I stood dripping on the bathmat and watched pieces of grey material float up from the hole. “It really is disgusting,” I said to myself. My voice sounded like the voice of a man and made me jump.
I looked in the mirror feeling frightened.
The pieces of grey material got caught up in the whirlpools that the water escaping was causing and they looked kind of threatening- like deckchairs and garden sheds flying around in the coils of a tornado. It took ages for the water to drain and when it did all this grey sludge was left coating the sides and the bottom of the bathtub. I don’t exactly know what the grey sludge and grey material is made of and it really makes me sick. Although, if I were to make a guess, I would probably say that it is a collection of years and years of skin from all different people and the backs of their necks and behind of their ears. Or a rat that got into the pipes and died when somebody finished washing; scrabbling in the darkness. The rat would have turned into grey mulch after five or six years.
I was too scared to call Mr. Francis because I thought that he would probably blame me and charge me a lot of money. This is what happened in my last flat when the key got stuck in the door and I went to the shop and bought some margarine and smeared it all over the lock but I couldn’t get the key out and the landlord, Mr. Welsh, charged me a lot of money. This time I think I would have got away with it until the end of my contract when the new tenant tried to have a bath and was outraged, but then Maureen from downstairs, who has Alzheimer’s, was getting wet from a leak in bed and they told her she was mad but then the home help saw the water trickling down the wall and came and knocked upstairs. She shouted, “It’s the home help from downstairs. Something up here is leaking into Maureen’s bed.” I thought that she would go away but I could hear Maureen muttering and the home help banging for a long time. I shouted, “I’m very unwell!” and ran into the bedroom.
Mr. Francis called several times and then passed my telephone number and e-mail address to the plumber, who said that the building would collapse if I didn’t attend to the issue immediately. I wondered how much I would be charged if the building collapsed but then I realised that I would probably die anyway if I were to fall through the floor suddenly while I was sleeping one night. I would probably not even have time to wake up before I was dead in Maureen’s kitchen. In the end, on a Tuesday, the landlord gave the plumber a key and he came in without knocking, right into the bathroom and he pushed the towel rack over. He was very angry with me for wasting his time. I had just got out of the bath and was standing in front of the mirror and brushing my hair. The plumber looked at the grey material flying up from the plug hole and the grey sludge that was starting to form around the edge of the water and was disgusted. Then he looked at me in my towel which was quite short and not as clean as I might have liked. I suddenly felt like my skin was shimmering with thousands of little grey bugs and I looked down at my toes and my feet and the bottom of my legs and they were covered with moths with enormous wet wings that stuck to my flesh.