New Winslow S6E36

Despite all the shit she’d gone through there, Olivia was currently grateful for her time at Keegan’s. At least she knew that opening her own shop was going to be filled with bullshit. It was her dream, but she was also experienced enough to know what that dream came with. And as she looked at the gray-brown water filling the bottom of the middle basin sink right now, she knew that this was part of what Keegan’s had prepared her for.

She’d already tried plunging it, and nothing had helped. She wanted to go get some Drano and take care of it now, but Noah had asked her to wait till he got there to do anything drastic. Drano didn’t seem too drastic, but when she mentioned it, he’d repeated what he’d said before. Wait for me to get there, please.

So here she was, watching as the murky water seemed to be getting higher and higher in the deep basin of the sink. Luckily it was only one of the three basins that was filling, but none of them should have been filling with this shit.

Wait, was it actual shit? She couldn’t smell anything shit-like, it smelled more like mold than anything. But this was another area where Noah was better at identifying it than her, if the amount of times he’d accurately diagnosed a problem in their home based on the smell was any signifier. Under one of the other basins, she could hear the occasional drip of the pipe he’d been battling since they had gotten in here. So he had his work cut out for him when he got here today.

Olivia’s day was also full. The space was clean now, so beyond basic upkeep and this fucking sink, they were done with the major cleaning projects. As long as the permits and inspections went well in the following weeks, they would be legally cleared to open. She had painting plans in progress, while Andrew had a local marketing strategy that he was planning to launch in the next few days. They’d been leery of the idea of advertising out of town. While plenty of people came into New Winslow regularly, the idea of directly targeting people to come into the cursed town was a step too far. Andrew had referred to it as “Town Council shit” and quickly drawn up a plan for the delivery system they’d talked briefly about. So that needed to be implemented and tested before opening day.

She also had product testing plans that were being disrupted by this sink. There was a quick bread recipe that was driving her nuts. It was delicious, but the amount of almonds she’d have to buy each week to make it was a budget breaker. She’d either have to buy in bulk and hope they sold the bread, or buy the smaller, more expensive packs more often.

Or she could make the bread occasionally and make it more expensive if there was a demand for it. She’d file that one away for later, but that was something to consider when she wasn’t facing down a swamp.

The sink was definitely backing up. The water was almost an inch higher than it had been when she stopped plunging. So this wasn’t simply a clog. Where the hell was Noah? He said he was on his way, but she was pretty sure he was coming from somewhere nearby after getting coffee with Roman, who was still at the Countess. Not that he went there, but they met for coffee in one of the non-cursed neighboring towns.

Which meant he likely wasn’t in Petersham. Which meant she had no idea where he was coming from or how long it would take for him to get here. And Andrew hadn’t been home when she woke up, which had been alarming until he came stumbling down the stairs from Noah’s apartment after she texted him. Which was alarming in its own right, but she was not going to be concerned about that right now.

Olivia took out her phone now and, feeling foolish, typed “sink backing up” into her search engine. It chugged along at the usual speed that the internet went in New Winslow. Maybe she’d make good internet part of the appeal of this place. It might be worth the expense, especially since good satellite internet was a ridiculous markup.

Vinegar and baking soda. That was reasonable enough to do on her own. Noah couldn’t call that drastic. And she had big containers of both of those things available right here already. Casting a wary eye on the basin, Olivia hurried over to the counter to get the tub of baking soda and bottle of vinegar. She’d done this before for her sink at home, but she’d figured whatever was happening here needed much more than her half-functional approach to home clogs.

Like maybe an exorcist.

She did a few rounds of baking soda and vinegar until the water was foamy and gray. But it still wasn’t going down. So while she hadn’t made things worse, she certainly didn’t improve the situation.

Was there anything else she could do before sneaking Drano in? The water was rising again, slowly but surely. Where was it even coming from? Was it coming up from the pipes, from another part of the building? From outside? They were on town water down here, there was no septic system like some parts of town. So that was one less thing to worry about, but there was little she could do if it was a town problem.

She felt helpless and knew it was ridiculous. It was a sink, and she didn’t have the skills to take it apart and look for the cause. But Noah did, and that was part of why they worked so well together. He burned boiled water and she wasn’t allowed to touch the Drano. They balanced each other out. But she should be able to take care of this too.

The front door opened and she was both relieved and embarrassed as she heard Noah make his way across the dining room and toward the kitchen.


A couple hours of creeping internet speed later, Olivia finally had to relent once more. She’d been trying to place an order with Rivera Supply, the restaurant supplier Celine had recommended. But even when the pages successfully loaded on her phone, she wasn’t sure exactly how to place her order. So she would have to actually call and talk to someone about it, just what she’d tried to avoid doing.

She dialed the number Celine had left for her and waited as the phone rang a few times.

“Rivera Restaurant Supply,” greeted a woman on the other end.

“H-hi,” Olivia said, hating how nervous she sounded. “Um, my name’s Olivia Walker. Celine Beckett told me to call? I made an account online, but my internet isn’t great and…”

Dammit, she was an adult. She’d even placed orders at Keegan’s, even if it was all online with no communication with strangers.

“Celine… oh!” the woman said. “Yes, yes, I remember. Sorry, it’s been chaotic over here.”

She laughed, the jangling sound melting some of Olivia’s nerves. “That’s fine,” Olivia said.

“Alright, you’re looking for a food service vendor,” the woman said. “What town?”

“New Winslow.”

There was a familiar beat of silence at the name. “Ah,” the woman said. “Alright, that’s no problem. And what kind of business is it?”

“A small café,” Olivia said, looking around the dining room that was still scattered with paint cans and Noah’s tools. “Mostly coffee and pastries to start. Some sandwiches too.”

“Made in house?”


“Nice. Alright, here’s what I’d suggest…”

The woman went off into a detailed description of what Olivia should do for her first order. It was mostly things she’d known before calling, but there were enough little details in there about things like fair trade options and brand changes that she found herself scrambling for a pen and paper to write them down.

“And what’s the price?” she asked, dreading the answer.

To her surprise, the price was much lower than she’d feared. They were still doing well enough with Andrew now putting too much of his severance package into supplies, but the fact that they weren’t going to be bringing in money for a while still kept her up at night.

“This looks great,” the woman said. “I’ll drop it off tomorrow. When will you be there?”

“Oh, all day,” Olivia said with a laugh.

“I’ll call you then.”

The woman hung up and Olivia did the same, feeling in control for the first time all day.


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