Short Story: The Handy Man
My agent, the fabulous Louise Fury, says “The Handy Man” is the best short story I’ve written. I’ve read it aloud to fans and friends at conventions, and although they loved it, it hasn’t found a home in a publication, unfortunately. Honestly, I’m rather tired of submitting it after nearly two years. I don’t really do erotica anymore (many of you who follow this blog know why), so I thought I’d just put it out there for your reading pleasure. No sense in getting it in some erotic magazine or anthology when there will be no more erotica to follow.
There it is.
“The Handy Man” is a fun piece, I think. Much of my work is so dark, I really thought the lighter tone of this piece would make it more marketable. Again, so mistaken.
This contains erotic adult situations.
I hope you enjoy it.
His skilled fingers traced the edges of the small opening as his mind assessed the best tools to complete the task. The lady was becoming impatient. He could tell by the way her body tensed, but he liked to take his time and do things right. Kneeling on the fine burgundy rug and facing the job before him, Linus Cosgriff reached down into his black leather case with his one good hand and pulled out a rotary machine. Long brass extensions protruded from the end of it, and when he flipped the tiny black switch, they spun around in a most menacing manner, throwing out white and blue sparks.
“Oh my!” Mrs. Martin exclaimed. “You’re going to use that?”
“Yes, madam. It is the latest technique, of my own design.” Linus beamed with pride and looked up at Mrs. Martin as he clipped the machine on the brass cuff covering the stump where his right hand used to be. He had lost it in a factory accident years ago, causing him to find a new livelihood, one much more enjoyable, if he did say so himself.
“Are you certain, sir? It looks like it will cause some serious damage.”
“Not at all, madam. I am a professional. Not to worry.”
Linus slid the contraption carefully into the lady’s lock and toggled the black switch once again. The machine whirled to life and sparks rained down upon the brass wrist cuff and tumbled off the sides.
The lady gasped. Her lace-gloved hands covered her ears against the menacing sound of metal against metal. “Stop that awful racket! You’ll wake the entire neighborhood!”
“Almost in. Just…one…more…There!” The clanking and whirring stopped. He twisted the brass doorknob and pushed open the heavy oak door. “Ladies first.”
Mrs. Martin’s eyes shot down the darkened street in both directions before she strode past him. Her heels clacked against the floor as she disappeared into the darkness of the doctor’s office. The hiss of gas filled the silence, and the office lightened around her. She adjusted the brightness of the room with a small brass knob on the wall, then caught Linus watching her and put her hands on her slender hips, cocking her weight to one side.
Linus’s eyes followed her curves up to her lovely face, held at the moment in a very cross expression. Even in her annoyance, she was as beautiful as ever.
“It’s a sheer miracle no one heard that horrible sound, Mr. Cosgriff. What are you playing at? I hired you to be discreet, not to trumpet our presence.”
“Madam. I am the best locksmith in all of London. Well, the best locksmith who will take these side projects. I assure you, m’lady, you are in good hands.” Linus removed the contraption from his brass-covered stump with a twist and click, then swapped it out for a wooden hand covered in a black leather glove. “You said you know where the good doctor keeps it?”
“I do. In this cupboard here.”
The lady moved as silk slid off a marble tabletop, sensual and smooth.
Linus inched closer to her, a little too close for the lady’s taste, for she took a step back. He twisted the latch on the cupboard’s door. “It’s locked.”
“But of course it’s locked, Mr. Cosgriff.”
“And you are most certain it is in there?”
“Quite certain. Is there a problem?”
“Not at all, Mrs. Martin. Not at all.”
“Could we possibly do it without so much noise this time?”
“Of course, dear lady.” Linus set his black bag on the cherry desk in the middle of the room, trying to mask the annoyance in his voice and the impatience on his face. He took a deep breath and twisted the end of his waxed mustache with his good hand. A sense of calm overcame him after another three full breaths. That is until the lady commenced tapping her foot in the most annoying manner on the hardwood floor.
He would not allow her to get to him, not again. No, he would unnerve her this time.
“Agnes, have you had the chance to test the doctor’s tool?” The innuendo was not lost on this fine woman and it caught her off guard, as did the familiar use of her given name.
“Yes, well. I suppose it can be viewed as lewd, but if memory serves, you always were a bit on the naughty side, Agnes. Rather uninhibited, as I recall.”
“Sir! You are no gentleman!”
“That’s quite true, madam. And you are no lady. We both know that all too well. Still, you haven’t answered my question.” Linus hid the wide grin on his face by turning away as he once again replaced his wooden hand with another locksmith tool, this one hand-propelled to avoid ‘the racket’ to which the lady had such an aversion. Quite similar to the last, this one had a series of interlocking gears at the base of a hand crank– his prototype before he developed the electric one. One could’ve used the common tools, of course, but…how very dull, indeed.
Linus turned back to the lady, ensuring his face appeared properly stoic. “How have you been feeling, Agnes? You do seem rather tense. Perhaps a little anxious as well? I would be willing to help you relieve some of your hysterical symptoms, dear lady.”
“Sir! We are standing in my husband’s office!”
“Yes. The man who made a fool of you with that other woman. Remember? That’s what this is about, isn’t it? Revenge. You steal his prize invention before he has a chance to patent it. The very thing that has made him the most popular doctor among all the London ladies. It is my payment, after all, the technology therein. Is it not? The patent of such a tool would provide quite the income and prestige. Isn’t that right, Mrs. Martin? Certainly I should be able to test it out, ensure it works as you say it does. Don’t you think?”
Blush rose into Agnes’s cheeks, and Linus couldn’t tell if excitement, embarrassment, or anger colored her flesh, and he really didn’t care. He just reveled in the fact that he was getting to her.
She opened her fan and began waving it quite rapidly, but she did not say a word. Rather, she stepped back and turned away.
Amused, Linus knelt down in front of the cupboard and pulled the magnification goggles he had taken from his case down over his eyes and positioned the 3x loop over the right lens to look closer at the lock. It was indeed a complicated one, very new and secure. Yet the confidence in his skill did not waver, and before long, he had worked the lock open.
There before him, the machine sat on the top shelf. It certainly was more portable than Taylor’s hysteria table, and it ran on steam. Long tubes, curled in their resting state, must carry the pressurized steam to the mechanics of the thing. How very interesting. Linus could not wait to dissect it and modify an even more portable version.
He’d be rich.
“Well?” the lady’s voice interrupted Linus’s dreams of a fine flat in Kensington with women lined up around the block to be pleasured by him and his new invention….
So sorry to cut the story off here, but in order for it to be in the KDP Select program, I can’t have the full story available anywhere else. You can purchase it for less than a good cup of coffee on Amazon.
Many other stories, articles, and poetry, however, are available in my collection Caught in the Cogs: An Eclectic Collection. Find more of my work, free and for purchase, here and here, as well as all my published works here.
I’ve begun to serialize my teen Steampunk romance The Zombies of Mesmer, and as soon as people start reading and commenting on it, I’ll continue. Find more of my work on this blog, in several publications, and on Amazon.
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~ by omgrey on July 30, 2013.