Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bob's shack

'Twernt easy, but after searchin high and low and everywhere in between, Al and Hiroki found themselves an ash stick that was perfectly straight and exactly six feet long, as the book had told Hiroki to do. Of course, findin the branch was only the beginnin of the work. Once they had the thing located, they had to find themselves a way to separate that thing from the tree what had given it life. And let me tell ya, that tree was none too ready to be partin with its parts, if ya take my meanin. Hiroki and Al musta worn through three Swiss Army Knives, a half a dozen handsaws and at least two chainsaws working their way through the first layer of bark. It got to the point where they just had to sit down and rethink the whole thing.

"Look, son," Al said, wipin the sweat from his brow, "are you sure you really need this stick? I mean, do you really need this thing? Couldn't you just, you know, take some regular straight twigs and just tape them together?"

"I'm afraid I cannot," replied Hiroki. "I am doing this project for my friend. I have saved his life and now I am responsible for him. I must to this to cure him of his blindness."

"Well, I spose I know half about that," chuckled Al. "Listen, I got this brother that could prolly whip us up a saw. He's pretty good with his hands, but not so good with his legs." He laughed. "I guess you gotta meet him before you find that funny. Anyways, I imagine he could make us up a saw fit to cut anything we might want to cut. Let's meander down and see what we could talk him into doing."

Hiroki only nodded and followed Al to another part of the tree. There, they found themselves a little, worn down hut that looked like it had been built a hundred years and fifty hurricanes ago. When they opened the door to go inside, they were blasted with heat and light that felt like a thousand suns had decided to have themselves a hugfest right in that shack. On top of that was this clangin, ringin sound like what you get when you put your timing belt on wrong. When they got into the shack, Hiroki saw that there weren't no bright, hot engine in the middle of the dirt-covered floor. Instead, there was a man swingin a hammer down onto some metal, sweat flyin off his soot-stained fists at every blow.

With his barrel chest and arms like pythons what had swallowed elephants, he woulda been the biggest man Hiroki'd ever seen, ceptin for his legs. They was withered and twisted like licorice ropes that had been left out in the sun too long. Truth be told, the man looked like a bearded barrel standing on a couple of toothpicks. And he wasn't even really standin on them, he was surrounded with this leather and brass contraption that held up his torso and let his useless legs dangle underneath him. Not to say he looked funny, mind you. Despite his mobility difficulties, Hiroki thought the guy'd have no problems putting that big hammer of his through a bank vault door, if need be. Fortunately, he was usin that hammer to bend metal to his will. He and his contraption was placed halfway between an anvil and a furnace and, when Hiroki and Al walked in, the giant man seemed to be making a spiked hammer of some sort.

While Hiroki was taking all this in, Al slipped quietly up to the man, laid a hand on his shoulder and whispered in his ear. Big boy furrowed his brow and looked at ol' one eye oddly before giving a quick nod. Al smiled, slapped him on the shoulder and turned to Hiroki.

"This here's my brother Bob," Al told the young ninja warmly. "As you can see, he's a blacksmith. I'd go so far as to say he's the best blacksmith in this tree. If you ask nicely, I bet he can help you out."

Hiroki gave a deep bow. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Bob."

"You, too, kid," Bob returned. "What is it I can do for you?"

Hiroki explained his situation. He told Bob all about his quest and the reason for it while Bob nodded slowly.

When he finished, Bob said, "I see. So you need a saw that can get that limb off?"

"Yes, sir."

"Well..." Bob gave a sidelong glance to Al, who nodded. "I suppose I can make something to help you out, but you gotta promise me something."

"Anything you wish," vowed Hiroki.

"You can't let our other brother have that saw. You gotta keep it in your possession at all times and, when you're done with it, you gotta bring the saw straight back here so I can melt it down again."

"Certainly," Hiroki bowed.

Bob turned to his brother. "Al, I don't know...are you sure about this?"

Al nodded and slapped his brother on the shoulder. "You worry too much, Bob. Look at this kid. He's trustworthy. What's the worst that could happen?"

"I dunno," Bob shrugged. "The end of the world?"

"Trust me," Al said.

Bob turned back to his anvil. "That's what you said last time," he muttered before hitting the metal on the forge. "And look where that got me."

Al shook his head, chuckling a little. He placed a gentle hand on Hiroki's shoulder and turned him towards the door. "It'll be a little bit," he explained. "Why don't you come to my place and we can eat and have a drink with some old friends of mine."

1 comment:

kaploy9 said...

I sense foreshadowment...