May. 5th, 2011

Apologies to Pirsig.

I had built my boat out of cypress, as the Lord had commanded. It was built in an old style, but it was seaworthy, and I knew every inch of the Ark like the back of my hand. It had weathered several weeks of deluge and hadn't sunk, so I knew my handiwork was pretty good. Still, things go wrong. I had my boy Japheth down in the bilge.

"How much water?" I asked. Japheth handed up the measuring-pole and climbed up after it.

"About two cubits," he said. Japheth is my youngest, a good boy but troubled about his place in the universe. I was glad to have him along on this adventure. I thought it would be good for both of us.

"Two cubits is a lot," I said. "Do you know why we've taken on so much water?"

Japheth shrugged. Ark maintenance wasn't something that interested him greatly, but I was determined to teach him something of the business, for his own good.

"It's because of wave action," I said. "Flexure of the seams. The boards strain one way and then the other. The caulking holds under minimal strain, but under the maximum small leaks develop. The cumulative effect is that we take on significant water."

"Okay," said Japheth. "What do we do?"

"Well," I said, "I need to be recaulking the seams on the fly. You get down there with the hand-pump and start bailing."

Japheth didn't like that. Working the hand-pump is hard work, especially when you're waist-deep in the bilge. "I bet Ham and Shem aren't bailing," he grumbled.

Ham and Shem are my other sons. They were in the other boat. Shem had bought it at the last minute from a merchant. It was new and fancy, with planking made of yew, and two masts with the newfangled square sails that were supposed to be the next big thing. They had half the beasts and birds over there in their boat, which they had named _Deliverance_.
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