I swear to God, sometimes its like blood from a stone from these punters.

 I swear to God, sometimes its like blood from a stone from these punters.

"You are clearly making this up as you go a long" he goes.

To be fair, I actually amn't. This guy has serious attitude though. He's a surgeon of something or other, and couldn't help telling me that fact about ten times. All he's done since I got here is try to tie me up in knots and get me to work for peanuts. I'm getting a sinking feeling that I'm not going to see any money from this job.

"Listen Duncan, thermal bridging is an actual thing. There's a gap in your insulation between the walls and floor just here. Could be that you got some debris in there or it wasn't done correctly in the first place. Either way that why the room is cold and your electricity bills are sky high. Google it if you want to."

I'm down in Dalkey. I swear to God, sometimes it’s like blood from a stone from these punters. Always suspicious and I wouldn't mind but he has one of those Mercedes jeeps in the driveway that's big enough for fossets circus to operate out of. Elephants and all.

"Well, I'm going to have to get a second opinion. I really thought a bit of sealant would do the trick and I have a cousin that I can ask."

I bail. He'll have a cold Christmas at this rate. His wife - who by the way is not half bad and definitely keen - can knit him a wooly jumper for all I care now. Three hours, five missed calls from potential customers and not a dime to show for it.

I'm on the road back when I get a call from Jimmy.

"Joe ye big eejit" he basically shouts down the phone. "What's the craic?"

Never been subtle that chap. He's an electrician I met when I was doing my apprenticeship. A good skin and probably the most enthusiastic tradesman I ever met.

"All good kemosabe. What's shaking?”

"I've got a job I need a hand on" he goes. "It’s in one of those private hospitals. Need to install a shit load of LED lights and I need some clown the hold the ladder. Three hundred notes a day for about 3 days. You up for it?”


We're in the Hospital and about half way through the job. We could definitely have been quicker but, in fairness to us with all the nurses around it’s a wonder we've gotten anything done at all. I've managed to get three numbers and just need to work out where the hell the M1 pub is to meet one of them later. All Google maps is showing up is a road.

I'm holding the ladder for Jimmy when I see him striding down the corridor towards me. "So Mr. Phillips “he goes,” what's the diagnosis?" It's the surgeon of something or other and he has a flock of interns or something around him clinging on to his every word. And he's obviously absolutely loving it."

"Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy?" murmurs back Phillips after a pause of about 25 meters of track.

"Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy? Nonsense "he basically shouts as they turn the corner and head into a patients room. He hasn't seen me and but I still hear him in the room mouthing off as I hold the ladder.

About 30 second pass before I hear the screaming. Followed closely by some of the intern’s stampeding back up the corridor in obvious distress. Phillips is last and decorated with a few splatters of blood.

"What's up I go" kind of obstructing him in full flight.

"Ehh, we have a bleeder in there. One of his wounds just erupted and we've got to get the trauma team. I've got to go, please let me go".

Now I've never minded a bit of the gory stuff, so as yer man pegs it up the corridor I decide to get a closer look. I let go of the ladder - to be honest I don't think Jimmy even noticed I was there anyway. Like I said, loves his job.

I peep my head around the corner of the door way and get the shock of my life. The surgeon fella is positioned cross legged on top of a male patient of pretty significant proportions. It's all he can do to get his legs either side of his belly. He hasn't seen me yet but he's obviously pretty distressed. He's got his full weight on the wound and is definitely struggling to stay on top.

Just then he shouts out for help and at the same time he turns to face me. I can't help it. It's wrong, I know. As the flicker of recognition registers on his mug, I drop the line.

"A bit of sealant maybe?"

The Secret Tradesman

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