We were working at an older home in an established neighborhood. The front and back yards were choked with dense overgrowth, and the tall trees cast the entire home in a cool, refreshing shade.
Crew Leader Carl was stomping around the front yard, crunching through the shrubbery with his boots.
“The homeowners called and said there was a break somewhere,” he said. “Apparently, they could see a geyser shooting skyward when the drip system was on. We’ll need to find it and dig it up.”
I looked at Francisco. “That means I’m going to have to dig it up. I’ve been working here long enough to know how this works.”
Carl crunched around some more, kicking aside the undergrowth.
“Here it is!” he called. “A big hole. You can tell where the water’s shooting up from underneath.”
He pointed at me. “Peter, grab a shovel and come dig this thing up.”
I threw my hands in the air. “How come whenever a pipe or a sprinkler’s broken, I’m the one who has to dig it up?”
“Because I said so,” Carl said. “Now grab a shovel get your effing ass over here!”
So I grabbed a shovel and got my effing ass over there. The ground was caved in around the break, like an antlion trap, and the soil was saturated. I dug down to the pipe while Carl stood there and watched, smoking a cigarette.
“That’s good,” he said, when I’d exposed the pipe a few feet on both sides. “Now Francisco, get a saw, a coupler and the PVC glue, and we’ll patch this thing up.”
Francisco went to the truck to get the materials. He returned and sawed through the broken pipe, then attached the two ends with a coupler.
He glued it in, then looked up at Carl. “It’s OK?”
“Yeah,” Carl said, nodding. “It’s OK. It looks good from my house.”
“Huh,” I said, leaning on my shovel and grinning. “I’m surprised you can see anything from your house. Didn’t they just build a seven-foot retaining wall around the trailer park?”
Carl glared, his upper lip curling. “And you wonder why you’re the one who always has to dig.”