Sawyer Graves: Tools
Sawyer Graves sat with his back against the wooden chair. A familiar chair. He still had memories of climbing on it, though the wood hadn't creaked as much when sat upon back then. There he sat impatiently, tapping his fingers on the table in front of him. The house was filled with clutter and smelled of mothballs accompanied by the faint scent of tobacco smoke. Was that faint scent still there, or was he imagining it? He remembered Mr. Cadbury was once inseparable from his curved mahogany pipe, but the last few times he had visited this place the man proudly claimed that he had broken the habit.
A lone beam of sunlight shone through the window and spilled out into the humble and cozy room. Outside, the sun rays pierced through the dense form of clouds, like individual golden spears striking into the ground from the heavens above. He had been out back for...he didn't know how long. Out in the junkyard for which the Cadburys were caretakers. He had found a few usable pieces of metal and salvaged them. Junkyard metal wasn't always junk. A good many decent things were thrown out as if they really were trash. Honestly, most people had such untrained eyes and poor taste for the appreciation of a solid chunk of iron. But the metal had to be smooth to be usable. No cracks or shoddy looking dents. Once a thing of metal was shattered, it was near impossible to reforge. However, finding metal was cheaper than buying the ore itself, if one knew what to look for. And that, Sawyer most certainly did.
He paused his finger tapping suddenly and whipped his head upward in a jerking motion to look up at an elderly woman, dressed in a rather plain brown pettycoat and trousers. His chestnut brown hair curled over the strap of his welding goggles, placed disheveled in a position above his forehead, and fell in front of his muddy green eyes. The damn strands of hair really were getting out of hand. Lengthwise to be sure. He liked his hair in general. It curled and kept well out of his face, until it grew too bloody long.
"Well!?" he piped up suddenly.
"Take your coin? Phaw! We should have you put to work at a proper job, boy!" she answered with a wave of her hand and turned her attention back toward the tea kettle that began to whistle softly atop the potbelly castiron stove. He had offered to give her three silver Simmons for a particular piece of coiled metal he had found. It was a more rare metal. Jyranium. One he'd had too little funds and too little time to experiment with. Since he'd found it amongst their scrap and knew it to be worth at least that much, he felt obligated to offer them some sort of payment. To do otherwise would be right on par with thievery, and he wasn't too keen on stealing from the oldest of his family's friends.
Sawyer continued to stare absently at the apple he had been offered while he waited on the tea, now bitten down to its' core. A core...yes
"A good smooth metal with a core of that Jyranium alloy would make for an excellent bullet..." He said the words in a half whisper. Barely aware that he'd spoken his thoughts out loud. He did that often. "Not so heavy as to throw off the trajectory...light enough to provide extra heat in the span of time to shoot. Bathe my ass in hellfire if the thing wouldn't blast through a plate of iron though..."
The old woman threw her hands up in a quiet dismay. She must have thought of giving up on having a normal conversation with him. Probably every time he visited. Yet she never did. Strange. But perhaps that's why he felt a vague fondness for Mrs. Cadbury. "You know," she began in a grandmotherly sort of tone "The army pays well for a good Gunsmith."
Sawyer snapped back into the conversation, his eyes still remaining fixated on the apple core. He shook his head.
"I can't." he said matter of factly. "Not until I find the Reapers."
Mrs. Cadbury's face wilted, her brows furrowing and her lips downcast. She looked at him pleadingly. She still thought him insane whenever he brought up the Reapers, that was his name for the strangers that had taken his family, or at least had the bodies. But as long as she pressed the issue of forgetting his family and moving on, he would make sure to remind her of them. They were a relatively common thought in his mind when he worked at forging guns. Those gasmasks, bug eyed lenses looking like the lifeless eyes of monsters. The memories had once haunted him, now they were a reminder. He had turned his fears into a driving force for everything he did and would do in the near future. Sawyer never expected the woman to understand, but maybe one day she would accept it.
Mrs. Cadbury slumped into the old dusty green velvetine chair across the room from the dining table.
