"Just nudge it a little…"
"It won't fit."
"Turn it to your left."
"That's it, maxed out. Try lowering it on your end."
"Oh fuck stop, stop…"
The breather was a welcomed change of pace. They carried the desk all the way to the ground floor but here the hallway narrowed a bit. It jammed.
"We nicked that wall. "
"Yeah, I know. It's fine, tomorrow I'll paint the shit. Let's just get this over with."
"Ok, I'll start lifting my end. Let's try and push it over the railing."
"Oh, fucking stairwell. Why does it dip right fucking here? What asshole designed this?"
"It's no use, we have to find another angle."
The men wiped their sweaty hands. Both showed signs of fatigue. None was ready to throw in the towel.
"What if we unscrew the railing?"
"Hm, you might be onto something. Do you still have the ruler?"
He gently tossed it to his friend.
"That gives us space to push it laterally onto those steps. Then it's just a matter of sliding it out the front door."
"Great I'll get the screwdriver…"
A door violently swung open.
"What the heck do you think you're doing, Jefferson?"
Ugh, this motherfucker… "Hi, Frank! How's the wife?"
"None of your business! Why is this monstrosity blocking the exit?"
"Calm down, bro. We'll get it out in no time. We just need to take down the railing."
"Jefferson, tell your buddy here to address me in an appropriate manner."
"Bob, this is Frank, the landlord."
Frank smirked and tilted his head back.
"No shit? Congratulations, man. Can you give us a hand with the railing?"
"No one is touching that railing. It's european steel of the finest quality."
"Come on Frank help me out here…The sooner we get this out of your way the better."
"If I see a scratch on that you'll pay for it, Jefferson."
He slammed the door shut.
"Nice guy. Is his wife hot?"
"Yeah, I've fucked her already. She's freaky…"
An older gentleman greeted them from the next apartment.
"Hello, neighbor! Can I be of assistance?"
"Hi, Mr Dickisser. No thank you we got this. Nice cameo by the way."
The old man went back inside.
"Yeah, he's from Europe. He helped Frank with the purchase and shipping of this railing."
Bob snapped his neck.
"Alright let's get this bitch popping."
The noise from the electrical screwdriver attracted the attention of an old lady.
"Who's making that racket?! Jefferson, I should've guessed. What do you think you're doing?"
"Hi, Miss Ellen. We're hard at work so if you don't mind-"
"What?! How dare you…This is not your living room where you can go about your business freely."
"Calm your tits, madame."
Bob was drenched in sweat, his face red, breathing heavily. The last thing he needed was nagging.
"Why I never... Listen here, you huligan: I'm calling the police and when they'll get here they'll shoot you."
"Miss Ellen nobody is getting shot. Bob, apologize to the nice lady."
"I'm sorry babe," and flicked his tongue out like a snake.
The woman gasped touching her chest.
"Jefferson you get this animal out of my sight right now."
"We'll leave as soon as we move my grandpa's desk."
"Oh, is that what that thing is?" the lady said laughing like she was drunk on fine champagne. "That hack of a carpenter couldn't build a decent desk."
"It's not nice to speak ill of the dead, babe."
"It's the truth, you neanderthals. Go ahead ask anyone who ever knew him. He was a lousy carpenter, a drunk, a brute-"
"Someone got their heart broken…"
Jefferson winked at Bob while he said it.
"He sold me crap furniture. My dining table is tilted; you can't place an apple on it because it rolls onto the floor. My armchair squeaks and pokes me in the back with its sharp edges."
"I'm happy that you're getting poked, Miss Ellen, but right now we have work to do, so if you don't mind…"
"Oh, haha very funny. You grandpa was a shitty craftsman that glued everything down. That's why everyone hated him because he used glue to keep together whatever planks he fashioned into furniture. I bet that's why you're struggling with that desk. Let me guess: you can't take it apart because it's glued, right? "
" It's glued because this will last a lifetime. This here is quality craftsmanship."
"Oh excuses me, I thought only hacks glue together furniture because they can't build things the way they should be built."
"Look lady, why don't you get back to your shitty cats."
"Bye, Miss Ellen. Have fun being poked by my grandpa's wood."
She slammed the door.
"Christ, will this day ever end?"
"We got this bro, slide it in."
The men pushed the desk outside and onto the lawn.
"Great work, Bob. I'll fetch a couple of beers."
"Make sure they're cold."
Bob ran his fingers across the seams. He felt the brass handles, checked the drawers. Jeffrey came back with cold ones.
"Man I can't find anything wrong with this desk. It's spotless."
"Yeah I know, I took care of it."
"What do you mean? Didn't your grandpa build this? I can see where it was glued."
"I reglued it. I also put new brass hinges, leveled the top and drawers…"
"But why, bro?"
"So that people walking by can come look at it and see that his work was not shit. Or at least trick them into thinking that…"
Bob placed a firm hand on his friend's shoulder.
"You're a good boy, Jeffrey. A good boy indeed."
They felt refreshed after those drinks. People who lived in the building stopped and chatted near the desk. They touched it and complemented its fine craftsmanship. All the credit went to his gramps, the man who started a furniture company without knowing the first thing about carpentry. Now that business belonged to Jefferson. Fake it till you make it, right?