The Triumphant Machine of Dr. Kurtz

Dr. Kurtz spent a minute winding the main spring and then the mechanism started with the sound of an explosion and a cloud of black smoke. Gears whirred, mechanical apertures opened and closed. The mechanism was enormous, filling nearly every room of the house. In fact, there were large, crude holes punched out of the walls throughout the house to make way for this part or that. The incredible number of moving parts contributed to a cacophony that could be heard out in the street. It was music to him and brought tears to his eyes. Six years of work finally completed.

He ducked and dodged massive gears and pipes until he reached the dining room where the mechanism turned down through the floors. He put his ear to a long thin pipe and could hear the water rushing through it. Perspiration dripped into his eyes. He made his way quickly to the stairs, tearing his shirt on a mechanical arm. He stopped briefly to make sure that the mechanism was undamaged.

In the narrow stairway the noise doubled. He weaved in a strange dance around the mechanism and, at one point, he had to climb over a rather large section of it.

Soon he was in his son's room. Bedridden since a nasty horse riding accident at age eight, he lay unmoving. A narrow glass tube hung just above the boy's head and water dripped onto his lips.

Dr. Kurtz trembled. Tears blurred his vision.

"Max, my boy, it works! It works!"

Of course, the boy had died two years earlier. Dr. Kurtz had kept the boy in the bed only to help him get the placement of the glass tube just right.