"Why not?" she finally asked with a sly smile rising from the corner of her lips. "Why can't you take a job and look for those 'Reapers' with your new station and title to help you?"
Sawyer looked up from the apple core, but still kept his eyes staring ahead, still looking distant. As if he was in some far off place even though his body stood still under the same roof as her. "Well," he started cooly, then looked down at his Tinker gloves. "It's the tools." He said the words with conviction. As if the simple answer should suffice.
"Tools?" the elderly woman said raising an eyebrow while picking up her plate with a small cup of tea in her dainty fashion.
"Indeed!" Sawyer answered immediately. "It's all about the tools." His eyes widened and he shot up from his chair without warning, beginning to pace around the table in a circle while looking about the room. "I remember an engineer from the army coming to ask my father some questions once. Well dressed man, too well dressed if you ask me, but that's beside the point. Why did you want to know about that?" he stopped his pacing and looked toward Mrs. Cadbury for a split second before continuing to stride along the corners of the table again. "No matter. Anyhow, I remember the engineer looking over my fathers' toolset. Said he had a welder just like him. Said he had forty sets of tools! Could you imagine!? FORTY bleeding sets!" Sawyer raised an open palm upwards and smacked himself on the head in disbelief.
"He had three sets for teaching the younger engineers, seven sets given to him by different blacksmiths for testing before they put them up for sale...also said about a dozen other sets were just for bloody show. TOOLS! Made especially for the eyes of wealthy investors!"
Sawyer took a deep breath before slowing his circling pace around the table and settling back into the creaky wooden chair next to the discarded apple.
"No." he finally said in a half whisper again after exhaling. "No, I think just one sturdy set of tools is fine enough for me..."
Mrs. Cadbury nodded, but she still looked a bit confused. "I see.." she replied serenely, sipping from her teacup, "So you're using the tools as a metaphor for all of the responsibilities and stresses that come with a job and a title?"
Sawyer looked over toward her and scowled. "A meta...what?" now he was the one that looked confused.
"There's no metaphor. Bloody Hell woman, they're just tools!"
Mrs. Cadbury shook her head, and the sly smile returned to her lips. "You are an unconventionally wise young lad, Sawyer Graves..."
"Thanks much Misses Cadbury, I try." he replied, looking down at the cup of tea he had taken into his hands and swirling it nonchalantly. "To be unconventional I mean." He looked toward the window before downing his entire cup of tea in one gulp. "Well, if you don't want to take the coin then you don't want to take the coin. But I offered. No one can say I didn't."
He arose from his chair, swiping up the long thin coil of Jyranium from the table as he made his way toward the door and took his patched coat from the rack. "I'll be off now, Misses Cadbury. Thank you for a lovely evening."
" 'Tis only seven in the morning." she answered, looking toward her large grandfather clock that stood in the hallway. Fantastic bit of clockwork too. It looked as if the thing were made of solid oak. Wood had been in scarce supply in Caldor ever since he could remember memories. The thing must've been at least three centuries old.
"Oh, it's no problem, I've already had my tea. Good day."
And with that he half slammed the door shut as he hastily made his way toward his Minicart parked just a few strides to the left of the house, hidden behind a large pile of useless metal he'd scavenged through earlier that day. Or was it later last night? Time was such a useless concept to keep track of if you weren't in a specific situation that called for it.
Now I just need a few more odds and ends before I can get back to work. Work. Feels like it's been ages since I've seen my workshop...can I even call that makeshift forge near the sewers a workshop?..Bah! Of course I can. Anyone who says I can't is a sodding bloody idiot!...What was I doing? Ah yes! Axl Square should have some shops where I can buy what I need. To market!
The sun had all but overtaken the sky now. Light poured over the tall buildings in the distance. Zeppelins in the air casting a shadow here or there. The rays illuminated every speck of scenery in the city. It was a shame really, the black clouds of the factories and the dirty lopsided buildings of the lower streets just up ahead were clearly visible during the day. Low Caldor was so much more...not pretty, no...less grotesque, in the night.