To Tile or Not To Tile – Letter 13

Steve,

Wow! Let me just say what a wedding! Thank you so much for not only being there, not only being my best man, but giving me the best darn week of my life.

As you may have guessed from Joanne running away from the ceremony crying, she has a different perspective of the past week. She didn’t come back to the hotel that night, but I found the following note on my bed the next morning:

Mack,

At first, I was as happy as you were that you and your brother were burying the hatchet and regaining your former closeness. However, as time went on I learned that your family is strange, manipulative, and ultimately irritating.

Your “bachelor party” ManQuest was horrendous. Your parents are extremely odd and make me uncomfortable. Your nephew has weird misshapen shoulders. But, worst of all, your brother is an asshole.

I’ve decided that there are only two things that make me happy: acting out the brilliant works of William Shakespeare, and cocaine. I’ve decided that I don’t need you, or your bizarre and annoying family. I’m going to spend the week of our honeymoon on an acting bender: drifting from town to town, performing, and doing lots of blow. Don’t try to contact me until you have the divorce papers drawn up.

Joanne

P.S. Your brother’s tile-work “gift” is asinine.

Honestly, I don’t even know if we’re married. Are you still married if the bride runs away from the ceremony crying and shouting “Shakespeare has never before been so badly wounded”?

By the way, that reminds me: I loved your comments and additions to our ceremony. It was a far better idea to have you screech into the ceremony on a motorcycle. Plus, you’re right: Shakespeare’s language is boring. “Here’s your mutha-effin rang, dickbombs” is a far better introduction.

Perhaps if we weren’t blasted out of our minds since you arrived thanks to your seemingly endless supply of tequila, it would have been better for me and my now estranged sort-of wife and marriage to pass these changes by Joanne. But, you know what? After I read that note, I realized what you were shouting at our rehearsal dinner was right: she IS kind of a bitch-face!

I mean, how DARE she call Mom and Dad odd?!? So, Dad surprised her in the shower by slapping her on the ass with a fresh baked apple tart. I mean, come on. That’s DAD! Remember the Bear Claws when we were younger? Mom would get SO PISSED when he would put icing on them, then throw them at everyone in church. But, what can I say? The man can bake, and knows how to pull a good prank. And Mom’s pretty much a saint! I thought Joanne and her were having a nice heart-to-heart, but apparently Joanne was uncomfortable at the way Mom discussed their imminent death. I always thought it was very comforting the way Mom reminded us that we’re all mortal, and we’ll all perish and be eaten by maggots — our flesh decaying and rotting for the rest of eternity. I guess Joanne has a problem accepting a simple fact.

Which brings me to another point: I’m sorry that during our ManQuest, Steve Junior refused to fight. It may not have been right of dad to distract S.J. with a fresh-baked pie only to hatchet his own grandson in the leg. But, hey, like you said, it was every man for himself! I hope Dr. Frank is treating him well.

When I read that Post Script, I was livid. “Two Businessmen High-Five While Bruce Lee Flying Kicks Out of the Explosion” is brilliant. And, in fact, I sent it back with this letter because I’m moving back! I’ve decided that I don’t need Ms. I’m-Better-Than-You-Because-I-Love-Shakespeare to tell me what to do. Let’s team up and make the tile business better than ever!

Plus, I gotta be there anyway at all of our arraignments for killing that random other guy from a different ManQuest crew. I’m confident though that Dr. Frank will make a great lawyer, as you suggested.

So, here’s to a new life: my old life, back once again! Except this time I accept my position as below you on life’s importance-chain. And, there’s a slight chance we all may be in jail for manslaughter.

Shotty top bunk if we share a cell!

See you soon brother. I love you, man.

– Mack

Two Businessmen High-Five While Bruce Lee Flying Kicks Out of the Explosion

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To Tile or Not to Tile – Letter 12

Mack,

I questioned even writing this letter because I’ll be up there so soon, but I can’t help being so excited. In three short weeks my masterpiece,“Two Businessmen High-Five While Bruce Lee Flying Kicks Out of the Explosion,” will be revealed to the world and will hopefully overshadow your most-likely-painfully-boring Shakespeare wedding. I’ll be honest, that video you sent me brought tears to my eyes when I thought about how much I’ll be sleeping through it. By my calculations, it should be about 95%. Don’t take it too personally though, I can sleep through anything since Dr. Frank cured my insomnia.

