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Hey, remember The Fourth of July, 2003? We don't, but found this in our archives:

Fourth of July Fourthiness.

Independence is on the march, patriots.

& Recently . . .

Kurt Cobain's Ghost with an Invitation to a Fourth of July Picnic and Fireworks by Angela Genusa

"B.L.T.": A Review by Will Layman

Ten Tiny Poems by Brian Beatty

Angry Words from a Gnome Who to This Day Continues to Think the Human Genome Project Was Actually The Human Gnome Project by David Ng

Key Party, N.Y.C., Circa Always by William K. Burnette

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Wednesday, September 3, 2003   |    Fiction

Lady, Your Pipes Need Cleaning

by Ray Stillman

Look, lady, your pipes are all clogged up. They need to be cleaned out. They—what?

Oh, it’s the tools. The weight of the tools in my belt is what makes my pants hang so low. I know, I know—it’s kind of embarrassing. The curse of the plumber: your ass crack is exposed to all. I’ve heard all the jokes, believe me. Now, if you’ll pardon me while I get to work on cleaning your pipes … what? Yes, some iced tea would be nice. Thank you.

Yes, it’s very hot in here. I see you’re rubbing an ice cube along your exposed chest. That must cool you down, I’m sure.

Yes, the iced tea is very tasty. Is that peach flavored? I like peach. It’s very sugary… you keep licking your lips like that, and I—whoa, O.K. there, ha, ha, thank you. Thanks for licking the tea off my—hey, please watch it, I’m going to spill… Um, could you pass me my wrench?

Ma’am, I’m sorry, but could you not gyrate so seductively while I’m trying to work? It’s difficult to concentrate on cleaning your pipes.

Whoa—hey now… Ma’am, I know my pants are hung extremely low, but I’ve explained to you it’s not by choice. I’m here to clean your pipes, not to engage in some steamy sexual encounter. I’m sorry. If you’d please pull your nightie back on, I’d appreciate it. Thank you.

Well, there you go. Your pipes are thoroughly rooted clean. I hope you’re not upset about that whole awkward sex thing. I know, I know, it’s O.K. This type of misunderstanding happens to me all the time. Until there’s a clog or a flood, many women have never met a plumber in real life, and they expect us to be just like the plumbers you’d see in a typical pornographic film. I assure you, we’re not like that at all. We’re very professional. If we went around having sex instead of fixing pipes, there wouldn’t be a working kitchen or bathroom in the whole city!

No, no, do not apologize, there’s no need to feel embarrassed. But now you know: we plumbers are very skilled professionals who do not go around enjoying wanton sexual acts with strangers. If that’s what you’re looking for, I suggest you contact your local cable-TV repairman.

Good day, ma’am.

Ray Stillman once killed a man with his bare hands, although he is not one to brag about such things. He is an aspiring screenwriter, an inspiring poet, and a perspiring photographer. Mr. Stillman is an ex-New Yorker who now lives in scenic, sunny, star-saturated Los Angeles, in an apartment building between a bowling alley and a tatoo parlor. He often finds it difficult to resist the urge to ink "Gutter balls" across the knuckles of his left hand. He has made sweet, sweet love with supermodel Heidi Klum many, many times but, again, is not one to brag.