No Fool: An Undercover Mission
Ann Raina Homepage
Copyright of all excerpts, blurbs and promotional texts by Ann Raina
He tried to shake his head, but bumped the flashlight against the sides. No good. If he didn‘t see a thing, he wouldn’t get this done. He tried again. This time his fingers touched something, a part of the plastic that held the construction in place. With two fingers, he got a hold of it and pulled with as much strength as he could provide within the small space. The fragment came loose, but before he could draw back, the cuff of his overall became entangled. The ventilator motor whined, stuck again. His fingers bled. He dropped the plastic and pulled more forcefully. Instead of getting free, the cloth was hooked up even more. He sweated profusely in the moist air and tried to keep his balance on the small bench, which cracked under his weight.
“Are you all right, Matthew?”
Michael blinked when sweat got in his eyes. There has to be a way to get free of the metal ripping my sleeve! He took out the flashlight again. “I’m fine, thanks. Just…stuck.” His smile was forced. Hecould see the blades of the ventilator move inch by inch, taking the sleeve with them. He had no leeway to maneuver. The overall was tight and his arm stretched out. He opened the long zipper to pull his right arm out of the sleeve. It worked slowly, but it worked. Now the ventilator blades turned faster, screeching as the cloth wound around the inner parts. Michael cursed again when the sleeve was sucked in even more. He shed the other sleeve, too, to have both hands free. “Could you turn off the ventilator, please?”
Mrs. Halsworth watched him as if sitting front row in the stadium while her favorite football team played for the Superbowl. “Sorry, young man, but my legs are weak and I won’t make it this far without stumbling.”
The apologetic smile was thwarted by the joyous glee in her eyes. Michael understood. Great! I try to repair this damn thing and she enjoys the show! He grunted and tried to reach for his tool case, but with the sleeve caught, his only chance was to shed the rest of the overall.
And he did.
He was not mistaken to hear a girlie giggle behind him when he—almost acrobatically—got out of the boots and overall. The ventilator hummed louder as it worked on turning with the cloth caught in between, pulling in more as it became loose. In boxers and socks, Michael went for the switch and turned the ventilator off. He did not glance at the lady on the chair for he was not sure what he would say if she burst into laughter. He took a jackknife from the case and cut the entangled sleeve to unwrap it piece by piece. Finished, there was not much left of it. He cleaned the ventilator, checked for other damages and turned it on again. It hummed and turned and sucked in air as it should. Michael put on the rest of his overall and boots, then closed the lid.
“You are indeed a very apt handyman.”