THE ALTERNATIVE ELECTRICIAN • by Jonathan Pinnock

The first time I saw Diz he was walking up my garden path. I waited for the knock on the door but it never came. So after five minutes of waiting I opened it and saw him standing there, apparently deep in thought and holding up a crystal attached to a string. I put him at some time in his mid fifties, with long hair tied in a ponytail. His hands were covered in rings, as were his ears.

“Hello?” I said.

“Sssh,” said Diz, holding up a hand, but otherwise ignoring me.

“I … sorry,” I said, stopping myself from interfering in what was clearly an important process. We stood there for a few more minutes, making an odd little tableau, with me wishing that I’d put on something warm before venturing out into the open.

Eventually, he nodded to himself, flicked the string upwards, caught the crystal and put it in his pocket. Turning to me, he smiled and held out his hand. A vague scent of weed wafted from him when he opened his mouth.

“Diz,” he said. “I believe you have an electrical problem?” He handed me his card, which read:

Do your chakras need re-wiring?
Call Diz Disney
The Alternative Electrician
No job too small, no karma too bad

“Yes, that’s right,” I said. “Come in.”

I explained about the problems I’d been having. Constant power failures, bulbs blowing all the time.

“Doesn’t surprise me in the least,” said Diz, examining one of the sockets. “Look at this. Right slap bang opposite that one over there. Both of them completely uncovered. Wouldn’t surprise me if you’ve got electron diffusion happening right in the middle of the room.”

“Is that bad?” I said.

He ignored me.  “You see, the thing is, no-one knows anything about electrons. They’re one of the great mysteries of the universe.”

“Really?” I said. “But don’t scientists – ”

It was obvious I’d said the wrong thing. “Scientists?” said Diz, shaking his head. “Don’t you go believing that science has all the answers, my friend. Watch this.” He took out a pencil from his pocket and dropped it on the floor. “What happened then?” he said.

“Um… you dropped your pencil?”

“Yes, but why did it fall to the floor?”

“Gravity?”

“That’s what they’d like you to think.” Diz tapped his nose. “But they don’t really have a clue. No-one does.”

“Right.” This was fascinating. I suddenly wished I could spend a lot more time with Diz. I felt I could learn so much from him. But he charged by the hour and I needed to get my electrics fixed. “So is the… electron… diff… thing causing the problems with my power going out?”

“Y’see, the thing is,” said Diz, oblivious to my question, “If you get your head in the right place and leave behind your preconceived Western so-called civilised notions of how the world works, you’ll realise that it’s a lot more complicated than people think. Ooh. I think I’m picking up an aura. Look at the colours of those electrons flowing out of that socket over there, next to the kettle. Beautiful.”

I looked hard and for a moment I thought I could see something. “Pink?” I said.

“Pinkish. Hints of violet where it meets the stream from this side. Still, all very nice, but it’s not going to get your tumble dryer spinning, is it? I’m afraid this socket’s going to have to go.”

“But that’s the one I use for my toaster.”

He shrugged. “Sorry, mate. Do you want me to fix your electrics or not?”

***

A couple of hours later he had finished. Half the sockets in the house were now blanked off. He said it was the worst case of electrical misalignment he’d ever seen, and it was no wonder I’d been having such problems. He drew up a bill and I was just about to pay when he glanced up at the wall above the front door.

“What’s that?” he said.

“I think it’s the fuse box or something,” I said. It had been put there by the previous electrician. I hadn’t liked him.

“Well, that’s got to go. Do you know who makes them? The military-industrial complex, that’s who. That box up there,” he said, jabbing a finger at it, “is pure evil, mate.”

“But the bloke who put it there said something about it being a legal requirement.”

Diz shook his head at me. “Not under Natural Law, my friend. That box up there is an abomination against nature. And it’s got to go.”

He charged me extra for “disposal of an infernal device”, but I think it was worth it in the end. I haven’t had any problems with the power going off since then, anyway. And I’m so glad to have met Diz, because without him I would never have learnt to see the colours of the electrons. I could spend hours watching them fizzing out of the sockets, like a great sparkling rainbow.


Jonathan Pinnock has written all sorts of stuff and has been published all over the place, including the BBC. His novel Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens was published by Proxima in September 2011 and was followed in November 2012 by his Salt short story collection Dot Dash. He blogs at www.jonathanpinnock.com and tweets as @jonpinnock.


This story is sponsored by
Adamar, book one of The Hennion Chronicles — Adamar and his friends race to save an alien world, humanity’s future and the woman he loves. They must unlock a secret from the dawn of creation, now used by an emperor to enslave his people, so they can stop his sadistic rule and open a portal to home.


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Every Day Fiction

  • A classic Jonathan Pinnock story, and that, for the benefit of the sadly uninitiated, means weird (with a capital wuh). Great stuff Jon. Welcome back to EDF. BTW, it’s such a shame I didn’t get to meet Diz when I was still in the business of electrickery. I could have saved people so much trouble employing Natural Law instead of the IEE Regulations. It’s so obvious once you think about it: remove the safety devices and you do away with all those annoying disruptions caused by dodgy wiring. Must get myself some of that stuff that helps you see the electrons, too. Excellent story… Just one thing, EDF peeps, I’m disappointed to see there’s no star rating gizmo, nor any FB ‘like’ link. Still in the pipeline of the new hosting arrangement, perhaps?

  • K.C. Ball

    Nice, Jon. Might I call it scintillating? 🙂

  • Wait, I think I know this guy. Does he have a brother who’s a plumber? 🙂

  • Fab.U.Lous!

  • Autumn

    This is wonderful! Thank you!! Can I get Diz’s card??

  • Apologies to anyone frustrated by the star rating system’s disappearance this morning and the site’s intermittent misbehaviour today. Diz is apparently helping us with our electrics…

  • This was so delightful I didn’t critique a single thought. It did something, the phrase for which is very old, it tickled my funny bone.

  • Karen

    Starting a story with “The first time I saw…” led me to expect more than one encounter with Diz.

  • Bud Clayman

    Excellent story. Very funny!

  • What a great read.

  • Many thanks for all your kind comments. If any of you do need the services of an electrician, I can indeed put you in touch with Diz. Check your house insurance first, though.

  • I really enjoyed this story. I have visited Forest Row and I have taught the children of scientologists so I do know weird when I see it. Great fun.