After my fit last Friday morning, the Furnace Guy was rescheduled for Saturday morning.
I hid on the stairs, out of sight, while Henry let him in the house.
“Well,” Henry interrogated me once Furnace Guy descended into the basement. “Is that the guy?”
I didn’t like his tone, how he was trying to fill my brain with doubt. No one ever believes the raped!
“I’m not sure,” I answered honestly. “I didn’t see him. On purpose.”
But I did see him a few minutes later when he popped back up to tell Henry that he would be back at 3:30pm.
“OK, so maybe that wasn’t the same guy,” I admitted. I hated how Henry made me feel so confused, so full of uncertainty. He’s clearly in the wrong line of work. He should be defending sex criminals in court, making poor little girls wring their hands and wonder if they really are the sluts their daddies accused them of being.
All afternoon and into the evening, our house was full of clanging metal and the muffled tones of Brian the Furnace Guy barking into his cell phone.
“I have to run to the store,” Henry sprung on me.
“You can’t leave me here!” I cried.
“Well, someone needs to stay home while he’s here and we both know YOU aren’t going to go grocery shopping alone.”
I knew the bigger picture was that he needed to hurry up and buy beer because Tommy and Jessy were coming over to watch the hockey game. This was Henry’s first time entertaining Tommy on his own turf and I knew Henry wanted it to be special. I think he even splashed on after shave. He didn’t even do that for our date last week.
“Fine,” I whined. I didn’t feel too panicked, knowing it wasn’t the same Furnace Guy from 2006. Besides, I wanted to watch Vampire Diaries anyway and Chooch’s loud mouth is not conducive to TV-viewing.
Half an hour after Henry and Chooch left, the Furnace Guy emerged like a mole from the basement.
“We got a problem,” he started, and it was then, while he was droning on and on in that strangulated voice I still sometimes hear in my subconscious, usually when someone is talking about heating ducts or going to someone’s house under the pretense of fixing their furnace and then raping everything with genitals, that it dawned on me that it really was the same guy after all.
He’s just older-looking now.
But that voice. It made me slowly fold my hands over my crotch and dart my eyes around for a good cock-incapacitating weapon.
“…..so I’ll be back in the morning,” he finished, while I continued to numbly nod my head and mutter monotone “uh huh”s until I heard the basement door shut and his van backing out of the driveway.
Won’t be needing that rape kit after all, Sarah Palin. This time, anyway.
The next day, I was so engrossed in my IP Relay fuckery that I completely forgot he was in the basement, finishing the furnace installation. When I step into my Manuel character, I essentially turn into a mentally-stunted sociopath whose laughter starts out low and throaty before quickly approaching psychotic levels of hysteria.
The cats can be found darting in furry streaks to take refuge under the bed. Henry turns up the TV.
My laughter continues to crescendo.
And that’s precisely what the Furnace Guy heard that day while he quietly toiled away in the basement: me, yelling out, “Oh fuck, I’m seriously going to pee my pants!” while snorting and choking on the insane sort of merriment generally only achieved with the aid of psychedelics.
In other words, I was a giddy mess. Alone at the computer I sat, hiccuping on my obnoxiousness, while Henry and Chooch quietly watched cartoons in the living room.
They’re used to this and have become quite good at blocking me out like nothing more than some weak Vietnam acid flashback.
They might have been impervious to my juvenile antics, but I like to believe that I turned the tables on the Furnace Guy. Who’s afraid of who NOW, muthafuckaaaa?
What’s that, Manuel? You need your furnace looked at? Well, let’s set up an appointment for you!
[This photo was taken while I was trapped at the computer as Furnace Guy was pointing something out to Henry regarding the thermostat. Henry knew I was taking the picture, so he was standing there all tense, like he was trying not to pass a brick of cocaine through his asshole. Henry hates that people can’t come into our house to do work without me acting like a fourth-grade reject.]
ETA: What the fuck, Furnace Guy just came back. I got stuck standing with him in the basement while he put some sort of tape on the furnace and talked to me about how, of all the basements he’s worked in, he’s not once seen a ghost. Thank God I had my four-year-old son there to protect me (even though it took him nearly the whole time to put his pants on in order to join me in the basement). Also, thank God he entered the basement through the side door and not the house, or else he’d have seen his picture on the computer screen. Hopefully this chapter is closed now.