“What are they calling you?” he asked, both because everything was loud and also because the words seemed so close to that other slightly politically incorrect phrase.
Looking up from the task, Short Brush shouted, “What? Oh. Short brush.”
“Short bus?” he guessed, yelling in attempt to inch closer to a conclusion.
“No. Short brush.”
“I don’t get it.”
The two men silently went about their work for awhile before Pete began again. He asked, “Is it a some kind of play on short bus? They didn’t seem to use it to flatter you.”
Exhaling in an only slightly annoyed fashion, Short Brush began a practiced recitation. “It’s short brush. When we clean the rig, there is a normal sized deck brush type brush, and then there is a shorter brush. Everyone thinks I’m a little slow, so they call me short brush.”
“Oh,” he said, pausing for the same reason one does when securing his footing in order to prepare to handle a heavy load. Attempting to not betray his thoughts, he quickly continued, “I see.”
“But I’m not slow. You married, Pete? My wife had divorce papers written up on my last ‘days off.’ We’re going to counseling now and it seems to be helping, but when she told me, I kinda felt like a failure.”
“Yeah, she says I’m not the man she married. She says that when I’m home, I never want to do anything anymore, and that I have no friends. I just don’t like people. I don’t like to hang out with her friends and their husbands.”
“Yeah. I hate when you’re supposed to enjoy yourself. I don’t go out much either. Never really have.”
“Sounds like you may be like me then. You’re alright Pete.”
“Thanks Short Brush.”