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"If my guess is right, Harvey could pump her septic again, and we could get the same phone call from Mrs. Tieger in another five months. Wouldn't it be worth it to us to pay Mrs. Tieger a visit and make sure that her problem couldn't be solved now instead of later?" asked Adam. Mike smiled. "Anything else?" asked Adam, filing away some papers in a tall, gray metal cabinet that stood solemnly in the left corner of the office.

"Just a few customers... and, oh! before I forget, Jerome called a half hour ago. One of the residents flushed a hair brush down the toilet," said Mike.

"Do they know how long the hair brush has been there?" asked Adam, in an urgent voice.

"Jerome didn't say," shrugged Mike. "He only said to come before he has to leave for the airport at noon."

"Mike, you should have paged me," said Adam, firmly.

"It didn't sound like an emergency."

"If the hair brush has been there for very long, the toilet will back up," explained Adam. "Close up the store and put out the sign. We'll first go take care of the hair brush, and then Mrs. Tieger."

It was eleven thirty-five in the morning when the Clark Plumbing Service and Supply van pulled up in front of Mullen-Overholt Nursing Home. Jerome was toting a brown suitcase when he met Adam and Mike at the door.

"It's the bathroom in Room 2. I've got a plane to catch!" Jerome shouted over his shoulder as he rushed out the door. Leticia Ross, the nursing assistant for Room 2, tried to explain the situation as they walked down the hallway.

"The hair brush usually sits on the toilet tank lid, along with some other things," said Leticia. "This morning, when I went to go get it, it wasn't there. One of the residents told me this morning that Laura flushed it down the toilet yesterday afternoon because it pulled her hair, or something. It doesn't make any sense, but when they get this old, few things do," observed Leticia.

"Well, let's go see the damage," sighed Adam. Mrs. Ruth Clark was sitting up, awake and alert, reading her Bible when Adam and Mike came through the door.

"Hello!" she exclaimed happily, her arms reaching out for a hug.

"Sorry, Mom. I'm kind of dirty," apologized Adam, referring to his smudged blue coveralls.

"We're here on business, Grandma," explained Mike, as he hugged her.

"Oh?" replied Ruth. She watched as they made their way to the bathroom and inspected the toilet.

"A classic example of a backed-up toilet," said Adam, in his teacher voice, for Mike was under his apprenticeship. "The hair brush, by itself, was not a problem. But when you flush solids or toilet paper, while the brush is still jammed in there, it has a tendency to get caught. The more you flush, the more obstructed it becomes. Look, even the water won't go down."

"What do we do?" asked Mike.

"Think it through. What would you suggest?" asked Adam. Mike stood there for a moment, reasoning the problem through.

"Well?" asked Adam.
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