Frank’s miracle cure for me was threatening to shoot himself in the head if I didn’t get to sleep and fast. It only took a couple weeks of him telling me that I’d be the reason he was dead before I could shut my eyes and dream for a couple hours. The man is a genius, bottom line. I owe that man an unending amount of gratitude.

As for Steve Jr., I’ve already taken the liberty of calling “Oregon Adventures” and scheduling a “ManQuest” for a week before your wedding. The pamphlet says its a guided tour of the Ochoco National Forest, until the guides hand out pocket knives to your group and toss you out of a canoe and leave you to fend for yourself for the next 4 days. This seems like the perfect way to “man-up” Steve Jr. I’d also be killing two birds with one stone, as I’ve decided to officially make this your bachelor party. What an awesome time, right!? You, me, Steve Jr. and Pop, fighting for our lives, breaking the necks of rabbits with our bare-hands, developing our own culture and social hierarchy through knife fights! The only way we could make it more manly is if Han Solo came along on the ManQuest!

So get your testosterone ready, Mack. WE’RE GOING ON A MANQUEST!

Manfully yours,
Steve

To Tile or Not to Tile – Letter 11

Steve,

I appreciate you sending some doctors my way. They were an odd bunch, but I’m happy to say that I’ve regained use of my legs!

The first one that came by, a Dr. Edward Prica, attempted to readjust my back. He tried unsuccessfully before ultimately giving up. He left saying “if you were half the man your brother is, you would’ve just punched this paralysis in the dick by now and jumped onto your own roof to howl at the moon and piss on your neighbor’s car!” He seemed high. His continual popping of “doctor pills” furthered this theory.

The next doctor that came in was the very interesting Dr. Einar Grønnfjelldal. Through his thick Norwegian accent, he kept telling me my paralysis was due to “Tiler’s Lung.” I attempted to correct him by stating that while it is very possible that during my employment in the tile industry I was at a higher risk for pneumoconiosis, I happen to know EXACTLY the cause of my paralysis: an effect of the curare toxin which was used in Gaston Clutterbuck’s poison darts that I took to the leg. When he left in disgust, I thought he tried to tell me I had “Miner’s Lung,” which made even less sense. Joanne told me that he actually said I had “whiner’s lung” and was mocking me. She then said she needed some coke to “take the edge off.”

The last doctor just went by the name of “Frank.” His treatment seemed very experimental: he kept punching me in the legs and telling me he was gonna throw me in the fire if I didn’t get up. Perhaps it was the way that this rekindled our childhood (of you throwing my beloved possessions into the crackling flame) but after 3 solid hours I was standing in no time! I threw a couple punches back, but he just laughed and said “call me when you don’t have pussies for hands, douchebag!” then left.

This Dr. Frank certainly is a medical genius: misunderstood, avant-garde, but overall very effective.

I’m happy to report that once I was able to stand on my own two feet, I ripped the rolled up dollar out of Joanne’s nose and told her that I’m not marrying some junkie shootin’ snowballs up her sniffer. She told me she liked this “manly” side of me, and I must admit that it felt good to stand up for what I believed in. She spent the next week detoxing, and now we’re back on our feet again!

Now that the wedding is only a month away, I sent along with this letter a DVD of a performance Joanne shot of the Gazebo Players of Medfield, MA. They’re performing a wedding scene from As You Like It. This will be very similar to our wedding.

This is what you can expect. I’ve also arranged to pay you back for your saving my life, helping me walk, and forgiving me by including 5 plane tickets to Ashford, Oregon! One for you plus guest, one for Steve Junior, and two for Mom and Dad. Everyone can stay at Joanne’s and my place for the two weeks prior to the wedding. We can all get to hang out a bit more, and learn the intricate Shakespearean format that our wedding will be in.

I can’t wait to see everyone again. It’s been so long since I’ve talked to Steve Jr. I’m sorry to hear about his daisy-inspired tile-work. Perhaps while you’re here, we can utilize my new-found manliness and take him out hunting, or to a kung-fu marathon. Maybe that’ll make him start exploding with new, manly tile-art ideas.

