a clockmakers tale by Simon Gibson

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SUMMARY: based on a small clock repair shop in bath, whoever owns it, thanks for existing.

A clockmaker's tale.

"And it stopped, short, never to go again, when the old man died."

In a small town outside London lived a clockmaker.

For years he had tried, and failed, to make something that could be called the creation of a lifetime.

In his youth his fascination with time had begun from the most peculiar of influences. He had once worked in a petrol station as a cashier and had noticed, one lazy Sunday morning, how the pop-up numbers of the display of the cash register had a strange similarity to those of his own bedroom alarm clock. This similarity, over the course of the day, began to fill him with ideas of how clocks may work, for at that stage he had no idea, and thus his interest began.

As he sat once more thinking of clocks, as he spent most days doing due to his profession, he stumbled upon the idea of a clock made of ice, a frozen memory of his life, his achievements and ambition. It stayed with him the whole day, even during the coming and going of many customers that day, and at the end of it all he went upstairs, where he lived his other life, and found that he was even more interested in trying to achieve something similar to the idea he had daydreamed earlier.

He lay in bed that night thinking of the ways that he could keep an ice clock from melting, and besides keeping it locked away in a freezer somewhere that nobody would ever see his creation, he had no other option. With the idea starting to fade he stumbled upon another. A crystal clock.

He got no sleep that night, the idea of all the parts, the hands, face, cogs and bolts, all made of lead crystal, or possibly glass, all working together, a perfect image of the timepiece. The one thing he was sure had never been attempted. He knew that he was able to make many devices for keeping time out of steel and tin but had no idea where to start on such a mammoth project, for one thing he had only ever cut clock fronts out of glass, and that was on templates.

Oh but how he longed for this dream to be real, the hours till sunrise he spent thinking of the skills that he would need, and the time that he would spend learning these skills. He was old and had time against him, if it were to be a question of years to make such a thing, but he also knew that he could afford to devote all his time to this, for he was financially stable after almost forty years of trading as a clockmaker and watch repairman.

During his sleep, visions of crystal hands touching the very stuff of imagination filled his visions of sleep, and in the morning he awoke, went to get ready for work and stopped.

If he were going to find a way to make this clock then he would have to sacrifice his work, his very lifeblood, and pour himself into his dream.

After having breakfast and getting his work clothes on he went to the door of his shop, he saw that there was nobody outside, and remembered the many days when no one would turn up, sometimes he had gone for days without any custom, and to be honest to himself he was not entirely happy with working now anyway.

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