperware bowl (my wife’s lunch container – but she won’t know) under the drain to capture the spilled water and any escapees, I proceed to twist and open the trap. I’m goin’ in! Sure enough, there they are. The whole damn family slides out of the pipe in to the Tupperware (and it is gross) and I pull another big one out of the trap – must be the teenager. I replace the trap, try the drain test and all is clear for now.
I chase the slime wad around the tub. I swear it moved. A quick, deft swipe and a smear on the porcelain is all that is left of it. I reunite it with its relations in the Tupperware. I don’t think I need a lid as it looks dead now. Flush it? That would be dumb as it would go back to its natural habitat. I decide it couldn’t survive the compost so it goes out with the coffee grounds and the other stuff that used to be edible. Maybe we will see it next spring, like a phoenix rising up with the Dahlias. That is quite possible. In the meantime, I put away my fishing rod and look for another manly job. I need some fresh air so while I am out in the yard I scoop up the dog shit. Looking up, I remember the gutters need a clean. What surprises await me there I wonder?