What follows is obviously not for publication, nor was it meant to be.
Please don’t think me mad. What you are about to read may well give you cause to doubt my very sanity, but I assure you, it’s true.
I came as close today to burning my boat as I’ve ever been. Fortunately, the judicious use of the Moaning Chair, gave me pause to reflect, and reconsider. You’d have, no doubt, seen the smoke in Texas.
I chose to share this with you, as I know you to be a man of the cloth, (sailcloth, that is) and a man of the sea, so I know you too, have witnessed strange occurrences, unexplained events.
My story begins this morning. I went out towards the barn, contemplating a pleasant two to three hour 80 grit sanding of my current project, a Bolger Tennessee known as The Big Lebowski. I had applied the second coat of epoxy a couple of days ago and felt enough time had passed for a cure. As I approached the door, I was filled with musings of now being able to pop on the chines, rub rail and bottom. I even allowed myself to hazard some consideration of colors. Should I use the two gallons of purple that the tenant picked out and then changed her mind about, leaving me stuck with $120,00 of custom mixed color, or bite the bullet for the off white? I reached the door, entered and fumbled towards the lights. Upon unleashing the electronic glow, my eyes met a sight, which nearly blasted me back into the chair. There, upon the hull, clung sixty feet of goo, in a fashion that can only be compared to a perfectly smooth pane of glass, upon which every asthmatic in the state of Maryland had let forth the entire contents of their nostrils. Instead of proudly gazing upon the beatific results of what had been, for me, the first “big glass job” I’d ever done, I faced my darkest fear, an endless view of drips and sags, which seemed to go on forever. Getting over my initial shock, I will say near revulsion, I sat back to consider what had transpired. Giving thought to all possibilities, I was left with only one conclusion, the only action that could have resulted in this terrible state of affairs. King Kong had sneezed on my boat! Yes, all the evidence was present and clear, clear as glass.
Now I know there will be some who will doubt, they’ll say, “perhaps he shouldn’t have mixed the hardener so slow”, or “obviously he rolled it on too thick”. Of course there will be those, not used to working in a solitary fashion, as I am, who will remark, “why didn’t he get another pair of hands?” To all those nay Sayers I reply, “Pshaw!” Because I’ve seen the facts. Consider this, we have Shelly’s monster, Stokers vampire, Bigfoot and the entire Bush administration. How far of a stretch is it to imagine a thirty-foot tall ape who would mistake a Bolger box for a box of Kleenex? Upon careful examination of the amount of the substance, (lots) and the trajectory, (up to down), I am left with no other explanation than the one I’ve provided. I’d witnessed something like this once before, many long years ago. I was serving out a sentence on a Cheoy Lee ketch when I decided to varnish all those lovely wooden spars. The job that looked so sweet that day appeared as spew in the morning. The hecklers cried out, “ Why didn’t you thin it out? And “ told you it was too damn hot!” But I sensed, even then, the workings of a more sinister force.
Please, I beseech you; don’t notify the FBI, nor Homeland security. This fight is mine. When the kids get home from school we will proceed to establish tiger pits and trip lines around the perimeter of the barn. No Have-a Heart traps for this creature. No mercy for Ahab’s whale.
I thought you, of all people, with your standing and experience in the amateur boat-building field, would understand, should know of this event, this scourge upon our craft. You have the means to get the word out without causing a panic. If you never hear from me again, know that I gave my all for the cause.
