For November 2012 Jim Hilton

For November

      Genre    :                         Steampunk
Element to include:       Surgery
Conflict/Theme/Motif:  Divorce

3 words selected from “River God”, by Wilbur Smith behavior  unpleasantness   unguarded

Big Wheel

Everything was starting to come together for me now.  My fortune was assured if I could just complete another handful of experiments to prove the worth of my invention.  I had the land and the building, more and more wagonloads of parts were arriving, it was almost time for the final assembly.

My wife – well, she’s my ex-wife now, could never understand my passion for the great undertaking.  She whined and pecked at me, and finally her behavior, her total lack of understanding, drove us to divorce.  I had always loved her, I love her still, but now I have entered into a life of solitude and loneliness, all for the sake of my fantastic endeavor.  I hope it will all be worth it – I fervently hope so.

The custom forged parts for the giant flywheel are now bolted together and the overhead crane has lifted it into its final position, nested next to the oversized boiler.  One more day, then the drive belt will marry the two parts; soon the world will know what Thaddeus Praxton is capable of!  I will show them, they’ll see now!  I must be careful not to reveal too soon the secret of the mechanism, I cannot let slip in an unguarded moment the purpose for which it has been constructed.

The unpleasantness of the divorce, the acrimonious exchanges, the fight over the money; it was all behind me now.  Now I could finish my work without distraction.  It was troubling to remember that one experiment gone wrong which resulted in the surgery on my right arm.  I have learned from it, though – no more unshielded drive belts to grab the unwary.  I must remain vigilant and maintain all the safeguards for steam power and motive force – death can seize the careless.  Progress, but not at the cost of life or limb!

Now Westinghouse and Tesla, even Edison, will take notice!  My innovations and ground-breaking devices will place me in the history books well above them!  I pity the investors who will discover their lives ruined because they backed the wrong horse.  I will laugh in their faces as I revel in my tickertape parade down Broadway.  Oh yes, the days of those so-called “inventors” are numbered.  If only they knew, if only they could guess.  My victory will be resounding and complete!  From Nobody to Hero in one fell swoop, and so easily done!

At last the day has arrived, my sweet hour of success and fame!  I begin by stoking the fire under the boiler with almost a whole cord of wood, with more at the ready.  The flames lick at the dry wood, crackling and smoking, making heat waves rise off the black body of the boiler.  The needle on the steam gauge begins its inexorable climb, quivering, reaching for the magic level of power required to move the monster flywheel.  I begin to open the main steam valve and step back, feeling the throbbing, the beating of the huge heart of the machine.

Just then the flywheel fell off and crushed me – the doctor says I won’t live ‘til morning.  Thaddeus Praxton, another victim of progress.  How cruel is Fate!


About Jim Hilton

Just having a good time writing about our little adventures.
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