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Rated: E · Short Story · Experience · #2212985
A salutary story, life's not always what it seems.

PETE'S my mate. He's a plumber, a good plumber, and a sometime poet. Pete's a lousy poet, but don't tell him I said so.
Pete's poems are about plumbing e.g.:
She was only a plumber's daughter,
But she knew how to handle a washer!
'Good in'it,'said Peter.
'Needs working on,' said I.
He also wrote some verse about u-bends and Maggie Thatcher, but I advised him it was dated. And his stuff about stop cocks and balls cocks. Well, I advised him to try LAD'S ONLY magazine, or PLUMBERS UNLIMITED.
We're both 56, known each other since childhood. He's my best mate, so I try to be kind, especially when he's feeling a bit down the plughole, at which juncture he writes a lot of stuff about, well, plugholes etc, etc.
Pete had been down the hole for quite a while, but then cheered up, telling me the tale of his troubles.
He met his wife Gloria when we were all at school together, and fell in love immediately. At this point he needed spectacles, but teenagers don't take to specs so he waited.
Good job too or he and Gloria might never had got together all those years ago. Trouble was, the future plumber's wife was, not to put a fine point on it, ugly. Not horrific, but very very plain, especially when her face was contrasted with her physique. She had, and has, a stunning figure, Marilyn Monroe and then some.
So when Peter eventually got his spectacles and copped onto the full picture, he was startled. But loving her so much, it didn't matter. They wed and had four very pretty kids (none of them plumbers...in later life one a psychologist, others a beautician, a painter and decorator, and a failed rock artist who took up charity work.
As the children one by one left home, Pete and his wife were left to their own devices They went out more. Trouble started when Pete's friends began pulling his plumber's leg about his wife's appearance.
'Strewth, she's cracker from the neck down,' was a typical remark.' But I bet you're glad when't lights go out. Still, you don't look at't mantelpiece when you're stokin't fire'.
Their wives would mutter behind Gloria's back,' She can't help bein' ugly, but she could 'ave stopped at 'ome'.
This began to get through to Peter, and Gloria. One night when they went out dancing he, and Gloria, overheard a whisper, 'Why'nt she wear a bag over 'er 'ead... what a figure, but oh that mug!'
Next time out, Gloria did what they suggested, much to everyone's amusement. This cheered up Jim, Gloria being so popular all of a sudden. He did not protest, though he was such a kind man at heart and should have done.
Gloria, who was in all senses of the phrase, no mug, thought a lot about this. One day she said to Pete,' I'm going away for a couple of days to see my sister. OK?'
Peter said fine, and kissed her goodbye. Went out alone. Felt alone and sorry for himself.
Would you believe it second night, he half fell in love with this complete stranger in the dance hall. Familiar, lovely figure, gorgeous fizzog. Pete's' heart melted.
'Can I 'ave this dance,' he asked nervously.
'Sure, what's a good lookin' guy like you doin' out on his own?' she replied.
'Long story,' muttered Pete.
He saw her again the following night, and after a few bevies really lost his marbles: 'Let's go back to my place,' he suggested, not without a pang of guilt. But so what!
The gorgeous lady agreed. Back home more drinkies, and then the 'unthinkable' for merry Pete. He kissed her full on. A rubbery kiss it was, but he was past caring, and they headed for the bedroom!
Tucked up Pete looked across to his date as she disrobed. God what a gorgeous figure. Mouth watered. With her back to Pete she dropped the lot, turned round ... and eased off the plastic face mask she was wearing.
It was Gloria. Gorgeous Glo', who had sought the services of a professional make-over artist to acquire the pull-on mask.
Pete glowed, groaned and pulled the duvet over his pink features.
Gloria came to his side.
'It's alright luv,' she whispered.' I know what you've been through. I forgive you. The fire's yours ... never mind about the mantelpiece'.
And he never did again, dancing proudly with his wife and snoggin' with her in the flicks, like they were teenagers again.
Know what, his mates and their wives saw a difference:' What a lovely couple,' they all agreed.
That's when Pete cheered up, and told me the tale. He's started writing poetry again, this time because he's happy.
His latest rendition began:'
She's only the wife of a plumber,
But she made such a jolly good mate'.
Mmm. Promising.
End end end

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