The Sign Painter
There’s one more nasty story I’ve got to tell before moving on to more decent folks. I had been working in the north of the perimeter along the west side of the river on some commercial property which I’d leased to a local grocer when I came across some vacant land owned by a local architect. Of course I had my signs up and we were working toward building an upscale residential community along the river.
That’s when I got a phone call from a very well known sign painter. He was the go to guy around town for the window paintings he specialized in. It turned out that he had bought a large old house on Scotia Avenue not far from the property I had listed. I guess he saw my sign there and decided to call.
I arrived at a rather large, rambling old bungalow, not much to look at on the outside, but it had a neat enough yard leading all the way back to the river. At first glance, the place certainly had potential. Once inside, I was pleasantly surprised by the brightness of the place. Well of course, the sign painter could paint more than just signs. He had knocked out a few walls and combined the living room/dining room into a large sitting area, somewhat like a lounge with ample seating, coffee and card tables etc. The whole thing had the appearance of a social club.
Then we went downstairs. Well what a surprise THAT was. Leather couches and chairs all facing the giant television on the end wall. The other wall had an old wood fed stove with a warming oven like we used to have on the farm – but it wasn’t hooked up to a chimney or anything.
“I rent this place out to groups of people wanting to have a quiet, relaxing weekend and just party a little. It’s ideal!” the sign man said enthusiastically. He walked over to the oven and opened the warming oven above. It was crammed full of VCR’s
“There,” he said. “Entertainment galore: I picked the whole bunch up from a German fellow. These are good stories.” He stuck one into the VCR player and turned it on.
Well, I’m no prude, so I watched, looking for some sort of story line. There was none. Finally I could make my exit. But before I could do that, he felt obligated to explain the whole business to me.
He’d had this marvelous idea to rent this place out to groups of people to do what they wanted to do. He wouldn’t be involved in anything but collect the rent. And to furnish the place from time to time as needed.
His wife on the other hand expressed the sentiment that this was absolutely the stupidest idea he’d ever had, and if he didn’t get rid of the place soon, he wouldn’t have his home either.
I finally got to get a word in edgewise and told him while it was an interesting idea, it was way out of my league and I couldn’t help him.
I went back to the office to breathe a little clean air.