An Espresso Tale
Accipiter G. Goshawk
I’m back! 😉
The first detail they always noticed were the gloves.
He had more than a thousand pairs, which he constantly paraded on his long spindly hands. Blue satin followed dark velvet, which in turn had taken the place of burgundy taffeta. Although they appeared delicate, these stunning garments had been carefully tailored to withstand the wear of everyday life. Furthermore, Mr. Tix never suffered a single hole or tear to mar their impeccable surface.
This eccentricity perplexed most of the uninitiated visitors to the artist’s shop, but in no way surprised those who were aware of his unique gift.
To most passers-by the well-lit colourful display window was similar to many of the other tasteful shops that graced the Old City with their wares: another assemblage of useless items destined to clutter the mantelpieces of patrons too rich and foolish to really know what to do with their money.
And in a way, they were correct: Thaddeus Tix did in fact sell pointless bric-a-brac. But that was by no means his main source of revenue.
The impeccably-dressed figure turned and crept to the counter, behind which a young man trembled slightly. In his arms he clutched a much-battered alarm clock.
“The one and the same. And whom do I have the honour of addressing?” he muttered pensively, letting his coal black eyes peek over the rim of his glasses like hawks preparing to dive off a cliff.
“I…I was told you could…,” stammered the customer, fear and embarrassment muddling his words and almost causing him to collide with a particularly ugly statue of a French poodle. “I’m always late for school…I always oversleep and no alarm seems to do it. I need a more…animated solution?” he tried, cringing slightly.
Where it not rude, Mr. Tix would have rolled his eyes. Instead, he beckoned the youngster forward and invited him to place the device on the counter.
“I trust you can pay for my services?” he asked quietly as he peered intently at the roughed up clock.
Immediately the young man produced a small pouch and set it down next to the cash register. Mr. Tix looked at it appraisingly. Then, he counted out ten gold pieces and pushed the remaining coin towards his newest client.
“You are the De Regesi boy aren’t you?”
There was an audible gulp and then the spluttered answer, “Yes sir! Irwin De Regesi, sir!”
“Please present my compliments to your parents when you see them,” murmured Thaddeus.
Slowly, he removed the green leather glove on his right hand and gently caressed the alarm clock.
As his fingers left its ruined surface, it yawned, showing off a mouth filled with gears and springs. Then it opened its eyes and began marching along the edge of the counter, trying its best to look stern.
“I say! It is late! Very late indeed! Awake! Awake!” it bellowed like a furious drill-sergeant.
“I…What do I call him?” hissed Irwin nervously eyeing the belligerent mechanical menace.
“If I’m not much mistaken, he goes by Chronoclax,” mused Thaddeus, pulling on his glove while paying attention not to touch anything else.
“Is he going to always be…like that?”
“I haven’t the faintest idea. I very rarely spend time with the objects I animate. A very good day to you, young Irwin.”
With little ceremony, the tall gentleman ushered the youngster out of his shop. He spent the next five minutes pretending not to notice Chronoclax marching up and down the street, completely ignoring Irwin’s pleas to be silent. Finally they disappeared around a bend, and he was free to brew a much-needed cup of tea.-