A few weeks into the project Rich and Salty walked along the partial deck. They climbed down a ladder into the hull and examined the beam bites.
Overhead on deck Benjamin called down into the hull. “Abernathy.”
“Yes,” Salty said, “what do you need?”
“Remember when I told you last week about sand paper?” Benjamin said.
“Let me guess,” Salty said, “we’re out.”
“Yes,” Benjamin said, “but there is good news. As soon as I realized your mind was full of other things I ordered it myself. Unfortunately, there is a shortage on Antigua. None will be here until next week.”
Rich and Salty climbed up the ladder and back onto the deck and off the boat by another ladder.
At the bottom of the ladder Salty said to Rich, “You and Thomas get everyone together.”
Everyone gathered at the office.
Salty stood in front of everyone. “Can I have everyone’s attention. We have to stop work for a while. I forget to order sandpaper. That’s a big part of this project and we can’t go too much further without it. So I will pay you for today and if you want paid for tomorrow just come by and pick it up. I’m going to continue everybody’s pay. Do me a favor come at starting time. That way if I come up with some things that can be done I’ll have people on hand.”
“I don’t think it’s right to accept money for no work,” one man protested.
“I don’t think it’s right to promise work and it not be there,” Salty said.
“But you will go broke that way,” a woman said.
Salty smiled. “When I go broke then you can work for free. Get your money and quit complaining.”
Salty counted the money as he distributed it. The workers slowly walked from the work site and onto the road back to Cordington. Some split off and walked the other direction.
Salty sat at his desk and delved into the drawings. Rich and Thomas picked up loose lumber and other materials and stowed them in or near the boat.
“Salty!” Rich said and motioned toward the pathway to the road.
Somewhere the workers reassembled and now marched in full force toward the work site.
Salthy stretched forward from his chair. “I told them they could go home.”
Benjamin led the workers to Salty’s desk.
“Is this some sort of union worker’s upraising?” Salty said
“You are a busy man with many things on your mind,” Benjamin said. “We wondered how you are going to get the boat into the water when it is complete?”
Salty thumbed to the bottom of the drawings and pulled out a large sheet of paper. He laid it on top of the other drawings. “Here take a look. I’m going to build a superstructure around the boat. It will be rolled to the beech at low tide and then pulled by boats at high tide. If my calculations are correct the boats will only have to move it no more than the total length of the boat before she floats on her own.”
“If we wait until the boat is ready it will take us time to build the superstructure,” Benjamin said. “We have nothing to do, let’s do it now.”
Salty pressed his lips trying to hide a smile.
Benjamin smiled. “It will improve your bottom line.”
Salty looked curiously at Benjamin.
“You can only build so many boats on the island,” Benjamin said. “But taking care of businesses books can keep a man busy.”
Salty pulled the drawer the the desk open and placed a ledger at the edge of the table. “There you are Benjamin; you are now my accountant.”
“I will gladly do so,” Benjamin said. “And we will start building the launching devise immediately.”
By the time the sandpaper arrived a superstructure enveloped the boat and railing lead to the beach had been roughly constructed.