I persuade him to slip out of his jeans... what a sight

Welcome to the Evening Echo’s annual feature — Summer Soap. Launched last year, Summer Soap is a daily fictional serial run over 12 parts, which begins today and runs each day in the Echo for a fortnight. Called Personal Services, this story was written by Sue Dukes, of Skibbereen, and is one of two soaps chosen from work submitted by students of the MA in Creative Writing Programme at UCC. In this first chapter, we meet the intriguing main character.
I persuade him to slip out of his jeans... what a sight

Episode 1

THE door opens. Call me old-fashioned, but I just love the sound of that jangle, it takes me back to my childhood.

The net curtains flutter and fall as the door wafts closed. There’s a young fella standing just inside the door, looking as if he’s going to bolt.

“I’ve never done this afore,” he mutters.

“Well, we all gotta start somewhere, love.”

“How does this work?”

“Tell me what you want. I can do anything you like as long as it doesn’t cause harm.”

“It’s just that I got this bad back, so I gotta be careful.”

“Well, I’m not a doctor, but I’ll put on a white coat if it lights your fires.”

“It were the doc that told me to come to you. He said you’d help loosen me up a bit, like.”

“That’s what I do best, love.”

I persuade him to slip out of his jeans, oh, and what a sight for sore eyes. I don’t mind doing the old ones, sure I don’t, we all get there, but to have my hands on a nice young butt now and again... I’m only human.

“See, I do gardening and tree surgery,” he says, once I have him stretched out.

“Do you, dear?” I rub a bit, get him warm. Now he’s relaxing.

“I started out clearing up the debris, and before you know it, the boss has me hanging in ropes with a chain-saw in my hand. Ow, Jaysus.”

“Sorry. It was the hanging-in-ropes image. Is that OK?”

“Yeah, feels great. You’re strong for a woman.”

“That’s why my clients keep bouncing back, love. Go on.”

“Anyways, the work gets scary after a while, up the cherry picker…”

I chuckle. “Is that a euphemism?”

“Uh? It’s kind of a one man crane, a raised access platform. Gets me places I can’t reach otherwise.”

“H’m, I could do with one of those critters.”

“Anyways, I’m in the basket, leaning out over this wire, trying to cut back this tree so as it doesn’t bring the feckin’ electricity down all over Mardyke, when this bloke comes out the flats and asks what the feck I’m doing. Wasn’t it fecking obvious? Catching birds, I says. Oh, funny guy, he says, I’m going to call the City. Do, I says. I work for the City, see, keeping the lines clear. But as I’m leaning over, something goes snick in me back, like. Oh, Jaysus.”

“I’m not hurting you, am I?”

“That hit the spot, is all.”

So I see. Now, I’m not a prude by any means. In my profession you truly can’t be, but it’s hard to keep the mind on the job, so to speak when the client is, ah, distracted.

I work away.

He finally gives a long sigh of satisfaction. “All done,” I say.

He clambers to his feet, does a few bends and stretches, then yawns widely. With pleasure, I hope, not boredom. ‘Will you be back for more?’

“Bet your bottom dollar.” He zips up, shrugs into a hoodie which bears the legend ‘I’m up for it if you are’, and gives me the sexiest smile I’ve seen in a long while. He fishes in his pocket, slaps some notes into my palm, then looks up sharply. “Hey, you’re not a woman at all, are you?”

I wink. “I won’t tell if you don’t.”

He flushes bright red and the door jangles wildly as he barges past old Jim, who is just at the moment trying to get in.

“Up to yer old tricks, Madam?” Jim asks.

In Episode 2 tomorrow: "I see my tattoo every night, 'De Oppresso Liber' it says..."

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