Looking forward to seeing you soon!

With brotherly love,

– Mack

P.S. Don’t forget to bring “Two Businessmen High-Five While Bruce Lee Flying Kicks Out of the Explosion”!

To Tile or Not to Tile – Letter 10

Mack,

I literally thought Mom died when I told her you were alive! How would that have been for depressing irony? She only passed out thankfully, and is more than excited to attend your wedding. Dad reacted by punching me in the stomach but was pretty excited after that.

Sucks about your legs. Maybe Joanne would be more interested in marrying you if you got some sweet looking crutches. Are there any orangutans in any of Shakespeare’s plays? I can’t say I’m very familiar with his stuff. Maybe you could play it off as an art school interpretation of Hamlet. Or maybe one of his plays with less people dying. Just an idea. I’ll talk to a couple of my connections in the tile scene about finding a good surgeon that can maybe help you. As you would have probably guessed, I know quite a few powerful people. Maybe they can even do something about your manliness being overly boyish. I’m sure that once we take care of that problem Joanne will stop jonesing for a Coke-fix and start jonesing for a Mack-fix.

Steve Jr. has been doing well. He of course is taking interest in the family business, but some of the stuff he does makes me second-guess wanting to hand the business of to him when I retire. Just the other day he painted a tile with daisies or some shit on it. I tell you, he’s like the Fredo Corleone of our family. Hopefully things won’t come to me having to shoot him in a boat, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let him ruin the empire I’ve built with my bare hands.

So, as mentioned before, I’ll be sending some doctors your way within the next couple of days. Let me know what they tell you. Stay strong, brother. Your fiance will be over-aggressively groping you in no time.

-Steve

To Tile or Not to Tile – Letter 8

Mack,

SUCCESS! I can not thank you enough for your assistance in our little “adventure.” I could not have done it without you. Not only because of your uncanny ability to pick locks (I won’t ask how you learned to do it so well), but for taking those paralysis darts to the leg. Like the filthy, stealing rat he is, Gaston took a page out of my own book and booby-trapped his office. Luckily for us (more so for me, though), I was able to re-steal my sketch from Gaston’s portfolio while you wriggled on the ground like a deer stuck in a bear trap. I, of course, displayed my astonishing strength by carrying you back into the car.

So, are you out of the wheelchair yet?

I feel a little bad about your fiance showing Clutterbuck her boobs, though. Who knew Gaston could have predicted her special weakness (if you forgot, its cocaine!)? Still, she did a fantastic job and hopefully she didn’t start the habit again.

Mack, I am a man of my word. Now that this ordeal is over, I will be your best man. You’ve earned your respect back from me and its the least I could do. However, since I’m so generous, I’ll be giving you MORE! I’ll reveal my recently-re-procured masterpiece “Two Businessmen High-Five While Bruce Lee Flying Kicks Out of the Explosion” AT YOUR WEDDING! I know, its quite an honor, but you ARE my brother and you DID help me steal it. Oh, what a party this will be.

If you wish to send Mom and Dad’s invitation here, I’ll hand-deliver it to them. I can’t wait to see the look on their face when they find out you’re not dead! If I had to guess, it would probably be a mixture of astonishment, confusion and disgust. I’ll try to get some camera-phone pictures.

So again, Mack, thank you so much.

Your Brother,
Steve

P.S. – MY GOD did Joanne looking bangin’ in that Princess Leia costume. I sure would love to play with her Thermo-detonators. That is, if she wasn’t your fiance and all.

To Tile or Not to Tile – Letter 7

Steve,

Thank you for your kind words. I am glad that you thought of my latest idea as more than just “a cacophony of garbled ass” spewing from my mouth. That may just be the nicest compliment you’ve ever given me. But, like you’ve mentioned to me my entire life, I will not expect the kind words from you to continue.

I did a little bit of research and found out that your douchebag rival, Gaston Clutterbuck, frequents many Star Wars online forums under the name “GrandMoffClutterbuck.” So, you were right: he once again copied your life goals and interests. I dug a little deeper and found an interesting post of his. I printed out a screenshot. Take a look at it.

