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The author (right) and his brother (left) in front of a giant heart (rear).

My brother has been over for the last few days to help me paint my in-laws’ house.  It’s been a long time since the two of us spent a day engaging in manly, physical labour; the last time was probably when we built a deck at my dad’s place, and that was seven years ago.  (The deck is still standing, by the way, even though our work on it was sidetracked for two days when the eastern seaboard blacked-out.)

Now, much older and somehow no wiser, we found ourselves back together with paintbrushes and tool bags in hand.  Our conversations seemed to flow back into the ones had back in the day…

BEN:  Wow, look at the mark that painting left on the wall.

NICK:  Jeez, that must have been up there for a while.

BEN:  You can see the wire and everything.

NICK:  Yeah, it’s like the Shroud of Turin.

BEN:  Crap.

NICK:  What?

BEN:  I just dipped my shirt into the primer.  I don’t even know how that happened.

NICK:  Really?

BEN:  Yeah, I’m just going to tuck it in at the front here.

NICK:  I think you should tie it up instead.  You could look like an 80’s dancer.

BEN:  You’re right, that would be way better.  And sexier.

NICK:  Dammit.

BEN:  What?

NICK:  My foot is caught on some old nails in the molding we ripped out.  They punched through the garbage bag and got a hold of my shoe.

BEN:  We should probably get rid of that wood, eh?

NICK:  Probably.  I think I need a tetanus shot now.

BEN:  Crud.

NICK:  Now what?

BEN:  The cat is back in here.

NICK:  Sophie!  Sophie!  Dammit, cat, get out!  There’s paint everywhere!

BEN:  Too late.  It’s only a little primer, and it’s white, and the cat is mostly white, so I don’t think that anyone will notice too much.

NICK:  I guess…  God help us if she brushes past the red wall.