House of fools

The carpenter was come, with his bag of tools slung with the utmost nonchalance over his shoulders as an attestation of his experience with his chosen profession, and as with any man the description of whose lodgings involves “asbestos” and “sheet” in the same sentence, even the slightest creaking hinges caught his immediate attention for repair and, consequently, due payment. Fortunately for him, my grandfather was a miser—the fortunes bedecked in the old man’s meticulous and acrimonious use of the rubbish that gathers around one’s person when one’s life has been a scrupulous summa of barely-sufficient incomes and barely-sufficient living spaces.

While the two retreated to a dark corner of the room to harvest further agreement commensurate with maximizing their respective gains, while even as I pondered on the nuisances of new shelves that would pay no consideration whatsoever to my procerity, my grandmother had come silently to the conclusion that any assistance with the proceedings was sure to purchase a moment’s concern from her otherwise-reprehensive husband. Appropriately, she now stood inspecting the blueprint of a dismantled chair, contemplating in all probability the size of a screw that would be necessary to join the seat with its legs; it must be said that she still had a long way to go if the way she held the hammer was anything to go by—let it only be said that if she were to hammer a nail, the hammer would be lodged in her wrist.

Torn between preventing the old woman from killing herself and the old man from killing the building, I sat up just as the scream of an iron-tipped drill came industriously to life against decade-old concrete; just as an unfortunate nail was put in place; and braved myself to face this house of fools.

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