Gawain and Oriana discuss clockwork and science. Contains drug use.
|Smoke like the shifting mist of dry ice spilled from the bowl of the pipe in the stand. Gawain hadn’t taken a puff since last lighting it, forgotten its existence as he manipulated the tiny gears within the clock on his desk. It wasn’t the first time he would lose a gram to inattention, nor the last. The lobe of his ear itched and he absently rubbed the skin around the piercing. He had gone up a gauge two nights ago and it was angry red with irritation.
Crystal laughter made him look up. His sister, Oriana leaned into his study, centering her cell phone’s camera on his face. “Deep in thought.” Gawain heard the manufactured shutter sound. “It smells like weed in here.”
“It would.” He indicated the smoldering pipe with his tweezers. “Want some?”
Oriana wrinkled her nose. “No, thanks. It messes with the speed.” Gawain raised an eyebrow. She smiled and peered inside the clock. “Any progress?”
“Not since last night.” Gawain sighed, reached for the pipe stand, and took a slow puff, savoring. He should be more careful: this was the expensive stuff. “The gears keep moving just when I think I’ve got it.”
“Did you try shocking them?”
“With what, clever insults?”
Oriana snorted and lifted her chin toward the car battery on the desk. “A good jolt should make them stay put, right?”
“What part of physical science did you sleep through?” Gawain sucked on the pipe again and said, “Heat is caused by movement, O. Shock ‘em and they get excited.” He exhaled a cloud of blue smoke.
Inside the clock, something twitched and Gawain stabbed it with his tweezers. “I’m never going to get this, O.”
“Keep trying.” She kissed his forehead and then spun out of the study again, humming.
Word count: 300