The Diamonds of Devils Nest
Or a Day in the Life of a Sign Painter
It’s the Summer of 1986, and I’m painting signs for a living.
In my home town, I’ve put a mural on the side of the Meat Locker, painted more than one downtown window, and finished a sign for the assisted living facility.
Now I’m camped out at the Nine-Mile Corner on the road to Devils Nest, refurbishing the vintage Welcome sign, directing Lewis and Clark Lake travelers south into town.
It’s a hot day. The paint is sticky and I’m covered in it.
This one’s especially tricky because it’s a billboard. So I’m up and down the ladder.
Sitting at the top, I can see for miles.
Drinking a Coke between paint cans, I watch the old man coming for quite a ways before he pulls his beat up pickup in next to my truck.
“What’cha doing, young man?” he says, like it’s not obvious.
“Painting the sign,” I say.
“You wouldn’t be hiding any stolen loot, would you?”