Bill Mills' room

Bill Mills

 Red Hot Brushes

by  Bill Mills


20 -  .

On a Monday morning I arrived at another of the Puffers and heard slurred greetings from two of the crew sitting on a plank suspended by ropes over the side. Each had a paint pot beside them. I observed that they looked very much the worse of wear probably from the previous nights sojourn ashore.

          On board the Skipper had just started explaining to me what was wrong with VHF radio when we heard loud , agitated shouts of

“Fire! Fire Fire”.  We both rushed out on deck to find an old town worthy on the quay shaking his head and laughing. He pointed his pipe at the two hung-over crewmen “ Look at them – they are painting so fast their brushes are on fire.”  The two seamen were dozing quite happily- their brushes stationary on the hull keeping them both from falling off the plank. With a certain amount of coarse adjectival verbosity the Skipper shocked them into anxious painting activity.  The old worthy nearly choked on his pipe—then called out  “Christ! Look at them go –well done Skipper.”

Bill Mills