This story takes place in a small sheet metal shop in the San Francisco Bay area. When I served my sheet metal apprenticeship I ended up working with an old crotchety New Zealander named Doug. As it turns out this master craftsman taught me many things and we became longtime friends. Doug had a sailboat that he built in in his backyard that almost stayed trapped there forever. But that's another story. He moored the forty eight foot cutter not far from where we worked. In fact, it was close enough that we would sometimes have lunch aboard if the weather was nice. We sailed the bay almost every Sunday for quite a few years. Eventually he retired from that shop and sailed his boat back to New Zealand where he lives now.
In a close knit competitive shop like this one every little mistake is broadcast like a news bulletin. You have a better chance of hiding the fact you like to wear makeup and women’s underwear than keeping even the smallest screw up secret. Well lets just say old Stevie boy was on the front page of the f-up tribune more than his fair share.