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

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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 9

Steve,

Thank you so, so, so much for carrying my wriggling body out of Gaston’s office. You saved my life. Also, thank you for your concern about my partial paralysis due to taking those paralysis darts to the leg. To answer your question, no, I am not out of the wheelchair yet. The doctor said that the poison inside of the darts was curare, which happens to be common for arrow poisons originating in South America. I guess Gaston learned something from his time spent in the rain forest besides “when those bugs bite you, it’s gonna cause some serious shit.” Remember when he told us he was vomiting and coughing up blood for weeks after we sent him down there on a bogus tiling offer? HA! Oh, how we laughed at that.

Unfortunately, now the joke’s on me. Curare contains tubocurarine chloride, which is now only used in the United States as part of the lethal injection procedure. The doctor’s say I may never walk again.

Joanne is at a crossroads regarding our wedding. As I mentioned before, being a big player in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, she wants it to be Shakespeare themed. However, my current inability to walk is limiting my character choice very heavily. She said that Richard III was portrayed as disabled, but that she “would not want to marry that brash and unlikeable man.”

Oh, she is also at a crossroads thanks to Gaston Clutterbuck giving her cocaine. She has been jonesing for a fix, just like back in the old days before she kicked the habit. I must say that while I enjoy her taking her shirt off, I usually like to limit that and the crotch grabbing to both the bedroom and only my crotch, respectively. When she smacks up some blow, this simple goal of mine becomes harder to achieve.

But, enough about me. I’m so happy to hear that I’ve earned your respect! While my legs may be on the fritz, at least for the time being, your respect has become my wings. I can not WAIT to see your amazing latest masterpiece of tile-work, “Two Businessmen High-Five While Bruce Lee Flying Kicks Out of the Explosion.” My wedding just got a whole lot better!

Joanne still wants to marry me, but I am a bit worried that she’ll change her mind any day now. You’ve always been good with the ladies; got any advice? When she’s off the drugs and when I could walk, we were perfect together. But now, when she delves into her recently-acquired secret stash of cocaine, she mocks me, and calls me “Professor Limp Dick of the Asshole Squad.” I hate to sound like your teenage son instead of your brother (by the way, how is Steve Jr. doing?), but I could really use some help on how to get her clean and win her heart once again.

I’ve also sent Mom and Dad’s invitation in this letter. As you mentioned, please hand-deliver it to them. I hope they are still not disgusted at my lack of success and years of debauchery, and that they will attend the wedding (as well as be happy to hear that I am alive).

I’ll be talking to you soon, brother. I’m so happy I once again have your respect.

– Mack

P.S. Thank you for your comment about Joanne’s hotness. I certainly agree she looked great in that Leia costume. I also hope your new-found respect for me includes not seducing my fiance.

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 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 4

Mack,

I have some news of the most tragic sort. On my way to the post office to mail you a few of my finer sketches, I was ASSAULTED from behind by some wretch and robbed of my most recent masterpiece. THIS IS ALL QUITE TERRIBLE! Unfortunately, I did not get a view of this villain because I was struck on the back of the head with what was apparently a slab of Formica and blacked out. I can only assume it was a lackey of my long-time rival Gaston Clutterbuck, who has been looking for an opportunity to out-do me ever since I took the tile scene by storm with my High-Five masterpieces. Gaston, that BASTARD! Just when I was about to release “Two Businessmen High-Five While Bruce Lee Flying Kicks Out of the Explosion!”

If and when he releases his version of “Two Businessmen High-Five While Bruce Lee Flying Kicks Out of the Explosion,” I’ll be ruined. He’ll be the new and happening tile artist on the scene and I’ll be some old hack riding on the coattails of the new star. Mack, I’m positive that this is no exaggeration when I tell you that MY LIFE IS RUINED! What am I going to do? How am I going to provide for my family?!

I suppose I’ll do my due diligence and pretend my world is not spiraling into a enormous vortex of chaos by congratulating you on not drinking till you black out anymore. I’m sure if Mom and Dad heard that you weren’t destroying your life via the deep, dark road of alcohol abuse, they’d be so proud. I’ll let them know if you want.

So Mack, it is with much chagrin that I must, at this point, not permit you to be married. As interesting as this female you’re now seeing sounds (I mean, she is a fellow artist), until my life is sorted out I can not allow you to have your life sorted out.

Please Mack, if there is anything you can do to help me return to my position as tile artist extraordinaire, I promise I will be your best man and will completely forgive you for all your previous wrong-doings.  Help me Mac, you’re my only hope.

Eternally Thankful,
Steve