No Red, Yellow, Green, or anything as interesting.
No picture, just letters.
“You just gonna sit there, or you gonna paint” Sarge yells toward me, not even bothering to lift his head from the scratch game he’s got going with some of the boys from the 509th.
What’s there to paint? It’s just lettering. Boring lettering.
Reaching into the front pocket of my overalls, I pull out a pencil as I approach the shiny unpainted metallic side of the B-29.
I lean in to block the sun from my work.
With deliberate slow strokes, my pencil traces the outline of precise letters on the side of the plane.
I should make this at an angle, huh?
Anything to make it more interesting!
What shit, having to paint letters on a plane when I could be doing much more interesting art.
Why can’t I paint a honey, similar to what I did on half the planes in the 313th?
A sweet body with a couple of breasts, now that’s art.
Lettering. . . There’s nothing artistic about lettering. . . even if it’s at an angle.
I erase the E, N, and O with vigor before pulling out a ruler to measure for two parallel lines at a 30 degree angle to the cockpit windows.
The first line is easy, as I can do it by site.
The second just requires me to measure down one foot on one end, do it again on the other end, then connect my dots.
“It’s just lettering, get on with it!” Sarge yells as he throws a wad of cash into the pot.
Just cause you’re having a bad game don’t mean you should yell at me.
“Will do, Sarge. Getting on with it.” I reply.
I start sketching out the letters again, this time at an angle on the lines.
What is an Enola?
Why is it gay?
What a strange name for a plane.
“Stop mess’n around and just paint already!” Sarge yells.
He must really be losing.
With deliberate slowness, I pry the lid off the black paint can, setting the lid to the side.
The one paint can.
The only paint can.
The lonely paint can.
In the past I’ve painted beautiful works of art. Gorgeous women based off pictures which somehow always get lost on their way back to their rightful owners.
No pic here. Just damned letters.
Letters that don’t even make no sense.
Descending to my knees, I pick up the stirrer before placing it gently in the can of paint.
I start swirling the stirrer around in a small circle within the center of the can as I look up at the beautiful canvas before me.
I could paint this whole beautiful bomber.
Before I die, I want to paint a whole bomber to look like a woman. Oh, how that would look. No one could shoot down such a beautiful piece of art.
Picking up my thin brush, I dip its bristles into the black paint. Dry bristles soak up paint, pulling it above the point at which I stopped dipping.
I turn to the bomber to begin outlining the pencil scratches.
Even just putting on letters, I love the feeling of first putting paint to metal. Seeing that first drop of paint touch the metallic surface, covering it with a shiny coating as if to say, I now complete you.
Slowly the letters start to take shape; black outlines on a glimmering metal background.
As I finish the Y I take a step back.
It’s a good angle.
It’s utterly boring.
Maybe Enola is a woman. Maybe she’s happy about something. Now that I can work with. A happy woman, I can paint a happy woman!
“Finish up already, will’ya!” Sarge belts out from a different place.
Looking around, I can’t see him.
“Don’t be looking for me, just get this job done. I wanna get back on the other side of the fence so we can snag some chow before the flyboys get back.”
It’s only 3:20 and he’s already thinking of dinner. No wonder he’s so fat.
“On it Sarge, finishing up already.” I reply just as I notice him lounging in the shade of a neighboring bomber.
If he’s in such a hurry, why don’t he pick up a brush and help me out?
Setting down the fine brush, I pick up the filler: A thick bristled wide brush to finish off the lettering.
I quickly fill in all of the letters so no black went outside my pencil marks.
Taking a step back, I admire my handiwork.
Not bad for a rush job, even if it’s boring.
“Watch your step paint monkey” someone yells at me as I keep backing up.
I turn to find myself face to face with a cart being pulled by a group of frustrated looking men.
“Damn it, now we got to get this think moving again you jerk.” One of them yells.
On the cart in front of me sits a bomb like none I’ve seen.
“Move it, artist. We have work to do.” The same one yells at me.
I quickly step out of the way of the cart as I watch them heave it back into motion.
They lug that thing toward a bomb loading pit next to the plane I just painted.
“Hey, any of you guys know what Enola Gay means?” I ask no one in particular.
“Yeah, it’s the name of Colonel Tibbet’s Mom.“ One of them yells as they keep moving, not even bothering to look back.
Glad I didn’t add boobs then.
Who names a plane after his mom?
“Clean up, let’s go!” Sarge calls as he heads towards me.
I head back to my painting supplies. Sarge joins me, helping me pick’em up and put’em away.
“Who names a plane after his ma?” Sarge asks.
“Don’t know Sarge. Some Colonel names Tibbits, I guess.” I reply as we start walking toward South Field.