23. Deck“How hard could it be?” Jeremy asked. “High school dropouts make them all the time.”

“Do they teach deck-building in high school?”

“It’s a deck. It’s a bunch of boards supported by other boards. I got a book.”

I was already regretting this trip to the home improvement store. Jeremy was a good enough guy, I supposed. My sister liked him enough to marry him, and I loved her, so I at least had to tolerate him.

Jeremy was looking at the 6”x6” posts, examining them for … something. They’re post-ness, maybe?

“All I’m saying is that I’ve helped build a couple of decks,” I said, “and it’s more complicated than buying some boards and cement….”

“Cement?”

“You don’t want the posts to wobble.”

“Of course not,” he said, scribbling something on his post-it shopping list.

Jeremy was an English professor at the university — which is how Lora met him, when he was a TA and she was a freshman. If you want someone on your side debating the merits of contemporary literature versus eighteenth century British works, he was your man. Lora had practically begged me to go with him on this trip after he got it in his head that they needed to add on a deck to the back of their house, and it was “silly” to pay someone to do the work. My job, she said, would be to keep him out of the ER.

I knew this wasn’t going to end well.