“Peter Smith and the Gas Man” published in Black Mirror Magazine
Peter Smith and the Gas Man
There was a knock on the door. Peter Smith remembered hearing a truck approach and then stop. He looked out the window. There they were. A truck, and a man on the porch wearing a jacket with a patch with the same logo as the truck. Peter Smith put two and two together and got four. Peter Smith opened the door.
Peter Smith said. “I know what you are and why you’re here.”
“Oh,” the gas man said, “you must have received our postcard.”
“Oh,” Peter Smith said, “you think I read it on a postcard?”
“Sir,” the gas man said, “I need to change your meter.”
“It’s going to take a while …” Peter Smith said to no one in particular, “… to get that out of my head.”
“Your gas will be off for approximately…” said the gas man looking, for no apparent reason, at his wristwatch, “… seven minutes. Don’t try to use the stove.”
“Don’t worry,” Peter Smith said, “I’m not even hungry.”
The gas man said, “When I’m through, would you like me to relight the pilot lights, or would you rather do it yourself?”
“Right,” Peter Smith said, “like that’s even humanly possible.”
Nothing was said during the igniting of the pilot light on the stove. The gas man went down to the basement. Peter Smith got his ax just to be funny.
The gas man said, “Sir, could you come down here a minute?” But louder.
Peter Smith went down to the basement.
The gas man held a yellow wand. When he moved it closer to a gas pipe there was a clicking sound that grew louder and got faster.
The gas man said, “Do you know that I’m doing?”
“No,” Peter Smith said. “Do you?”
“You have a gas leak,” the gas man said. “It is dangerous and potentially life-threatening. You’re lucky I came down here.”
Peter Smith said, “Well, you’re not.” And killed the gas man with his ax.
There was still the problem of the gas leak. Peter Smith could call a plumber. He had a phone and money. But what would happen when the plumber went down to the basement and found the dead gas man? Peter Smith would then have to kill the plumber, which was fine, but there would still be the gas leak.
Peter Smith bought a canary to keep himself safe while deciding what to do.
“…I need to change your meter … I need to change your meter …”