rat trap

“Hand me that,” Lorelei gestured absently towards his tools. Ossip fetched the implement and directed it to his mentor’s long and agile fingers.

Lorelei pursed his lips as he worked. It was a looming Sunday, full to brimming with idle hours and coffee. Ossip hopped around the Emerald House in a doused state of caffeination. Even at age 19 he was a seasoned coffee drinker but Lorelei’s brew was darkly energizing. Ossip was excited, curious. He was open wide to everything.

The little project they had elected to work on together was nothing of consequence. It was an inverted rat trap. A machine that squealed at a frequency far above those detectable to human ears. It was a mechanical irritant to ward away circus vermin. Lorelei made a few final touches to the massive circuit board and then, with a magnanimous smile, slid the contraption across the work desk to his pupil.

Ossip grinned. So strong was his desire to please and to work at something new, the smile stretched his face until it nearly cracked open for a moment. His teenaged fingers set to work at the wiring, soldering the diodes together in alternating crosses like stitching up the corset of a beautiful woman.

It was careful work. Painstaking and satisfying. Hardly a word was shared between them as Ossip fulfilled his mentor’s instructions. The boy was certainly thriving with the special attentions of “mister doctor.” The newly won envy from his peers had put an imperious slant to Ossip’s jaw and a raptness to his work. Doctor Lorelei’s eyes roamed over the boy, making inventory of his talents, his weaknesses, and the manifesting bond between them.

Ossip looked up from the wiring and indicated a more complicated looping of copper wires and switches. Lorelei tapped his index finger on the work desk, very much pleased with his handiwork.

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