The Clockmaker

“I need a spring!”

The clockmaker’s spidery fingers searched his workspace and opened up, one by one, all sixteen small drawers in his custom-made mahogany shelves. He opened up the four drawers in his custom-made mahogany desk. The clockmaker had many springs—don’t think that he was ill-equipped—but the type of spring he needed was not one he had needed before.

He looked at his wife sitting by an unlit fireplace. She stared into the hearth as if there were a fire crackling and popping, embers jumping and dancing. She didn’t notice the clockmaker get up from his custom-made mahogany chair.

He plucked his hat off the custom-made mahogany hooks near the front door. The door—in case you were wondering—was pine. His friend was a carpenter and instead of money, they traded their trades—the carpenter possessed the most precise watch in town. The clockmaker’s door would be replaced next. Boots on, he exited as the sweet scent of night jasmine filled his being. He hurried along the kerosene lamp-lit street.

Three houses down, the clockmaker knocked on the door four times—once was just plain silly, twice may be mistaken for faulty plumbing, three was an odd number, five was a debt collector. A night-capped Mr Adams appeared.

“I need a spring!” The clockmaker produced a pencilled picture of the kind required.

“I have one,” Mr Adams began. The clockmaker almost thanked Mr Adams but was interrupted. “I need it for my flute. I’m playing in the orchestra tomorrow and—” the clockmaker turned to leave.

“Oh dear. Cup of tea?” Mr Adams asked.

“Another time, friend.”

Next door; four knocks, four clomps. Mrs Hoyt, soaked with sweat and suds, ferociously opened the door; the wind disturbed her hair. He handed her the picture asking, “Perhaps in your washing contraption?” Mrs Hoyt plucked her glasses from between her breasts, wiped off the moisture, and examined the picture.

“Yes.” she replied. The clockmaker withheld his response. “I need it in my washing contraption. I have laundry from the tavern to do before noon.”


“Is it important?”


“Oh dear. Try the carpenter.”

The carpenter, amusingly named Mr Baker, replied, “I need it for a custom-made mahogany chaise lounge I’m delivering tomorrow.”

The clockmaker trudged home when, haloed by a streetlamp, remembered… he had seen a spring like that, years ago. He jogged home, hooked his hat, took off his boots, and sat at his desk.

Constructed with joints and cogs in shining steel sat a small automaton which looked like a young boy. The clockmaker donned his magnifying monocle and picked up his long tweezers. He opened the chest cavity of the automaton to expose a clockwork heart. He placed the much-needed spring inside.


The mechanical boys’ eyes opened. The clockmaker’s smile reflected in the blue glass iris. He looked to his wife for her reaction, but she lay still, on the ground, with a hole in her chest.

“Oops,” said the clockmaker.