Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2014510
A cross-eyed man's weird invention written for a contest sentence prompt.
|Word Count: 895|
THE CROSS-EYED INVENTOR
“I have never seen anything like it: two little discs of glass suspended in front of his eyes in loops of wire. I understand it allows one to see with clarity. It is quite amazing, Charles. I must look into getting one of them. My eyesight hasn’t been very clear lately,” Sir John said as he gazed out the window of his study.
As Sir John’s long-time manservant, Charles was a little hesitant about making a purchase of something for Sir John that he knew nothing about. “May I suggest that I ride to town and make inquiries first, sir?”
“Yes, Charles, please obtain as much information as possible. I am most anxious to know,” Sir John said.
The next morning, Charles rode to town to see if anyone had purchased the glass discs. He noticed one man right away. He was walking rather clumsily as though he were inebriated. As he got closer, he noticed the man was wearing the glass discs and was cross-eyed. Rather than subject himself to any altercation, he decided to move on to see if he could find anyone else.
As he happened upon another man wearing the discs, he noticed the same thing. Don’t these people know they’re cross-eyed and walking crazy? Perhaps they are not inebriated, Charles thought. So he decided to approach the man and ask him.
“Please, sir, I notice you are wearing the new glass discs. Would you be so kind as to tell me if your eyesight has been cleared?”
He noticed that the man’s eyes were still crossed, but then the man removed the glasses and his eyes uncrossed. “Yes, my eyesight has cleared, but I must tell you that I am not walking as well as I should be.”
Charles wondered if the man knew that his eyes crossed while wearing the discs, which would no doubt make a person walk unsteadily, so he asked, “Forgive me, but are you aware that your eyes are crossed when you have the discs on your nose, but uncross when you take them off?"
The man looked surprised, confused, and somewhat irritated. He did not answer, but bid Charles a good day and left. Odd fellow, Charles thought and strolled further down the road. He noticed two more men wearing the discs who were also walking unsteadily and their eyes were also crossed. He decided it would not help to speak to anyone else but instead speak with the person who invented them.
After a few inquiries, Charles obtained the name and address of the person who invented the glass discs: James Morgan. Charles didn’t want to visit him unannounced, but it was getting late and he had to return home soon. He hoped Mr. Morgan would be home.
Charles knocked on the door and was taken aback at first sight of Mr. Morgan as the door opened - his eyes were crossed. Charles introduced himself, and Mr. Morgan asked him to come in and have a seat. As Mr. Morgan sat down, he picked up his glass discs and put them on, and his eyes uncrossed.
Charles felt very uncomfortable, but after spending a few minutes conversing with Mr. Morgan and telling him who he was and why he had to meet with him, Charles felt that he could now pose the question. “Please accept my apologies for asking, but why are your eyes not crossed when you wear the glass discs? All the people I saw in town who were wearing the glass discs were walking unsteadily and their eyes were crossed, but when they removed the glass discs, their eyes were no longer crossed.”
“Yes, is it not amazing,” Mr. Morgan said as he sat down. “I invented the glass discs to improve my eyesight, but as you can see, it also uncrosses my eyes. Very odd indeed.”
“Forgive me, sir, but perhaps your glass discs are having a reverse effect on persons whose eyes are not originally crossed, such as yours. The person I spoke with said that his eyesight has cleared, but he wasn’t walking very well. I surmise it is because the glass discs or the wire that sits on his nose has caused his eyes to cross, thus making his gait unsteady,” Charles said.
Mr. Morgan thought for a moment before answering. Stroking his chin, he said, “Perhaps you are correct, sir. Perhaps they do have such an effect and would therefore cause unsteadiness for those whose eyes were never crossed. My gait has always been unsteady, perhaps because my eyes have always been crossed. I must say that I was pleased when my gait improved as well as eyesight.”
Mr. Morgan began speaking as though he were thinking out loud. “Perhaps having clear eyesight does not matter if one cannot walk a straight line. I must think more about this.“
Charles stood and thanked Mr. Morgan for his time. “I trust you will be so kind to keep me informed of your progress. Sir John has interest in your glass discs, but I am sure you will understand why he cannot purchase them at this time.”
Mr. Morgan stood and walked Charles to the door and said, “I understand and thank you, sir. I have no doubt that I will be able to correct the problem.” After all, tomorrow is another day.
Entry for "Beginning & Last" Contest Sentence Prompt: "I've never seen anything like it."