Short story from Robert Thomas

A Hammer, A Drill, and a Black Lace Bra
Robert S. Thomas

I hired Jack from an ad for a handyman in the local
newspaper. The ad indicated that he had experience in
carpentry, plumbing and electronics. I only needed his
carpentry skills to repair a side yard wooden fence that had
rotted over time, leaving gaps at the bottom where the old
redwood boards were attached to the frame. Lately, local
skunks and raccoons were using the openings as a passage
to my ever-running backyard water fountain. Additionally, the
pesky critters dug holes in my garden rooting for various
grubs and other ground dwelling creatures. I decided it was
time to lock them out.

Jack was a handsome man in his late twenties or early
thirties with a slightly receding hairline. He had a brawny
muscular physic, suggesting that he often worked out with
weights at a gym. He wore a sleeveless t-shirt, exposing his
massive triceps and biceps, which rippled in tandem with his
use of tools while he worked. He seemed the epitome of a
well testosteroned male.

Jack was extremely adept with his tools. He had a stainless
steel hammer with a black rubber handle, which he used to
drive three-penny nails into the wood. His strength was
obvious by the way he was able to pound the large metal
pins into the boards with only three strokes of his arm.
He was equally competent with his use of the yellow
cordless drill. Without looking, he reached down to the
leather pouch attached to his belt, grasped a single long
screw, and blindly placed the Phillips screw head onto the drill bit.

Once the screw was in place, he pointed the drill at
the wood, using his other hand to guide the screw to the spot
where he was going to place it. With a quick thrust of his
arm the screw quickly sunk to the hilt. There was no
hesitation in his work. The alternation of hammer and drill
created a syncopated rhythm of whack, whack, whack whirr,
as he worked his way along the two by four fence frame
Jack completed his job just as dusk began to descend over
the horizon. Once finished, he held a tool in one hand,
pulled a rag from his back pocket, dripped a slight amount of
oil onto it, and began to wipe down his tools, lest they begin
to rust from the sweat of his hands. As if they were rare old
objects, he gently placed his tools into a gray metal toolbox,
and locked the lid. Holding the box in one hand, he wiped
his brow with his forearm, and turned to admire his work for
a minute or two before coming to my door to collect his fee.
I thanked him for his work, and paid him what was due. Jack
then looked at his watch, turned and quickly strode to his
van parked in front of the house. He placed his toolbox in
the back of the van, waved back at me, entered the cab, and
drove off.

Jack lived in the upper story apartment of a converted
Victorian row house not far from the Castro district in San
Francisco. The exterior was covered in contrasting pastel
colors, similar to many old Victorians in the city. His
apartment was almost overly tidy, with muted colored walls
and furnishings in the style of late Pottery Barn. Being a
movie buff, several photos of movie stars hung on the walls
of his living room, along with posters of musicals he had
attended at The Golden Gate, The Orpheum and San
Francisco Playhouse over the years.

Once inside, Jack rushed to his bedroom and quickly
disrobed, placing his dirty sweat soaked clothes into a
hamper in his closet. He headed for the shower, where he
relaxed in the heat of the hot spray as it washed over is
muscular shoulders and arms. He soaped up a good lather
and cleaned his entire body. From the shallow shelf
attached to the shower wall, he grabbed a water resistant
razor and began shearing the short stubble of dark black
chest hair that had grown over the course of a day or two.
Next he shaved his face and legs. Jack hated the fact that
he was so hairy. He often mused that his genetic
endowment derived from some clan of silverback gorillas
somewhere in the Congo, and not the Southern Italian
ancestry of his true family.

Once dried off, he went back to his bedroom, and sat at a
mirrored vanity. He stared into the mirror, examining his
face, giving particular attention to his nostrils and ears. He
took a pair of tweezers and began nipping out a number of
errant hairs. Next, he spritzed a bit of lotion on his fingers,
and gently daubed the luxurious scent on his face, taking a
moment to delight in the wonderful sweet odor of the product.
Jack’s wardrobe was sated with various articles of clothing.
He was indeed a clothes junkie and rarely left a boutique or
haberdashery without something new. However, tonight was
special, and he wanted to make an overwhelming
impression. He shifted through various items in his closet,
pulling several out, closely examining each of them. Not
good enough, he thought, as he replaced them back on the

Finally, he eyed a long slinky red low cut number, thinking,
This is just what the doctor ordered, and those new tall black
patent leather stiletto heels would go perfectly with this.

Next, he pulled out a dresser drawer and flipped through a
number of frilly bras, choosing a beautiful black lacy uplifting
number that would offer him the best of cleavage. Cleavage
was all-important in his genre of entertainment. Without it
the illusion never quite becomes real. He pulled the bra
tightly against his chest, and shifted the cups from side to
side, pushing his chest skin together in the middle to form a
deep narrow slit.

Jack went back to the vanity to check himself out. Pleased
with the effect, he began to finish up on his special look;
applying cerise lipstick, pale pancake makeup, extra long
eyelashes, and an ash-blonde shoulder length wig. He
slipped into his seductive red dress, pulled on his pumps,
and grabbed a black feather boa. He headed for the door,
casually flipping the end of the boa out and over his

He smiled, and said to himself as he walked out
the door and down the long flight of steps, Tonight,
Jacqueline, you’re going to give those queens the best
damned version of “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” they
ever heard

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  1. Pingback: Synchronized Chaos June 2021: Observer and Observed | SYNCHRONIZED CHAOS

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