Since the downstairs' rental unit’s bathtub soap holder gave up on life and unceremoniously dropped into the tub roughly three months ago, the tile has needed replacing. A sordid, increasingly moldy spot on the globe, Jon has torn out the tiles surrounding the tub with a sweaty zeal rarely seen among the sober; and in less time than it takes to say, “Holy-moly but that stinks”, we had a bathtub full of broken tiles and what appeared to be great sodden clumps of Hobbit hovel.
We stand over it, our hands on our hips.
“Ya smell that?”
I do smell that.
“That there,” Mary says, her eyes narrowing, “will give ya the scurvy.”
I snort, a sound that goes unheard under the whirr of the fans blowing up and out of the room. “We’re supposed to do what with this now?”
“Scoop it up,” she shrugs. “I got eight heavy-use bags. If we need more, I can get it.”
I wrinkle my nose. “But I don’t want the scurvy.”
“No one wants the scurvy,” Mary says, “but sometimes, the scurvy’s what ya get.”
“Could I just get the scoliosis with a side of scurvy?”
“What,” Mary laughs, “instead of the cole slaw?”
We grin at each other.
“I’m thinkin’,” she says, “that the side effects of this job will include cellular decomposition of the digits, the urge to yodel, and sleep-gambling.”
“Side effects may also include but are not limited to hardening of the stool, rickets, and–“
“ – the organic appearance of a third nostril.”
“Call your doctor if you begin believing that you dance divinely or if you experience the desire to quit your job and take up ventriloquism.”
We stare at the tub full of heavy, stinking building materials.
We both sigh – then burst out laughing.
“Our lives are ridiculous,” I say.
“Yeah, but who has more fun than we do?”