Little Miss Hobbs, Pt. IX: Applause for the Watchmaker

Eagerly, Little Miss Hobbs cupped the pocketwatch in her hands and raised it between her head and the shopkeeper’s so they could both indulge in its call. “Mmm” he reveled in how perfect it seemed, but just then she furrowed her brow. She noticed his contentment and felt that she was not hearing it as he was, as she took no joy from its miniscule tick. “I do not think it will work, I am so sorry.” He looked at her with raised eyebrows, “You may be right, but as I said, sometimes it is merely its environment that needs adjusting. Here. Sit in the chair over there, and watch.”

With clearly a very strong aptitude for such things, he placed it just off-center on a glass table that he moved to a spot just off-center from the middle of the room. He continued moving the various shelves and objects in the room, making minor adjustments here and there, tilting free-standing, personal mirrors to be more angled towards the ceiling or floor, setting spy glasses inches from where they began, yet very intentionally adjusting the direction their handle pointed in and what they sat on top of. Objects that appeared to be little more than miniaturized bicycle gears he hung from hooks in the wall, compulsively rearranging them as if to find a secret passage like in the Indiana Jones movies. Little Miss Hobbs began making mental and literal notes of every little thing he did. It was then that she noticed how many random objects he had in his shop – some silly, and some clearly very important, even borderline regal in their intricacy and placement on the shelves, everything so precisely angled and displayed. She noted a large chunk of ruby with a hammer and chisel nearby, along with several increasingly smaller chisels no doubt used for very delicate, detailed work. The glass-case countertop where he revealed the watch to her looked like something she would use for her own collection display in her house, if ever she decided objects were worth collecting and displaying in such a manner.

After an hour and a half, nothing was in its original spot, even small objects on the shelves moved up and down and across the room from their original home. Little Miss Hobbs had fallen asleep and was wincing and fidgeting in her restless nightmare when the shopkeeper gently shook her shoulder to rouse her. As she became aware of the world around her and formulated ideas of where she was (as dreaming and nightmaring can be disorienting), she panicked and reached for her purse in alarming haste. “What is it you’re looking for, my dear?” She looked around frantically, noticing how dim the light had turned since she had nodded off, and how all texture seemed to be lost in the room, despite all of the objects now strewn about. “I don’t think I packed a flashlight, or my umbrella, and my walk home is so very far.” She glanced towards the window and noted that, between the jacket, blanket, and several colorful towels that hung in front of it, sunlight seemed to still splash the walls, though when she looked back to the center of the room, the light and gray-washed tinge blanketed everything, suggesting foul weather outside. Furthermore, the clattering of a million snapping fingers filled the room with the audible essence of a reasonable deluge.

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Paola Trimarco

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"I saw the Angel in the marble, and carved until I set him free"

Jo Writes Fantasy

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