As his fingers fumble to put the springs, gears, and knobs together, he realizes he is getting old. His warped fingers do not move quite as quick and exact as they used to. As a matter-of-fact, their appearance has changed drastically. His once agile and accommodating fingers now appear as though they have been crushed and mangled, possibly broken, yet can still allow him to continue his most precious hobby. He prefers to say it is his hobby although one may call it a job since he often receives thanks in rather large cash payments. He is what is now called a restorer.
His job is to restore things. All kinds of things. He takes old items, antiques even, and tinkers with their pieces and materials and everything leaves his workshop looking shiny and brand new. He is, in fact, very talented at restoration. It is almost as though he can communicate with the objects and will them to transform rather than tear them apart and physically piece them back together. His workshop currently is exceptionally cluttered. It is a busy week. Shelves and shelves and shelves line the walls, all full of a variety of objects to in turn be renewed. There is everything from chairs to old television sets, books to cameras, and clothing to light bulbs. And currently, he is working on a very old grandfather clock.
This clock came in from a dear friend of his. Years ago, they were in grade school together and Richard was his best friend. From bullies to girls to adventures, they went through it all together. So he decided to spend some extra time on this clock. As he pinches the gears back into place and begins to shine the wooden exterior, he thinks about how he enjoys what he does. He loves what he does because it is all so personal. The objects he deals with are people’s most cherished possessions. They are thrown into his hands just like that and he is trusted to care for these items. He smiles when he imagines how happy Richard will be when he sees his restored clock.
He soon finishes up, walks up the stairs, and shuts the lights in his workshop. It is very late and he is feeling particularly exhausted. He quickly guzzles a glass of water and changes out of his clothes. As his fingers fumble once again while struggling to button his flannel shirt, he thought about his father. His father had been an innovator in everything he did. He always came up with the most abstract and wonderful ideas and found ways to apply them to his daily life. His father had also been an inventor. He created the very first television set and a gathering of much smaller contraptions. When they come in for restoring, he feels horrible for renewing the models his father once created but he hopes his father would forgive him. It is very enjoyable to transform items, but he had always hoped to come up with a bright idea comparable to one of his father’s. He felt that he had disappointed his father. He sighed a sigh of loneliness and a sigh of fatigue as he drifted off to sleep.
He begins a very fitful sleep and wakes up several times during the night. Finally, he falls into a deep, calming sleep and a strange dream begins. He is strolling along a field. Then, before his eyes, the flowers and plants all slowly turn grey and then black and die. Naturally, he tries to see if there is anything he can do. He touches a single flower and watches as it grows and the colors flush from the middle out. It came to life at his touch. He continues to do this when he hears loud noises behind him. A large white pony is galloping towards him and he stands up from where he was kneeling. As it gets closer and closer he notices a narrow cone stuck to the pony’s head, almost like a unicorn. He also sees a man struggling to escape the pursuit of the horse-like creature. The man spots him and calls out right as the pony thrusts the cone neatly through the man’s chest. The man falls. He feels fearful but walks over to the man as the creature dashes away. He checks the man’s pulse quickly and feels nothing. The man is dead. Then, for a reason unknown to him, he reaches and touches the man’s face as he touched the flower. The man’s eyes begin to flutter and open as he awakens from this sleep with a great new idea: He will restore the human life.
A Short Story By Courtney Clark