The smell of freshly brewed coffee filled was one of the morning routine blessings, the only way for them to start functioning properly, until the afternoon. Nothing pointed out ‘good morning’ better than a cup of coffee. They knew what the day will feel like – hot, ruthless torture in the sun. They knew what comes, but they had to through it, after all, they’ve signed up for it. Two painters, Joshua and Alfie, were about to venture off to their duty.
Joshua always woke up earliest, to start brewing water and get his body moving, so-called morning workout he described it. He didn’t know another way around, otherwise, he felt like a bag of laziness, which moves at speed of a sloth. An energetic and kind young student who always tried to learn from Alfie. Sometimes he would teach him something he didn’t know – they both taught each other something. Despite knowing where he’s about be sent, where he has been before, he accepted it with a smile on his face.
“Morning.” Alfie walked down to the kitchen with regret written all over his face.
“Morning mate. Coffee?”
“Yeah, that would be great.”
Joshua poured hot boiled water in Alfie’s cup and smiled at him. They both were like a ying-yang. Alfie was completely opposite of Joshua, with just a few traits common. He was slow, but he knew a lot. Oftenly Alfie would face problems in a practical way rather than thinking how to come up with the complicated reason for them. They both made a good pair of workers but argued like a couple sometimes.
“Damn, it promises to be hotter than yesterday. You’re up to paintbrush whipping against the wall?” Joshua enthusiasm was key to his energy
“Everyday feel the same in the sun. I would stick with the shadow if I were you. You know, follow it as the sun goes behind the building.”
“I think, there’s everything done at those spots and there’s not much do there anyway. You think we can finish it today?” Joshua grew curious and nervous about their possibilities.
“Boss says we have to. Not like we have a choice or anything.”
“Alfie, there’s always a choice. It’s just your damn urge for money.”
“When you’ll grow older and have debt on your name, you will look for the same opportunities.”
“Naah, I don’t think so.” silence stood for a moment while both were finishing their coffees and putting lunch sandwiches in bags “okay, let’s go. House won’t paint itself.”
Joshua winked at Alfie and both went for their car.
Alfie sat by the wheel and drove them to work. On solid twenty minute drive, Joshua head tilted down and up from music he put on the stereo. Alfie didn’t minded music, he honestly didn’t care for it at all; there could be silence or music, he would just keep driving. Constantly opened vent on cars ceiling was Alfie’s source of ignorance for sound in the car.
They would spend a couple of minute for preparing everything for painting right after they arrive. Joshua always tried to just grab the paintbrush and go, but Alfie’s voice from behind kept reminding about the plastic cover on the ground.
“Dude, you really want to scrape that off if you drop a pain on the ground?”
“I kinda don’t give a flying fuck about it. Come on, it can be washed off.”
“Not this color. Trust me and start doing what I’m saying.”
“SIR, YES SIR.”
Joshua laughed and mocked Alfie every time when he would make him feel like a stud.
Time began flying after they both picked up paintbrushes and began painting the remaining house. Joshua like this, it was the most meditative work he had in ages. The constant movement of the paintbrush and still movement gave him the joy to continue doing it without a break, but there was one “but”. Sun began raising behind them and there was no shadow to sit into while painting. All that left for them was to continue painting and get through the day. Right after Joshua saw the sun coming he undressed topless and Alfie began telling him how stupid idea that is.
“Man, we’re gonna be roasted anyways. Why not get tanned on the way.”
“You’ll mark my words later.” Joshua ‘pffft’ him and continued on.
Despite hot sun roasting their back, time went by like it had wings. From seconds went minutes and after the hours. Just after a blink of a time, there already were having lunch under the shadow. Alfie always brought with him a teapot, to boil hot water on lunch break. He liked to have warm coffee or tea with him and Joshua always mocked him for bringing extra stuff with him to work.
“Why don’t you just get a thermos for this kinda thing?”
“You want to buy a thermos for me?”
“Why it has to be someone else. You’re the one using it.” Aflie huffed lightly and spoke no word after it.
They both sat in silence during lunch break, it was the only time they didn’t argue about anything. Complete silence for each of them to enjoy. Despite lasting only half an hour, they enjoyed it. It passed faster than they thought and quickly they got back to work.
After the lunch break, it always got hotter and hotter. Sweat began pouring down from their foreheads. Joshua’s back was already gaining red color – his back didn’t get used to it. He would start complaining about the heat, but there was nothing he could do.
