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

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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

To Tile or Not to Tile – Letter 5

Steve,

When I read your letter about 1 hour, 33 minutes, 42 seconds ago, a wave of rage crashed over my entire body like a tsunami…an ANGRY tsunami! I can not believe that Gaston Clutterbuck is still trying to out-do you. That son of a bitch! I had hoped that when you had not mentioned him in your previous letter, that he simply just finally died and you pissed on his grave like we used to discuss back in the ol’ days.

It is simply absurd that he struck you with Formica and stole your latest masterpiece. “Two Businessmen High-Five While Bruce Lee Flying Kicks Out of the Explosion” sounds like an amazing work of art. We CAN NOT let him get away with this!

I understand your position on not allowing me to get married until this is cleared up. I told Joanne that our marriage would have to be put on hold until Gaston Clutterbuck has been thwarted and peace has been restored to the tile industry. She was confused and thought I was kidding. I told her that I was NOT kidding, and then explained the situation to her in detail.

I spoke of how Gaston went to high school with you. I told Joanne that he learned of the popularity and chicks you were gaining with your tile work, and quickly became quite jealous. Being the star football player, he was expecting all the fame and chicks; but your obvious prodigal talents in the field of tile-work had raised you to a god-like level in that school. Once you were elected Prom King, Gaston swore his revenge.

I told Joanne that for years, Gaston was simply a nuisance with a sub-par tiling business that could never hold a candle to yours. I mean, remember that one time he tried to sneak into your office without knowing you booby trap it? We must have watched that security tape at least 82 times: that nail-gun shooting him in the chest, him running out screaming. CLASSIC!

Joanne doesn’t sound like she understands. She seems to be an emotional cocktail made with 1 part confusion and two parts anger. And let me tell you that I’ve been sipping this cocktail since I told her the news, and it does NOT go down smooth. There is a lot of yelling with intermittent sobs. She also quoted The Merchant of Venice at me by saying “If I can catch him once upon the hip, I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him.” Honestly though, it just make me think of bears.

Joanne’s not a bad person though, Steve. In time, I know she’ll understand, and maybe even help! If I can get her to seduce Gaston, you and I can ransack his home and business until we find your sketch. Then, I will send Joanne a text message telling her to cease her seductive acts, and maybe she can knock him unconscious by slamming a lead pipe into his skull!

Yes, I do believe this is a great plan. And, like you said in your letter, once we right these wrongs I can go on and marry Joanne, the love of my life, and you can be my best man!

Don’t worry, Steve. We’ll get this guy and restore your rightful place on top of the throne of the tile industry!

Also, next time you see Mom and Dad, please let them know that I have cleaned up my act and will be getting married. You don’t need to tell them the marriage is currently on hold until we get our revenge on Gaston. That would just worry them.

I’ll be hearing from you soon, bro. Love ya,

– Mack

To Tile or Not to Tile – Letter 2

Mack,

It certainly has been quite a while. Its been so long, its hard to remember what caused the rift between the two of us in the first place.

Oh. Oh, wait. It was that time that you not only insulted my life’s work but attempted to butcher my creativity by forcing me to leave my area of expertise. The Glorious High-Five is to forever be respected as the ultimate sign of hope, love, destruction and success. I am very much blessed to have been given the ability to convey the High-Five in such a way that it displays the awesome power of this spectacular action.

You broke my heart, Mack. As kin, I expected you to understand my extremely strong feelings towards The High-Five on the family medium-of-choice, tile. When you told me that we should “expand our horizons” it was like you punched me in the throat and told me my son threw like a girl. YOU KNOW HE WAS BORN WITH MISSHAPEN SHOULDERS, HE CAN’T THROW ANY OTHER WAY!

If you are in fact apologizing for your actions, your apology is accepted. However, I still hate you. I am, at this point, not entirely ready to bury the hatchet and may require more groveling before I decide to honor you with being your best man. I am going to need to know more about this female you’ve grown fond of, as well, before I give you my consent to marry her. I’m sure you understand.

Just so you know, the business has flourished. I have now added a few, more intense animals to my repertoire and will send you a sketch or two if you are still interested.

Please respond quickly, I don’t have all the time in the world, you know.

Sincerely,
Steve

To Tile or Not to Tile – Letter 1

Steve,

What’s up, man? It’s been a while. Well, a bit longer than a while: 6 years, 4 months, and 27 days…but who’s counting?

I’m not sure if you still have the same feelings about me as you did all those years ago when you kicked me out of your tile business: the feeling that I am “a horrendous human being whose only contribution to the world will be my larger-than-life suck-factor.” I am hoping that by now it is all water under the bridge.

I am hoping this, but I am also worried that you will burn this letter prior to reading it, since you know just as well as I do that you were always a hard-ass. Some people said I had to be crazy to work for you, but damned if I don’t admit that you’re a GENIUS when it comes to designing and installing porcelain tile.

That’s right, Steve, I still respect you. After all, you are my brother. I would never let something as silly as a difference in opinion get in the way of our kinship.

We used to be so close. Growing up, we were inseparable. I’ll admit that you were always the talented one out of us two. I will definitely admit that. Tile became your passion, and you were a prodigy. When you were in High School and created that porcelain tile portrait of Mom and Dad high-fiving for their bathroom, I knew you were going straight to the top of that business.

I hope you know that I always appreciated you teaching me the ins and outs of the tile business. For the past 12 years, 3 months, and 18 days I’ve made installing tile my source of income, and it’s all thanks to you. You have a knack for it. Mom used to praise me for my expertise with the flute and for my Rainman-like ability to remember dates, but no matter what composition I created in her honor, or dental appointment I helped her not forget, your porcelain tile masterpieces secured your position as the child most loved.

I did not mean to make you so upset all those years ago, when last we spoke. I simply was making a suggestion that maybe your business should branch off from simply doing porcelain tile portraits of couples high-fiving. Yes, I know that there are differences: sometimes there’s an explosion behind the high-five, or due to it; and yes, sometimes there’s a shark giving a thumbs up, or a bear with a shocked-into-awe expression on its face nearby…but I just thought maybe we could do more conventional tiling for a change.

But, I don’t want to bring up old news. In fact, I’d like to bury the hatchet because…well…I’m getting married!

That’s right. Her name is Joanne, and I must say that we go perfectly together: like bread and water. I met her at a rather low point about 4 years, 2 months, and 12 days ago, and after a while we fell in love.

Despite our distance as of late, I would still like for you to be my best man. As you can tell from the return address on this envelope, I am now living in Ashland, Oregon: home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Joanne is a very well-respected player in the Shakespeare festival, so it goes without saying that our wedding will be Shakespeare oriented.

I hope to hear from you soon. Hopefully we can put the past behind us and look forward to a future filled with love and respect.

I love you, Bro.

– Mack