In the end they stayed until seven o’clock, as they had feared, the deck incomplete. Boards for the handrail had been ordered wrong and with no lumber yards open, they had no choice but to load their tools. They would finish on Monday. The younger of the two, the one who had bid the job and ordered the handrails wrong, was none too pleased, cussing his mistake as they picked up. ‘It happens to the best of them,’ the older said, ‘We’ll still do alright.’
They had hoped to finish in a day. The money was still good, but that would have sweetened the deal. They seemed cursed, however, to always underestimate material, time. For them, there were no perfect jobs where everything went as planned.
Their completed work was always perfect though, beautiful and bragged upon. In some sense this was a reward. But it was a reward quickly forgotten in the midst of these frustrations, these perceived inadequacies. They climbed into the truck, the older driving. ‘I need a beer,’ the younger said, adjusting the air to cool his sunburned skin. ‘I hear ya,’ the older replied. And it was in that direction they went.