Calvin Rose had a big trawler, the “EsCal,”with lots of nets and the finest equipment. In late fall and winter the EsCal was used for sink netting off of Cape Lookout. Calvin was good at what he did, and made a very good living in those few months when croakers, spots and sea-mullet schooled on the back side of the breakwater. So it was that there were always plenty of men and boys who wanted to join his crew and earn a part of the money that he shared out on just about every Saturday.
One of them (nameless for now) approached him one evening as Calvin was leaving Cab’s store. He explained that times were really hard for him and that he really wanted and needed a job on Calvin’s boat — and the sooner the better. But Calvin was wise to the habits and the history of the man, and knew for certain that he was not what he wanted as part of his crew.
Still, Calvin was friends with his family and unwilling to offend either him or them. So he knew he couldn’t just turn him down right there on the spot. Instead he came up with a scheme that would allow the job-seeker to retain some dignity, and the boat to have only the crew the captain wanted.
“Here’s what you do,” he told the man. “Tomorrow morning at 6:00 sharp you come down to the dock where we keep our boat. If the boat is there, it means ‘we’ are not going. If the boat is not there, it means ‘you’ are not going!”
“Thanks,” the man said as he headed toward home. “I’ll be there. All I wanted was a chance!”