User:Dr. Skullthumper/Amadeus Winds a Watch
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If there’s one thing to be said about this recent technology boom, it’s that a fellow can make a decent living for himself fixing all the broken machinery around the place. For as long as there are devices being built there will always be misaligned gears and stopped-up valves; and so long as there is money coming in there will be Amadeus to fix them.
It is a mundane Wednesday evening and I am closing up my shop as is the usual. The day has proved uneventful and I am left to assume that all the cogs in Newburg are spinning unhindered. I am prepared to flip the end-of-the-day switch – the one that changes the letters displayed just above the shop’s entrance from “OPEN” to “CLOSED” using a mechanism of my own invention – when a man walks inside in the most casual manner.
He stops almost immediately, transfixed by the various devices I keep on display just beyond the portal. I call them my Curiosities. To the customer they are a gleaming display of gadgetry; to me, a load of gears and the like thrown together, polished, and made to move around a bit. I confess I am a cynical person, but the way people will stare at a disassembled potato peeler in awe does nothing to divert my philosophy.
“Good evening!” he declares when he catches my eye. His left arm is wrapped in leather, which in turn is wrapped in the mess of gears and coils that people have come to recognize as Technology. He has the voice of a man who is certain he Knows What He Is Doing, a breed of people who are a devil of a time to convince that No, They Do Not.
“Good evening,” I reply. “I do apologize, sir, but the shop is closed.”
“Sign says it’s open,” says the man reproachfully.
“Indeed it does,” I say, and flip the switch that will ensure this is no longer the case. There is a clattering outside as the letters change and I continue: “Did you, by chance, notice the other sign outside? The one labeled ‘Hours’?”
“Well that’s just the thing, sah! As luck would have it, my watch is broken!”
“Do feel free to bring it in tomorrow,” I say and make a grab for my coat.
“But I’ve got it now,” he says and lifts his leathered arm.
“If you’d care to leave it here I’ll give it a look first thing tomorrow morning.”
“But it’s just a watch, sah,” he insists as if I’m playing some manner of joke on him. “Surely a man like yourself could fix up a watch in a matter of minutes.”
“And so I shall, sir.”
“I knew I could count on you!”
“First thing tomorrow morning.”
Not missing a beat, he smiles and says, “You run a tight business, sah,” and undoes the first of several straps on his left arm.
I wonder what sort of a watch he has under all that. Hopefully something expensive, I think. Eventually he gets all the straps off and plops the whole affair onto the countertop that divides us. His arm, save for a sleeve, is bare.
“I’ll come round the afternoon tomorrow, all right?” he says and makes to leave.
“Um, just a moment,” I say. “Your watch?”
He points to the mess on my counter. My self-awareness must slip a bit for I become aware that I am giving the thing a strange look; the man spies it and, still pointing, begins a terrible chortle. I recognize it as a hallmark of his sort: I have, in his mind, failed some test.
“Oh sah,” says he; “Sah! This is my watch!”
“It is?” I ask, making no attempt to mask my disgust.
“Most accurate watch in the world,” he beams, finally withdrawing his finger. “Surely you’ve heard?”
The man is all smiles and amusement now. “And you are a man of Technology.”
“Am I?” I ask. I do so enjoy it when people tell me about myself. It spares a fellow all the trouble of self-inflection and all that.
“It says so in front of your shop,” says the customer who puts all his faith in signs. “Amadeus Skullthumper, Doctor of Technology.”
I study the thing before me. “A doctor doesn’t have to know every man in the town he practices,” I explain. “He just has to know how to diagnose one.”
“A-ha,” says the man, and falls blessedly silent. I put on my coat and place the device behind the counter, where it sags formlessly.
“Until tomorrow,” I say with finality. The man declares a good-bye and leaves.