s you may recall from our past correspondence, I told you about the creature, the beast in the night, which savagely and with extreme malice, violated the sanctity of my boating project, a Bolger Tennessee known as the Big Lebowski. I write to you now with news of a further development of which you should be aware. I now have proof positive of the creature’s existence, although it’s whereabouts, and true purpose remain clouded in dust. It is as if I’m trying to witness a dark, savage ritual, thru the dimness of time…I apologize; I digress. Some history must be noted. Two days past, I set out, having covered the bottom of my craft with the prescribed six ounce cloth, to complete the encapsulation process by applying not one, but two finish coats of the now dreaded epoxy, that marvel of modern chemistry, at once so seductive, and yet, at the same time, capable of the most unimaginable and frightening results. Having applied the first coat with satisfactory results early in the morning, I set about to wait the prescribed time until, smooth, but not yet hardened, I could vigorously fulfill my task. This period was made quite haphazard as I was called upon to fulfill other pressing obligations of the purely domestic nature. These included taking the boy to the doctor. Being un-diagnosable, I then brought him home. I then proceeded to wash two loads of laundry, colors as well as whites, picking up the car from repair, although it still stalls, and lastly, transporting the girl to her dancing lesson.
To continue with my story; having finally dispensed with all domestic responsibilities, I was able to, once again, retreat to the barn, that great bastion of nautical embellishment. Alas, so much time had passed, daylight had failed and I was forced to face the prospect of either continuing my great work in the dim light provided by my lamps, or waiting till daybreak, and sanding between coats. Not the type to be faint of heart, trusting in my ability to overcome any obstacle and not wishing at all to sand, I proceeded on. What ensued could perhaps only be explained as coating, by Braille. Try as I knew I must, I found the glare of the halogen work lights off the brilliant and seductive hull, precluded me from keeping good sight on where the application began, and then did end. On I pressed, having committed myself to the task by mixing up a rather large quantity of the vile goo. Utilizing that other marvel of modern industry, the foam brush, I continually wiped the newly applied epoxy. This allowed me to not only assess where fresh resin was called for, but assured me that I was not applying material too aggressively, that I would maintain, and perhaps even enhance, that seductive glow, the brilliant luster for which we strive.
Having satisfied myself that the task was satisfactorily completed, but with the memory, all too vivid, of that foul beasts previous attack upon my hull, I armed myself with a new pack of foam brushes, and proceeded to wait. Every so often, when I thought I sensed a sound, or the shift of a shadow, I would take a fresh brush, and proceed to circumvent my craft, wiping away any trace of shifting liquid. I kept the heater stoked, so as to hasten that chemical reaction within the amber goo, allowing it to remain where my careful caress had placed it. Having satisfied myself that sufficient time had elapsed to begin a cure, and feeling that my diligence had warded off any thought of attack, I headed myself towards bed, as one day turned into the next. That evening, I allowed myself the luxury of leaving the shop lights on, the heater burning thru the night, as further insurance against attack.
You may, at this junction, share my disbelief when the following morning, taking my coffee, as is my habit, out to the barn to marvel at my previous nights success, I once again beheld a sight which no man should have to witness once, let alone twice in the same year. Again, the beast had risen. Again that foul creature, which must surly dwell in a land far beyond the terror of men, again my boat had suffered that horrific humiliation. Although the bottom itself had been allowed to keep it’s pristine glow, the curvature of the same, where it flowed sweetly into the once perfectly sanded smooth chine, now appeared as an ear of corn, with its kernels alternately rising and falling into tiny little valleys in Hell.
I’ve spent the greater part of this day removing all traces of the beast’s trespass. With the help of my good friend Porter Cable, we were able to restore the chines to their once proud standing. They, along with the freshly sanded bottom, await fresh paint, the first to so grace The Lebowski. Meanwhile, my purpose is clear. I’ll not rest until this monster is destroyed. The Lebowski will become my chariot in our quest for revenge. We will seek it out along the shores of this land, and the next if we must. Tonight, I’ll outfit the shop vac with a remote photographic devise, as well as flares. I’ll initiate the capability of firing the stapler on full auto. Nothing living could survive that onslaught. By God let the hunt begin!
I share this tale with you Chuck in the hope that you, given your position as publisher and editor of that widely read paper, Duckworks, can spread the word, transmit a warning. Let the others know of this threat, this peril that threatens to overshadow all our labors. Perhaps a list of “sightings”, to follow where the beast has struck? If we could trace it’s track we may be able to capture the slime, and finally put it’s evil works to rest.
Beware The Beast Chuck, beware The Beast,