Within his typo-ridden reply lies a large amount of fantasy (the only “tip” i remember him getting was a punch in the face for that horrendous AT-AT he made in someone’s bathroom that looked like a bunch of dicks). Also, check it out, he mentions a plan for a new piece of tile-art “he” created! That son of a bitch is probably talking about “Two Businessmen High-Five While Bruce Lee Flying Kicks Out of the Explosion”! We have to get that post haste!

I got Joanne to agree to the plan by appealing to her love of acting. I told her of the Princess Leia outfit, and how she has to pretend she’s an out-of-towner who needs directions to a sci-fi convention from a tile expert. Don’t worry though: I wrote down exactly what you said so that Joanne can memorize that. I wouldn’t dare ruin the plan by attempting to allow my words to be spoken aloud, as you’ve always warned me of.

And don’t worry, Joanne didn’t mind one bit that the Leia outfit was from Role Playing. When she does her Shakespearean plays, we often keep her wardrobe for some bedroom fun! I never thought a lusty affair with Bianca from The Taming of the Shrew would be so erotic…but I was proved WRONG on 13.5 occasions.

But, back to the topic at hand: Joanna said she is looking forward to doing some contemporary acting. I’ve already told her to do all in her power to tempt Clutterbuck, yet hold off on the sexual activity. I just hope he doesn’t offer her any cocaine. She broke that bad habit a long time ago. Also, it would break my heart if she got all jazzed up on blow and sexed around with that bastard.

You may wonder why this letter is arriving at your doorstep instead of Joanne and I. Well, since Joanne and I reside in Ashland, Oregon, as I mentioned, we need to book a flight to get to your house. The earliest flight we could afford is at the end of next week. If you are willing to front some cash in your reply letter, we will book an earlier flight right away! This is also why I had this letter express mailed (in case you were wondering).

I can not wait to set this plan into action! I will hear from you soon, brother.

– Mack

To Tile or Not To Tile – Letter 6

Mack,

I could be wrong here, but this just may be the one somewhat decent idea you’ve ever had. To be honest, every idea that you’ve had that I can remember has been complete dog shit. It seemed like every time you opened your mouth, a cacophony of garbled ass would come spewing forth, poisoning every living being within a 15 foot radius. Sometimes I wondered if the only thing happening in your brain was an army of orangutans running at full-force headfirst into a brick wall.

But I digress. This time you may be on to something.

I think the best way for your fiance to immediately get Clutterbuck’s attention would be to have her appear at his office in a Princess Leia outfit; you know, the one from when she was a slave in Jabba the Hutt’s palace? If Gaston is anything like me (considering he’s pretty much copied my life, I can guess he is a little bit), he’ll be like Play-Dough in her hands. I’ll provide the costume, I’ve had it lying around in a closet since the wife and I used to to role-play. That won’t weird Joanne out, will it?

All you have to do is make her memorize this line: “I’m from out of town and on my way to the local Science Fiction convention. Being a single, half-witted woman, I’ve seemed to have lost my way. Teehee, silly me. I’m a huge fan of tile art so I figured I could experience an under-appreciated art and get directions at the same time. You know, killing two birds with one stone, or whatever.” Just make sure she doesn’t throw in any of that Shakespeare “ye” or “tis” shit, then he’ll know its a trap.

He’ll undoubtedly ask her out to dinner that night, so that will be our chance to strike. Wear all black with a mask and make sure to stretch, we don’t want to pull a muscle or anything. It shouldn’t be too tough, we’ll smash in his window, rummage through his shit, find the paper and bolt. To the regular person it’ll seem like some everyday robbery, the authorities will be none-the-wiser. Come to my house the day you receive this letter and we’ll begin preparations.

By the way, I’m kicking myself for not mentioning this in the previous letters, but Mom and Dad think you’re dead. I convinced them to hold off on the funeral till the authorities found the body, but as far as they’re concerned they have only one son, now (although I’m not sure its too much different from when they thought you were alive, HAHA!). I’ll let them know you’re not dead.

I anxiously await your arrival, brother.

Sincerely,
Steve