“What in the Lord’s name is this?”
Fraser stares at the wall and then back at Ray, who is standing there in his overalls, white paint dripping from the roller in his hand, looking mighty pleased with himself.
Ray takes a moment to admire his handiwork and then shoots Fraser a wicked grin. “That, my friend, is a giant dick.”
“Indeed.” Fraser clears his throat and puts his own paint roller into the empty bucket. “What I meant to ask was why you saw it fit to paint an oversized penis onto our living room wall.” He tugs at his earlobe as he eyes the artwork. “It’s not that I object to the imagery in principle…” His words trial off as he remembers just how much he appreciated Ray’s…equipment the night before, and then again early this morning.
Ray snickers. “So I’ve noticed.” He brushes the back of his hand across his sweaty brow, which covers even more of his face in white paint. “No need to get all hot and bothered. I’m going to paint over it.”
“Then why paint it in the first place?” Fraser asks.
“Cause I like thinking it’ll always be there. Like if some fancy diplomat types come to visit—they’ll have no idea what’s glaring at them from underneath the layers of paint.”
Fraser shakes his head. “You are ridiculous.”
“So you keep telling me.” Ray dunks his roller into the bucket of white paint and continues working on his artistic creation. Just watching him add layers to the shaft, stroking it from top to bottom, is enough to get Fraser all hot and flustered.
“Like, when I was growing up,” Ray continues as he paints, “I always wore crazy socks or underpants to important appointments and stuff. Here.” He gives his artwork one finishing flourish and steps back to study the finished product. “I’ll just let it dry and then paint over it. I’m going to get a beer. Want one?”
Fraser tugs at his collar and cracks his neck. A beer is not precisely what he’s craving at this point in time.
At the housewarming party several weeks later, everybody is gathered around the dinner table. The Vecchios and Kowalskis and various members from the 2-7 are all eating and chatting away merrily when Stella stops and tilts her head to admire the paintwork.
“I really like what you’ve done with the place,” she says. “It was such a dump when you bought it.”
“Thank you,” Fraser replies. “All it needed was a few layers of paint. But you know Ray—he did all the hard work.”
Ray’s instantaneous coughing fit only makes Fraser feel slightly guilty. He’ll make it up to him later.