Monday, July 27, 2009

Daily Story 103: The Good Mechanic

Finny just keeps inventing things, and I can't be bothered to try and stop him anymore - the damage is done already anyway. The whole West end of the island is covered in a giant machine now, one that sucks in the air to clean it and eats up the dirt to make it into metal. It swallows a little more of the land every day and sooner or later we'll all just be inside the device. I see Finny working on it sometimes, so small on those giant tanks and pipes. His twelfth birthday had to have passed not too long ago, but I guess we all forgot.

Over on the East end of the island we try not to think about him much; we work on our gardens and trade things back and forth and hide when Finny's robots come to drop off supplies they've made. We've fallen into a comforting kind of rut, made a life for ourselves here. We go to the edge of the island at night, have parties while we look out at the fading lights in the clouds. There's a platform there and a band gets up on it to play, and everyone dances and drinks and falls asleep laughing and crying. Sometimes someone jumps off.

Everyone knows that that platform has a twin, at the opposite end under the machines. There used to be a barn that belonged to Finny's parents, and the platform was built in there two years ago by Finny's older brother Tom - he was Finny's muscle, before the robots. That day, when Finny turned on his invention in the barn, Tom was waiting five miles away next to the platform we use now as a stage. The tip of his shoe came with us to wherever we are; it sat right at the edge of the island. If Tom had been standing a little closer he might have been cut in half, but as it is he just lost the very tip of his big toe - as far as we can tell.

I talked to Finny about it, back when it first happened. He said it was supposed to be a teleporter, that it should have sent him from one platform to the other. Instead it took all of us, an oval of land that floats in nothingness while the rest of the world goes on without us somewhere. Finny feels bad, but he's most worried about Tom. He spends his time building and inventing just in the hopes they'll see each other again. I don't have the heart to say it out loud but I'm sure it'll never happen.

Finny isn't a genius, he's magic. What he does isn't science. He thinks it is, but I've looked at the robots and other things up close and they don't make any sense. He wants things to work, imagines them working, and they do - so if he hasn't found a way to get us back yet when it's the thing he wants more than anything else I just can't imagine it ever happening. I used to try to get him to take a break; partly because we were afraid of what he would do next and partly because I felt bad for him. I asked him over and over to meet us there at night by where Tom left his toe and relax for once, but Finny just keeps on inventing.