by Elin Gregory
A terrifying personal change plus a family bereavement might have been bearable, but the break up of a relationship as well is just too much for handyman Darren Murchison to take. Everywhere needs someone who can fix pipes and fit lights, right? So he ups stakes and moves to a quiet valley in rural Wales.
With work to do, a house to improve and a hunky farmer to lust after, things are looking up! In sheep country just how much trouble can a gay, English, werewolf plumber get into?
10,000 words / 38 pages
Publication 1 February 2018
Gary snickered. “You said ‘bollocks’,” he explained when I glared at him.
“Oh for Pete’s sake, grow up.” I stabbed a finger towards the placid brown and white shapes grazing opposite my new kitchen window. “I said ‘bullocks’. It’s another word for cows. Boy cows.”
“You’re going to fit right into this isolated farming community, aren’t you?” Gary turned on his heel, surveying my new home and the surrounding countryside with a baffled eye. “Rather you than me, but I hope you’ll be happy here.”
“I don’t see why not. There isn’t another plumber for twenty miles.” I grinned. “I’ll be fulfilling a need.”
“And what about the other thing?”
“Which thing?” I asked, knowing what was coming and looking forward to it.
Gary made his hands into claws, rolled his eyes and lolled his tongue like a zombie beagle.
Once I’d finished laughing at him, I replied, “Not a whiff. This place is ideal. Over the garden wall there’s ten thousand acres of bugger all apart from Forestry Commission larch, bracken, and sheep. The nearest pack is based in Welshpool.”
Gary nodded, his expression both sympathetic and relieved. He had seen me through a lot of scary stuff, both as a staunch defender and a total pain in the arse once I was strong enough again to be teased. Coming out to him had been hard but was a piece of cake in comparison with the conversation that had begun, “You know how it was a full moon last night?”
“I’m going to miss you,” I said.
“Damn right you are. Personally I think you’re crazy. For a start you’re English and we all know how well that goes down ’round here. Then there’s the gay thing. Who’s going to fulfil your needs?”
“I asked the estate agent. There’s a pub in Barmouth and one in Welshpool and Shrewsbury’s not that far. I’ll manage.”
“Well, if you’re sure there’s a crying need locally for gay, English, werewolf plumbers … ” He paused and looked at the house in all its fixer-upper glory. “If it doesn’t work out, like if they get after you for sheep worrying or something, you can always come back, you know.”
“No, I can’t.” I said that a bit more sharply than I’d intended. “Oh, not you and the lads. I loved working with you. But now Gran’s gone and, well, the other thing – with the pack. I never fitted in. Look, I drive a van – it’s got my name on the side in nice big letters: ‘Darren Murchison, Plumber & Electrician. Bathroom & Kitchen Fitter. No job too small.’ I like beer and rugby and putting my feet up. And they were Charles and country estates, and Ivo and something in the City, and Bentleys, and lunch at the Dorchester, and evenings at a dungeon club.” And full moons in Charles’s deer park, eating Bambi, though I’d never admitted that to Gary.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. We all knew you were out of your depth.” Gary punched me in the shoulder. “That bloody Martin giving you the run-around. He drove a Porsche, didn’t he? MAR 10 on the plates. Wanker.”
“Bloody Martin,” I agreed, but there was a tone in Gary’s voice that would have made me prick my ears had they been the right shape. “Gary, no. You really don’t want to mess around with that lot.”
“Course not,” Gary said. “I wouldn’t be messing around. Slipping some fresh whitebait into an air intake isn’t messing around. He probably wouldn’t notice for a day or two. Not until they began to rot.”
We paused to savour the thought of it. Martin would be livid, and his temper had been spectacular even on days when he wasn’t fanged and clawed and covered in hair. The only thing more spectacular than his temper was his libido and even that had got wearing after a time.
“Stop thinking about him,” Gary said. “Think about unpacking. Oh jeez, is that the time?”