On the way home, Margot tells her husband they have a leak in the water heater in the basement. He says he will take a look at it. It was back when men did that too, rather than just calling a plumber.
Margot is cooking dinner when her husband comes up from the basement. She asks if he got it fixed, and he says, “No, it’s too dark down there to see what’s wrong. I guess you’ll have to call a plumber.” So what he really needs isn’t a plumber, it’s an electrician. Or a flashlight. I take it back — this guy is not the handiest of men.
He also tells her to get an estimate, “and if it’s more that $10, he can forget it.” I got nothin’. That’s just mind-boggling.
The next morning, the doorbell rings. Just like June Cleaver, she already has her pearls on by 9:30 am. She looks out the window and sees the truck for Mike Staley Plumbing & Heating. She opens the door and somehow seems surprised that her visitor is the plumber . . . who she called . . . and whose truck she just saw.
He makes way too much small talk with Margot, all smiles and charm. He is a little too familiar, guessing her husband’s salary and calling a neighbor by her first name. After a few minutes in the basement, he tells Margot that he has to go upstairs to shut off the water in the bathroom to equalize the pressure, “that’s the trouble with the Stetson Valve, otherwise, they’re very good.” I have a feeling he might just as well said he needed to get a Langstrom 7″ Gangly Wrench and Margot and I would both have been just as clueless.
She finds him admiring some artwork in the bedroom over the bed. He compliments her taste on furniture, bedspreads, everything. She is creeped out by this guy. He picks up her nightie off a chair and compliments that too.
He comes back downstairs and after admiring the kitchen and house, he gives her an estimate of $500. Extrapolating from the estimated $10 plumber’s bill, that would be $12 million in today’s dollars. He explains that the exorbitant estimate is for him to keep his trap shut. If people heard him talking about her bedroom, the artwork over the bed, the fancy bedspread, the pink negligee, they might get the wrong idea.
He also points out that his truck has been outside her house for two hours just to give an estimate for a leaky valve — what must the neighbors think? That he’s getting paid by the hour, for one thing.
When he returns for the money, Margot has assembled all the housewives of whatever county this is. He has blackmailed all of them and now they want their revenge. He has spent all their money, so they start lining up jobs he can do to work off the debt, or they will call the police. He whines, “but that’s blackm . . . .”.
Luckily for him, he is a pretty good looking guy, so some of these dames might ask him to lay some pipe. Another corpse-less episode, but a fun story with good performances.
- AHP Deathwatch: Coupla live ones.
- Title Analysis: The Deadly? Hunh? There are no deaths or even any threats of violence.