Hand Painted


It must be my age. After I finish one project, I can’t seem to remember how much trouble it was. I look only at the results and next thing I know, I’m planning another.

I’ve had my eye on our mailbox for a while. It is — or should I say “was” red. But the color faded. I already had a can of red spray paint, so it was just a matter of spraying it. One day when I already had on my “painting clothes,” I figured I might as well do this small job and get it out of the way.

Meanwhile, my daughter had a cold and wanted to go to the local convenience clinic to see a doctor.

“Call and I’ll pick you up when you are done,” I told her when I dropped her off. I figured it would be a couple of hours, plenty of time to do my small project before she was done.

I went out to the street where the mailbox is with my can of red paint and a piece of cardboard, which I planned to hold over the parts not to be painted to shield them from the spray. This worked pretty well, except I forgot that while holding the cardboard, my hand would also get sprayed.

By the time I was done, the mailbox looked great, but my hand was a brilliant red. I figured I’d get out the paint thinner and clean it off.

About then, honey yelled out the door that my daughter was on the phone.

“I’m ready,” she said.

“Already?” It’s only been half an hour.

“I was the second patient today,” she explained. “They are not very busy.”

So, I figured that I would go get her and then come home and clean the red paint off.

“They want a co-pay,” she said when I got there, oblivious to the fact that I looked as if I had been in finger-painting class.

Good grief, I have to go inside. I hoped no one would notice my scarlet hand. I kept it behind the counter and used my other hand. No one said anything.

“I have to get medicine,” said my daughter.

“Okay, we can drive thru and drop off the prescription and come back later.”

“I need to wait for it,” she said. “The doctor said to get started on this right away.”

So, off we went to Wal-Mart, where we went inside to the pharmacy. I hadn’t figured on all this when I left home.

“You give it to them,” I said. “I don’t want them to see this painted paw of mine.”

While were waiting, I remember that I was out of my medicine. Might as well get that since I’m here anyhow. I tried to hide my hand-painted hand under the counter again as I bought the medicine. They must have wondered what was wrong with my pitiful arm that I couldn’t move it, but no one said anything.

Then I remember seeing some flowers in the garden shop that I’d like to have. “Do you think I’d have time to buy flowers before they are done?”

I selected a pot of flowers and tried to hide my hand behind my purse as I paid with a debit card. However, it took two hands to pick up the plant and carry it out. Maybe if I just act as if everything is normal, no one will notice that I have a lobster claw, I thought.

“It’s paint — not blood. Have you never seen red paint,” I thought. No one said anything.

Funny, you could probably walk around with a paper sack over your head and everyone would ignore you and pretend not to notice.

I went back and got the medicine, which was ready by then. Concealing the red hand was automatic by now. No one mentioned it.

I’ve had some strange experiences in my lifetime; however, this the first time that I can ever remember being literally caught red-handed.

Copyright 2007 Sheila Moss

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
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