I started the day by saving a turtle
lost on a sidewalk next to the road.
He paddled away in the nearby pond
and I washed my hands, patted my back.

I've only seen the man once
in the last two years
and even that was an accident.
He's more of an acquaintance
than a friend, but he's got enough
charisma for the both of us
so I like him
and I'll bail him out of this jam.
Only a plumber
can truly relate
to the martyrs of this world;
the cheaters of fate.

"Have you been punching walls?"
I ask as soon as I notice
the gouges in his knuckles.
The routine's familiar from formative years.
"Any domestic disputes as of late?"
I had to throw that jab.
I had to.

"Nope," he replies with a gleam I misread.
"My father's dying. I'll find him in a puddle soon."

One of us changed the subject
though I don't remember who or how.
Everything went dull in sound
like a dive made too deep
at the neighborhood pool as a kid.
Another man would have decked me
and I would have deserved that bruise
but everyone needs a trustworthy plumber.

If that turtle could talk
he'd say he was fine
without me.

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