The telephone rang a second time, and Karen turned up her hands like a martyr revealing stigmata. The gesture was meant, I imagined, to imply that the pasty clumps of grayish glue and gooey shreds of wallpaper clinging to her rubber gloves rendered my wife incapable of dealing with the outside world—a silent argument that left me no choice but to counter her position with the irrefutable evidence of my own.
How am I supposed to answer the phone from all the way up here? I all but demanded, waving my trowel and heat gun at the stepladder beneath me. Besides, this is serious business. Can’t you see I’m using a power tool?
–by Marc Schuster