Monday, December 23, 2013

A clockwork Christmas

I thought it would be easy doing this story on a tab, never have I been so wrong... I hope you enjoy my Christmas tale, this mostly is done in one night without any plans but the need to share a story. Whatever you celebrate, just remember to celebrate it with love.

On the midst of gentle snow storm, the streets are empty except for a few wandering souls stuck out in the late night flurry. The cobble stones are laden with fresh packs of winter wonder, as the gentle light from the street lamp gives a glitter like diamonds on the falling flakes.  As Tonight is Christmas eve, and the children in the neighborhood dream of gifts they will never receive. Santa barely comes to this part of London, with the shipping yards closing as work moves overseas the families can hardly keep a roof over their heads, let alone a good meal. Many blinds are shut to keep the cold at bay, only a glimmer of light, just like the childhood dreams shines through.

High above on the third floor on a rooming house lives a tinker named Charles, a shut in of sorts. His only friends are the toys he makes on his sleepless nights. He was once the finest maker of pocket watches in the land, his settings would keep the perfect performance, his gears would run as smooth as time itself. Now with the digital watch, he can only find work fixing automatic conveyors that are taking more work away from the people. Sitting at his desk, as a candle gives out heart and light, he works on his passion. All around him lays a magical sort of odd clockwork animals and people. Above his bed lays a hummingbird gleaming from the light of the candle. Just beside it stands a small ape, his arms leaning on the shelf. There are toy soldiers, bats with large wingspans, a pig with the biggest eyes and curly tail. A giraffe that stands alone, with its head hung low and a small owl, whose head sits upside down giving off the most gentle smile. And in his hand lays the hero, a knight in shinning armor.

Time is running late says the tinker, as he looks to the watch hanging from the wall. If I don't get you finished soon, who will deliver you on Christmas morning? If only you could help me Sir Michael, this job would be so much easier. He flips the knight over and gives the key in its back a twist, and puts it on his desk. The little Knight lifts its sword from his sheath, and starts walking two and fro. I must get to work now, the factory will close to give the workers one day of rest. He walks over and grabs his coat and hat. He turns and walks back to the Knight who has almost fallen from the roll top desk, if I only had more time he whispers. He grabs his watch from the wall as a single tear rolls from his eyes, splashing the glass from the case, and dropping on the laying man on the desk. If I can I will be back before the morrow, then we can find you all a home.

As he opens the door he gives his creations one more look. So much love put in, so many restless nights with a mission he can barely remember how or why it started. As he slams the door on his one room home, the shutter snaps open giving a small breeze in the room, blowing out the candle. A full moon shines through the dirty window, its light reflecting of his marvelous creations. He makes his way down the stairs, saying good evening to miss Daughtry, the night reception. He lifts up his collar and steps out in the cold night.

Mr Finkelstein was a hard man, only paying his employees the smallest of wages. Tonight he is grumpier then ever, having to close down his factory for Christmas always puts him in the worst of moods. The cleaning crew hide from him as he paces the floor. A young man with a broom falls in his view. What are you doing maggot? I told you to clean the gutters from the cutting room floor. I was on my way sir, he says. I just wanted to grab an apron, so I did not get to dirty. Did I offer you a smock boy? No. Now use your own rags and get to that mess, the fish guts don't clean themselves boy. 

Yes, right away. What was that maggot? Sorry uncle. Yes sir, Mr Finkelstein. Right away sir. That's better young Bryer, if it wasn't for your mother being my sister, you would be out in the cold like her tonight. Your father that drunken louse, would still be able to hold his job if he only listened as decent as you. Now get to work before I have a change of heart and fire you also. This is not a charity and I am not a giving man. And don't call me uncle, here I am your lord and you better keep praying you have this job. Yes sir, I mean yes ord.

