Last night was the bi-weekly Quad Cities Writers' Meet-Up, and our writing assignment was a bit of drabble (a short vignette based on a random sentence)
My sentence was:
"How about we start by taking out those wires you seem to have shoved in your leg"
This is my drabble.....
“How about we start by taking out those wires you seem to have shoved in your leg?”
“I’d rather not. They appear to be integral to the function of that appendage.”
“I see.” He cranked up the resolution on his bifocal magnifiers and stared hard at the jumbled mess of wires, cogs and springs hanging from the leg of his new friend. “And how, pray tell, did you happen to find yourself in this predicament?”
“An apparent misfortune that began in the home of my creator. As I ran after the man who murdered him, I became entangled in a fisherman’s net and fell. At which point this,” he pointed to his leg, “happened.”
“Someone murdered your creator? By Jove! A devil of a thing!” The Professor stroked his beard. It was neither well-cared for nor much loved, but it kept his chin warm on cold nights in the laboratory. “I suppose we’d best get you off the streets. The copper and silver in your chassis would fetch a fair price at market to the right salvager.”
“Indeed.” The metal man stood as best he could with one mangled leg, wobbling a bit but managing to stay upright. He tipped his tall, copper stovepipe to the Professor. “I must find the man who murdered my creator.”
“Tell me why,” the Professor urged as they hobbled slowly along the dank cobblestoned street. It was nearing midnight, the fog hanging low and the lamplight dim. Every step the metal man took was a creak and a scream in the night.
“It is against the law to murder someone.”
“What do you know of law?”
“Only what I have been programmed to know. But I read books as quickly as I can. I wish to learn more.”
The Professor was quiet as they approached a door set back in the wall of a tavern. He opened it with a jangling set of iron keys and allowed his comrade to lean on his shoulder as he hopped up the stairs.
The metal man looked around at the Professor’s laboratory. “You are a scientist as well?”
“A dabbler, at best,” the Professor demurred. He pulled out a stool, to which the metal man slumped. The gray haired man bent over the twisted metal of the leg and pursed his lips. “This will require more expertise than I have.”
“I require a set of pliers and three ingots of copper, if you have them. I will repay you when I can, of course.”
The Professor hunted through his haphazard box of tools and supplies before handing the items to the steam-driven man. He watched in awe as the metal man set about repairing his leg with delicate precision. Much more quickly than any human could have done.
"And now you’ll away to chase down your master’s murderer, I presume?” the Professor said wistfully. He admired the work of the genius which could have invented such a bonny work as this.
“I must,” the metal man confirmed as he stood. “I have to avenge my creator, if I can.”
“Then allow me to follow,” the Professor said with a click of his booted heels, freshly sooted with ashes from his fireplace. “I daresay one last adventure in my dotage is just what I need.”
The copper man seemed to consider, but at last he nodded. “As you wish. My creator always said that a man’s greatest asset are the friends he chooses for his own.”
“Are we friends, then?” The professor inquired with a grin. It was his greatest adventure, indeed, to be befriended by a creature such as this!
“Yes. You shall be my very first friend."
artwork courtesy of Steampunk Steampunker