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Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2092537
A steampunk tinker helps her employer win the big race--300 words
"Daily Flash Fiction Challenge for August 6, 2016 with prompt: Write a steampunk story that includes the following words or phrases: airship, tinker, clockwork minion

Shuffling through her tool box, Sprocket found the screwdriver and continued to tinker on the airship’s steam engine, tightening parts before the race.

“Sprocket! I can’t find my googles!”

“Check your pilot’s seat, Mr. Alexander,” she answered calmly, then scratched her cheek, surveying the beauty of what she hoped would carry her…her whatever he was, over the finish line first.

She’d begun simply as his clockwork minion, keeping things running both in the airship and in his home. Then she found he needed more help, that his absent ways were always getting him into trouble. Instead of him caring for her as an employee, it turned to her caring for him, almost like a personal assistant sometimes, other times almost like a mother. She made sure he kept his appointments with sponsors and told him when his socks didn’t match. She made sure he ate regularly and that all his bills were paid. At first it annoyed her that he seemed almost helpless, but in time she came to understand that it was the price of his genius and that, she admired more than anything.

Mr. Alexander came scurrying up, “I can’t do it! I can’t race again! That accident almost killed me last time!”

“We agreed, just this last time and you’d quit. The purse is enormous and will set you for many years to come. Besides, accidents are so rare, you’ll be fine.”

Fearful tears filled his eyes.

“Here,” she said reaching into her pocket. She pulled out a sprocket. “It kept my father safe during the war. It will keep you safe, too.”

“Thank you!” He grabbed it and ran to the cockpit.

She pulled out another and began tightening it in its place. Then she emptied her pocket of the sprockets and closed her toolbox, satisfied.

Word Count 300
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