Charles arrived five minutes late, the clock struck 12:05 as he walked in the door. Mr Finkelstein was on top of the automatic structure, so he can lord high over his subjects. You are late tinker, I will have to dock you an hours wage for this terrible sin. I am only five minutes late sir, as he closes his watch. Do not give me no excuses tinker, for your disobedience you will have to work all day tomorrow also. I have to get my order shipped out and all my lazy staff have taken the day off to spend with their family, as he spits off his little tower. But sir I have a prior engagement morrow, and I need to hopefully get home early to finish my work. Do you like your job tinker? It is the only one I have sir. Then if you don't shut up, you might just be out of a job. I also help pay your rent dear tinker, would you like me to have you thrown out on this eve? Please sir no, I would have no place to do my work. Your work! You mean those toys you spend all your time making? What a waste of time, you could be building me machines to do all my work. Then I wouldn't have to look at these miserable sacks of depressing meat lollygagging in my factory. Sir these workers have families, homes to pay for. Without this job, the entire neighborhood would be nothing but brothels and opium dens. I don't care about the workers or the filth that wonder my streets. It is now 12:10 Mr tinker and you haven't done anything for work. That will be another hour off your wages, and if I catch you one minute more graced in my shadows, you will be without a job and a home now get to work.

Stupid Finkelstein, thinks he is better then everyone else, the tinker mumbling to himself as he works on a worn out conveyor belt. Is all your tinkering finally driven you mad tinker? The tinker turns around to see Summer, the maid Cynthia's young daughter. I am sorry Summer, I hope I was not saying anything out of hand. Nothing more then your crazy banter Mr tinker, she giggles as she walks over to hand him a glass of water. Thank you my lady, he says while taking a short bow. And since I am blessed with your company, may I ask where your mother might be? Probably being pawed by the lord kind tinker. That dirty short little man, how can she let herself be touched by such a grubby little weasel? Because he owns us, and feeds us. That is no excuse, a man should treat a woman like that with integrity and honor. Well Mr tinker we have no other choice, since father died in debt to him, the courts put us in his care to repay the amount owing. Tinker walks over to her and hands back the glass. You should be in school with such a sharp mind. Those are silly dreams Mr tinker, in the real world we never get the dreams we want, we get this. Summer you only need to believe, and your wishes will come true. Especially tonight, as Christmas wishes are stronger then any other. Oh my you are so full of it, mother says your are nothing but a dreamer. Is that so? Well she says a lot more then that, but I am not suppose to speak bad about elders sir. Oh quit your wit and get back to work before he catches you down here. Bye Mr tinker, I will see you again before morrow. And mom says she loves you, and to meet her at 3 in the broom closet. I will my lady, now go read a book or something, don't waste that beautiful mind washing floors. And you better stop talking to yourself Mr tinker, before everyone else thinks you're crazy. I will leave only that name for you, since crazy knows crazy my dear, now let me get back to work.

He pulls out his watch, noticing that the time is 2:56 and the factory is silent. Old Mr Finkelstein must be counting his money. He takes off his tool belt and puts it on the lever, without notice and jets off to meet his love. The belt loop starts pulling the lever slowly downward, starting the large machine...

My love, was his hands full of venom this night? Let us not talk of him sweet Charles, how are the toys going, did you get them finished? Yes my world and just enough time for Christmas, but I am afraid that he is working me all night and day. I will never have enough time to deliver them before the morrow. It doesn't matter to the children Charles, it is the thought that counts. They will be happy to at least get something this year. I have set aside some loaves of bread and mulls wine for the parents, so when you are finished we will take Summer and all three of us will hand them out together. You my love are a dream, with such a kind heart you are a Queen among commoners. Kiss me before you have to get back to work my King, then I can go wash the stink of his grubby hands off of me.

What is that racket, Mr Finkelstein says over a pile of notes. He looks out his window to see a conveyor belt going without any of the other machines or crew working them. On the floor is a pile of cans spilling tuna without the lids attached. Who the hell turned on the machine, he says as he races out of his office. When I get a hold of whoever did this, I am going to ring their neck. After climbing down the four floors that his office sits at, he notices the tool belt with the name Charles written in black. Where the heck is that buffoon, he will have to pay dearly for this.

Please my love, just one more kiss. Their lips touch as they embrace in love. She looks him in the eyes and starts to whisper I love, when the door opened upon the two secret lovers. 

