We finally got our hands on real tools this week. Betty, Susan and I are out of the classroom and onto the trade school's shop floor. I've been learning how to use a pneumatic gun to drive rivets through pieces of metal into a "bucking bar" to create a secure fastener. By repeating this process hundreds of times we can stitch huge slabs of metal into a bomber. Susan likens it to sewing.
But it's hardly a genteel afternoon of quilting. The gun, while only about the size of a pistol, is heavy and I have to hold it in awkward positions. At the end of every day my arms ache as though I've been lifting weights, and I fear I'll develop a physique like Charles Atlas. Betty misses no opportunity to remind former starlet Jane of the same thing, suggesting she can audition for the role of Tarzan after the war if Johnny Weissmuller retires. Jane replies that there might be a role for Betty if Cheetah retires.
Bickering aside, we're making a lot of progress and we'll soon be ready for the Boeing factory floor. As I ride the bus home every evening, with the hammering sound of the air gun still ringing in my ears, I think of the brave Brits and their desperate last stand in Singapore. Their airmen fly outdated biplanes that are no match for the Zeroes. The sooner we can ramp up aircraft production the better off we and all our allies will be.