“Holly shit man. The heat is ruthless today. Look.” he rubbed some part of his skin off from his back “this is why you told it’s a stupid idea.”
“Not just that, but yes. I would never do that kinda thing. Remeber that our yogurt skins ain’t used to this heat.”
“Right.” Joshua didn’t listen to his advice anyways and continued painting topless.
It went for hours, the end of the day was a few hours away and Joshua started to become happy about the end coming close. A speaker which he brought with them was starting to run out of juice and that meant only one thing – the day is coming to an end.
“Look, man,” Joshua pointed to passing by ladies with his chin and whistled quietly “would you look at that ass. And we have to roast here; while they can enjoy this, we have to struggle, damn.” he continued looking at them when suddenly Alfie’s palm hit back of his head.
“Dude, snap out of it. We have job to do.”
“Come on man, its only hour or so left. Let me admire the view.”
“Focus man. We’ll be staying longer because we have to finish this.”
“No, man, please. We can do it tomorrow. We work like two potatoes anyways. Look how you painted it,” he pointed to the wall where few blank places were left “you’ll have to go over it anyway.
Alfie painted over the places he missed and began talking.
“Listen. Boss said it has to be done, then it has to be done. How can’t you understand that?”
“Dude, it’s our time we’re sacrificing for him, he should thank us for it. Besides, we already working extra hours every day, all because you need some cash.” Joshua muttered under his nose about the Alfe being suck up for cash.
“No, no, no. Nothing, keep painting.”
Both looked at each other meanly and continued the same motion they began doing in the morning.
Joshua’s passion for painting disappeared only because of someone like Alfie because he was the one who always made them stay longer. He was the one who refused to go home earlier. Alfie didn’t enjoy working, he did it only for a paycheck and Joshua had to stick around – for he was the only one who understood what Alfie was telling.
Sun was beginning to set down; as it set, Joshua’s smile raised. He couldn’t believe that they did it; they got through another hot day and managed to finish it.
“Hell yeah. Can’t believe I’m telling this, but I need a beer after this.” Joshua didn’t drink on regular basses, but on a day like this, he would make an exception.
“Shame that all shops are closed.” Alfie laughed.
“Fuck you, man. This is bullshit.” Joshua kicked the dust off the ground and stormed to gather all the garbage after them.
Everything was done and it was time to go home. Get good nights rest and go on another pace, doing god knows what. They jumped in the car, this time with Joshua by the wheel. He grabbed car key which stood in the ignition all that, genuinely turned them and nothing. He tried multiple times and nothing. Both glance at each other, trying to figure out whats causing it.
“Alfie, what did you do with the car in the morning?”
He leaned back in the car seat and covered his face with a hat like he has nothing to do with it.
Joshua’s look ran over everything that could cause it and then he saw it. The light switch for lights was turned on, it appeared it had been on all they long.
“Alfie, you dumb fuck.” Joshua was pissed. Not that he only had to stick around, but that now they have to come up with something creative to get to work.
Joshua pointed to the light switch and Alfie stared at it confused. He knew what he did, but couldn’t speak a word for it; it was his fault and he knew it.
“Well Alfie, I have an idea. You have to push the car and I’ll try to start it that way.”
“Why you just don’t call the boss, he can fix this situation.”
“Aha, and wait for an hour or so for him to arrive. I don’t think so. Come on, chop-chop will ya.”
Alfie jumped out of the car and began pushing it. It was a small car, small enough for one guy to get it moving by himself. Alfie was a big guy and slow, but somehow he managed to push it until decent speed. Joshua shifted right into second gear. The car rattled a little bit, and soon he heard engine reeving. With a slight push to the gas pedal, the car began moving forward. Joshua hit his hands against the wheel from the joy he had and stopped the car for Alfie to catch up on it. When he got in, Joshua said words he thought he won’t say.
“Alfie! You won’t be driving this. Not that you are a terrible driver, but because you forget shit. This isn’t the first time shit like that happen and I don’t want this to grow into a regular thing. It’s miracle we got it started.”
Alfie grunted and didn’t say a word. He didn’t have to, everything was said already. Behind them, they could see sun settling down and the road ahead of them began turning darker. Joshua stepped on the gas, driving them both home, home, where they could have peace after the day like this.