Painting Cars Part Two
I turned to one of my little pals, Chucky. Chucky was a cute little five-year-old with blonde hair and a buzz cut.
“Hey, Chucky, look what I found in the bushes, An open can of white paint and a piece of board that we can use like a brush,”
“That’s cool. What are you going to do with it?” Chucky asked with a quizzical look on his face. My little buddy probably hadn’t washed his face in about a week. You could almost see a film of dark grey covering his face.
“See that red Ford Thunderbird just off to my left?” I asked
“Yeah, it’s a beauty,” Chucky replied.
“It is indeed a beauty, but you know what it’s missing?”
“What?” Chucky asked.
“It needs a little white stripe along both sides of the car,” I said.
“Yeah, it would probably make the car look even cooler,” Chucky said. He was starting to shift and shuffle his feet. You’re not thinking what I’m thinking are you? Chucky asked.
“Well, we’ve got the equipment. We’d be doing the guy who owns the car a big favour,” I said. “Chucky, look in the bush and see if you can find another piece of wood that we can paint with.”
Chucky started to sort through the brambles when he spotted the handle of a small brush under a large rock. He lifted the rock up and pulled out had a dried- out paint brush. It still had partly solidified yellow paint on it. Chucky shared his find with me.
“An actual paint brush, that’s even better as it has some yellow dried out paint on it. All we need to do is find some water to loosen up the paint on the brush,” I said.
Chucky and I looked across the back lane and spotted a waterspout attached to the apartment building. In a couple of minutes, we had a suitably wet paint brush.
“You know something, Chucky? The yellow paint on the brush probably means that there’s still a can of yellow paint somewhere close to where you found the brush,” I said. In less than a minute Chucky and I were stomping through the twigs, branches and discarded garbage in the thicket. Our diligent search paid off. Covered by several copies of old newspapers was a small can of yellow paint. The paint in the can was hard. It had mostly solidified.
“How about if I paint the Plymouth and you work on the Ford Thunderbird?” Chucky suggested.
“That sounds like a plan to me,” I said as I proceeded to dunk my wooden stick into the container of white paint. Chucky did the same with his yellow paint can. It took most of my strength to loosen up the dried out white paint until I got to about the midpoint on my broken piece of wood. Although the paint was a bit waxy, I was able to make a somewhat horizontal white strip along the passenger side of the Ford Thunderbird. Chucky was a little more creative with his handiwork than I was. He started to make several different designs on the blue Plymouth. As I took a short break from my painting job. I walked over to check the car that Chucky was working on to examine his work. In a few short minutes, he had painted a symbol of a star, the moon and his initials, CB.
‘Isn’t it beautiful?” Chucky asked.
“Oh yes, the Plymouth looks so much better now. I wonder if the owners will pay us for this?” I wondered.
“Yeah, maybe the owners will give us five dollars each,” Chucky replied.
“After they pay us, let’s go over to Clancy’s Corner Store and buy some football cards,” I said.
In the nineteen fifties, you could buy a pack of CFL football cards that came with a stick of pink gum. My buddies and I had a lot of fun. both collecting and trading these cards.
Just as we were finishing our conversation, a young woman who was still in her housecoat and curlers ran out of the apartment building’s back door. She started yelling at us, “What do you little brats think that you’re doing? My husband just bought that new Ford Thunderbird last Thursday and now you’ve ruined it. I’m calling the police,” she said as she stomped back to the apartment block.
Chucky and I just froze in our spots. We immediately turned around and took off down the back lane so fast that we were almost tripping over our own feet. When I made it to my house, my grandmother met me at the door. “I see white paint stains on your hands and on your T-shirt. Where have you been young man, and just what have you been up to? Where did all these white paint stains come from?” my grandmother asked.
“My grandmother was a very imposing woman and had a very stern look on her face.
“Chucky and I found an open can of paint in the back lane and started playing around with it,” I said, as my face was starting to turn a deep shade of red. My grandmother looked very suspicious, but seemed to be giving me the benefit of the doubt. A few minutes later, my grandmother, known in the neighborhood as Bapi, was visited by a young man who was one of our neighbours from the apartment block. He was an office clerk about twenty-five years old. His face was beet red and he had tears flowing down his cheeks. He was so distraught that he was stuttering and stumbling over his own words. All my grandmother could make out of his rambling speech were a few keywords and phrases such as ‘your kid’ and ‘painting my brand-new car with an ugly white stripe’. Bapi also could hear the perplexed young man yell loudly, “Who’s going to pay to get my car fixed?”
When my grandmother stared at the young man she heard a car door slam across the street. By looking passed the man’s right shoulder, she could see two police officers approaching our house.
“How are you today, ma’am?” the older police constable asked politely.
With great trepidation, my grandmother asked. “What’s wrong, officer?”
A younger constable climbed up one more step leading to my grandmother’s front porch. “We had a report that your grandson and some of his little friends were vandalizing some cars this afternoon.”
“Yes,” added the older constable with the grey hair, “the boys began applying paint to this man’s Ford Thunderbird and one Plymouth belonging to one of his neighbours.”
Shortly after, another car pulled up. This time it was my parents. My grandmother was trying to tell them what the police officers had just said. The police constables informed them that they were unable arrest such young children and told my parents to discipline me as they saw fit. And believe me, my parents did just that. One at a time, they took turns giving me a very hard spanking.
After the third spanking, it was over. My bottom was now a bright shade of red, I still wondered what I had done to deserve such severe punishment. I was still surprised that the young man who stopped at our front door wasn’t going to pay me for the beautiful white stripe that I had painted on his new red Ford Mustang.