Letter to a friend about to make a terrible mistake

Dear [xxx],

You are about to make a terrible mistake.

I have warned you about the demons of home repair, those minor spirits encountered in plastering a hole in the wall or hanging a door, but in tampering with a sprinkler system you will be pit against demigods you must not face—fierce and angry gods of mythical power so prone to wrath that even those priests endowed with a great and fearless prowess do not trifle easily with these energies.

You will recall Lori’s father, considered by some a virtuoso wizard of sorts—a man who dances with the spirits of home repair in a tarantella that few would attempt. A master, Sir, a true master. Yet he, even he, was defeated by our sprinkler system. The tale is not pretty. We dug deep—yea even to the bowels of the earth—to expose the secret connections to our sprinkler system. We found the very heart of the beast where liquid power surges from the water-main into a maze of arterial configurations of pale white pvc pipe, expertly laid in wildly diverging paths of branching joints and puzzling turns. Here he began his work. He initiated his labor by muttering strange incantations in secret, scarcely audible whispers that sounded harsh and abusive to my untrained ears, yet no doubt were used to cajole or threaten the demigods of these works. The tools he used where seethed in secret powers: pipe cutters, joiners, plumber’s tape and strange purple alchemical concoctions that stained our hands and sealed together their object with an unbreakable bond. Dark magic here, Sir. Dark magic indeed.

Confident in his efforts, we tested it and it seemed to work. Seemed. These deities I speak of are trickster gods who toss one about like a cat does a mouse or an orca does a hapless seal. Just when you think they are vanquished—just as you think they are defeated and your lawn will once again enjoy the slaking moisture of fresh water, they will turn on you. And so it was. Lori’s father’s work had been in vain and the tale-tale leak of priceless water came bubbling to the surface in laughing mockery of his pains. You could hear the laughter of these demigods in the sputtering and choked intermitted spurt from the sprinkler heads when the water was turned on. And I fear their laughter was not pleasant to hear.

Once again we were forced to delve into the earth like dwarves after precious mithrill in ancient days, removing drifting stones that rose uncannily from the ground like roiling carp to the surface of a mossy pond on a dark winter’s day. We struck shovel to ground, pick-ax to earth, pry bar to rock—body breaking bloody work that left my badgered sons bathing in biting bitter anger and myself in a bilious blind rage of despair and alliteration. In the end we exposed the cancerous plumbing but were unable to conjure spells to fix it. The gods were too powerful and their uncaring damage too great. There was naught to do but call upon more powerful masters of the dark unholy arts of sprinkler repair. And so it was that sacrifices were made (in this case the exorcist demanded our burning $250, a bargain offering, as most practitioners were demanding their supplicants to incinerate $750 with a two day waiting list). It takes powerful spells, sir, to face these terrifying demigods, but at last the job was done. The gods of wrath were finally defeated and as of yet we look to live in peace and harmony.

So be warned, my friend. Offer sacrifices early and ally yourself with sorcerers of renown from the very beginning or much sorrow will be spilled on the ground in lthe form of eaking water and dripping sweat. But why do I try and dissuade you? Like a hobbit blundering into the cave of a dragon, I have no doubt that you will try and tackle these insidious demigods yourself. They will be amused and wink at your efforts, leading you along, convincing you that you are in control—maybe even waiting weeks before unleashing their fury. But know this: you are on your own. When news of your blasting reaches me, I will tell all that will listen that I, yes I, tried to warn you, and that I tried to pry you away from what fates awaited. They are demigods Sir. Fear them! Fear them! Run while you can for they are terrible and their wrath knows no bounds. Fool! Do you think that because you built a shed and defeated a few of the lesser demons home repair you are ready to face the Lords of the Underworld? These are deities of frightening mien and relentless terror! They are of dreadful countenance! Almost gods of otherworldly and uncanny reputation! Can you not feel the heat of their wicked breath upon your sunburned neck!

But do what you will. My hands are clean.

Bookmark Letter to a friend about to make a terrible mistake


  1. Sounds like your friend is not the only one to make this mistake:

  2. I have a sprinkler system and hoses with toys on their ends…the toys are better.

  3. This is brilliant. Thanks, Steve. Beware the sprinkler demons indeed, but your warning comes too late for my condo board and our flooded garage last year.

    Wherefore, the days will come that no flesh shall be safe upon the waters.

  4. Mark B. says:

    Serves you right for growing grass!

  5. Those demons have always been tame for me. More fear the tile demons, those draw blood.

  6. Mark Brown says:

    Good one, Steve. But I think I see where the problem is.

    He initiated his labor by muttering strange incantations in secret, scarcely audible whispers….

    If you ever have to do this again, don’t whisper. This kind of demon cometh not out except with much loud and vigorous cursing.

    Just be glad this was outside your house. Last week I had the pleasure of dealing with a broken pipe under the kitchen sink. French was spoken.

  7. maybe it’s a liquid thing because I felt similar pain trying to potty train my twins.

  8. It’s the wallpaper gods at our house. Curses must be yelled and sharp things must be thrown for them to understand.

  9. Nameless says:

    Crown molding can test the strength of a marriage.

  10. Come forth from the dry and barren places. Flee from the lands of irrigation and the City of the Saints. Come out of her, my people, and get thee to the land of many waters where drought hath no name, and where the lush grasses grow in the face of every scythe and harrow known to man. Yea, where the green things mock Round-Up, and the mosses cover the trees and the driveways and the rocks and the paths and sides of the houses and all things which are not scrubbed or painted or paved. Here, by Cumorah’s Hill do mushrooms thrive and invade the very driveways; and algae, all the hidden places.

    What is this thing called “sprinklers,” and how killest thou the pernicious things which grow (and grow, and . . . grow)?


  11. Awesome.

  12. NJensen says:

    Your syntax reminds me so much of reading the primary sources for my Crusades class. Well done, Sirrah! Well done.

  13. I have chosen to face the demons of Volvoese, and the ever elusive “warm start” demon in particular. He resideth not in the near regions of Fuel Regulatorus, but perhaps in the nether regions of the High Pumps, or even in the farthest borders of the Tanks of Fury, where the low pressure dominates and hidden flames hide. Much Swedish is being spoken, but no demons exorcised, as of yet.

    Wise are those who consult with greater Wizards and Druids of arcane and bitter technologies. The costs to the coffers of the kingdom are great, but the assured knowledge and efficient dispatch of demons is much admired.

%d bloggers like this: