Short Stories

The Plumber

Detects Leaks and Cleans Up Shit 5 minute read
Aquinas Morris, is known in the business as "the plumber". If you think your organisation is leaking information he would come in and clean things up. So he may be getting old, but it's always unwise to poke an old angry bear. Someone has just poked him. Hide!

“Intuition, Danny boy, can be a dangerous thing.”

I know in our line of business it is hard acquired.  We need it to keep one step ahead, to keep our judgement sound.

Intuition, for most people gives them the acumen to know that now is not the time to approach the boss for a pay rise or that their spouse’s tone of voice over the phone might not make them amenable to letting their partner away for the weekend with friends.
It helps us survive in a communicative world, allows us to get along as a species,

But, Danny,  intuition is also full of traps.  You see, people often believe that intuition is hardwired, something we are born with not something we learn the hard way. We both know that is not the case.  You meet something for the first time, things go well, you trundle on.  Things go badly, you learn.  The next time you’re in a similar situation you intuit, you know something either does or doesn’t feel right.

But a lot of people don’t learn, don’t pay attention to what life’s hard lessons are teaching them.
Faced with a complex problem or question, they revert to the dumb ape rather than the wily chimp, replace the complex with the simple.

Out of work, not trained for the current job market, not willing to move to where the work is. Who’s at fault, the person, their former employer, society? It’s a complex problem to deal with Danny.  Well, Danny, one problem with having faulty intuition is that you often replace the complex problem that needs to be solved with one that is easier to deal with.  No job, it’s because of the bloody foreigners. Wrong cause and effect but what the hell it feels intuitive, it’s simple and it’s easily remedied.

Thats how the world works Danny my friend.  We spend years working hard to hone our intuition, it keeps us alive, earns us our living and helps us solve the problems we face.

But, you see Danny, for me you are both a complex and a simple problem.
It was easier years ago, you got a deposit, you checked your target, you made the hit, you collected the rest, you moved on.
Then along comes a wife and family, the job loses it’s sheen, but you haven’t trained for anything else and the market itself is changing.  Different skills are being required, medical, IT, no longer brute force and violence.

Suddenly I find myself no longer receiving the calls, there is a new operative being sought, an Algerian.  This young doctor, can make the perfect hit, no messy blood or exit wounds.  Death in their sleep, collapse at work, no problems.

I’ve a family to look after Danny.  Family comes first.  They sent you to clean up my little mess. But as I’ve said Danny, Intuition can be a dangerous thing.  You are young, I’m the experienced one.  When they find your body the complex question will be replaced by an easier one. Don’t you know, Police intuition is a recognised institution, ask anyone. Another racist murder in Birmingham, what is the world coming to. Danny, you were near perfect at your job.  Only Intelligence knows of you and there are thousands more of like you coming along out there.  Me an old codger, I will always find use for my skills somewhere. The pay won’t be as good but the hours will be more amenable.

Some day it will be another Danny leaving me prostrate for a young cop to practice his intuition on. Till then I’ll try and keep mine honed sharp.  Bon Voyage mon petit ami. I’m off to visit our former boss.

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My name is Liam Robertson. I live with my four children in the village of Rostrevor. I had a wife, Niamh, but she died not that long ago. Most days you will find me writing code to feed my family. Most nights I write prose and poetry to prick and prod that ragged tear loss leaves behind.
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