What the bloody hell is going on here? Nothing sir Cynthia says as she pushes away George. Mr Finkelstein lifts his hand and slaps her in the face. Shut your face you temptresses, how dare you give yourself so easily to such a loser of a man. The tinker sees rage as the love of his life gets hit by such a scoundrel. He moves her with his left arm and punches him right square in the face. How dare you touch her, this lady is my one true love, and if you ever touch her again and I will do more then break your nose. Stop Cynthia cries, I am sorry sir please don't do anything rash. Rash, he says as he picks himself up while trying to stop the flow of blood dripping all over his favorite suit. I will show you rash, as he kicks the tinker in the stomach and pushing him deeper in the closet. He then slams the door and gets his keys out and locks the door. I will show you rash. He walks over to the dialer on the wall, and unlocks the phone. He dials a couple numbers, while still holding his nose. Officer, this is Mr Finkelstein from the dolphin cannery. I have caught a couple thieves stealing from me, and one has assaulted me. Yes I know where they went, he says to the officer on the other line. I have them locked up in the broom closet now, they won't be getting out anytime soon. Hurry up all the same, I want these crooks hung by morning as I will be calling judge Finkelstein to get this over quickly. He slams the phone on the hook and starts walking to his office. Summer comes in the kitchen just before he walks out. Is everything OK sir? You better say goodbye to that wench of a mother and her boyfriend, as this will be the last time you will ever see them again. What is going on? As she rushes to the closet where she can hear people pleading to be let out. He looks at her and says "I wanted your mother as my wife, however I can wait a few years until I can have you. He laughs to himself as he walks out of the kitchen. Mom, are you OK? She keeps trying to open the door to no avail. Summer you need to get out of here quick, I can't protect you from him locked in here, and he has lost his mind. No mom I cannot leave you. Please mom, what else can I do? Summer, Charles whispers take this. From underneath the door a key appears. Get to my place, tell them you are here to pick up my night bag. Under the mattress I have saved a bunch of money, use it to get away. I CAN'T LEAVE YOU, she screams. Through the door rushes young Bryer. What is going on Summer, who is locked in their. Peter? Screams the tinker, Peter get her out of here, get her to safety before Mr Finkelstein gets back. What about you? Where is Cynthia? I am here also, just get her safe please, and don't get caught or you will join us. No mom let me stay with you. Three fingers stick out the door, Summer reaches out and holds them. Be safe for me. Peter grabs Summer and lifts her up, cupping his hand over her mouth. Shhh we need to get you out of here though the back. Be silent and follow me. Through eyes filled with tears she looks one more time at the door then follows Peter out the side. 
                                                                    Art by Paul Deej

We have to be very quiet, where is your coat? It is upstairs in my room. Then be stealthy and grab what you need, I will grab the keys to the garbage room and you can sneak through the garbage shoot. It stinks really bad in there. I know, so make sure you have a change of clothes and tie a garbage bag around your things tightly, so nothing gets in. Hurry up, I will be by the back door. Summer slowly climbs up the stairs in to her room and starts to pack. She grabs her favorite dress and pants, then takes it all with her winter coat and boots and ties it tightly in a plastic bag. She peeks out her door, making sure the coast is clear then hurries down the stairs to meet Peter by the back door. Peter gives her a small handful of change. This is all I have, find safety and keep warm. If you need to find me I will be sleeping at the hostel on Davenport lane, just ask for me. He opens the door to the garbage shoot and helps her in. Remember be careful, and don't talk to strangers. She hugs him and says thank you, and starts climbing out. 

The smell is strong of fish guts and rot. Being careful to not get too dirty, she makes her way to the back alley. The night is cold, but she knows that Mr Charles doesn't live that far away. Running to his suite, she sees a woman get up and walk to the back kitchen. She quietly turns the door handle and sneaks into the brightly lit room, and makes her way up the stairs. Very gently she unlocks the door and goes inside and locks it. The lady comes back and notices snow on the carpet. She follows it up the stairs to that loud tinker. If you don't take off your shoes at the door Mr Wilder, I will have to charge you for cleanup. She makes her way down the stairs to her hot cup of tea. 
                                                   Clockwork bird by Static-ghost

Summer sits in the dark cold room crying. She crawls to the bed and kicks off her shoes. Then in tears she looks at the moon and prays. I do not know if anyone is listening but I need help. My mom is locked away, and I have no where to go and I am scared. Please Christmas spirit, please light of the moon, help me get my mom and Mr tinker out of trouble. She crawls into the bed and covers her head. 

Sitting alone on the desk is a little toy wound Knight, his sword out in hand, his feet locked in motion. Deep within its gears a spark shines. The sword falls gently back in its sheath as the little toy sits up.

                                                       Knight by SixmoreVodka

What is this? He lifts his arms to his face. Where am I and why am I so small?

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