W.I.P. (work in progress, U.F.O. (unfinished object). See what you can do with it.
[AN: You don’t really need to say “see what you can do with it” at
the end of a prompt. I will see. And so will you. Required reading: Ballad of Bitzer]
July 13 1923
had been waiting. Hiding silently under the dropcloth and listening. One of the children had a nasty cough. It sounded like the poor infant’s
throat was about to be coughed up.
She knew from conversation
that Maman was working on anything that would help. Ivy tea. Barley
soup. Steam… always hard in the middle of winter.
were not allowed to see Bitzer. Not how she was. With only one arm and
half a face and no legs… it would scare the poor babies to death.
…and speaking of steam…
waited until Maman turned on a tap before she reached backwards to turn on the tap behind her head. Water poured into a pail and re-filled it. Just enough so that Bitzer could sip and refill her boiler with the help
of a long piece of rubber hose.
Maman would not be coming
downstairs, tonight. Of course not. She was so busy with her flesh
children that she had no time for her metal one. And that was all right.
Bitzer could wait. She was patient.
getting a little dull. Nobody hardly ever came down into the cellar, any
more. Especially not Maman. Bitzer read things. Books within the reach of her left arm. The plans on the wall for Colonel Peter A. Walter
Singing Musical Automaton Zero Zero One.
And then she had an idea.
What if Maman was testing Bitzer’s capabilities? What if she wanted to see what Bitzer could do on her own?
why not? The tools were right there. Most of the parts were right there. Right within easy reach. And the plans were certainly legible.
right arm was suspiciously unlike her left, but -oh!- how useful it was. And with the help of the wire-frame spectacles… and a coat-hook
screwed in to the left side of her facial chassis… she could see and
do so much more.
Legs were infinitely more trouble than arms. She
was certain she hadn’t got her right hip quite correct. And with the
beginnings of metal femurs, she could sit up and reach the oil on the
And an envelope of pictures.
They were funny
pictures, with black where the white should be and vice versa. All but
one went back into the envelope from whence they came. This one was
special. This one was Maman.
Bits took a moment to read the careful writing on the back. Plaesir Gloria “Play” Arist nee Aris. Shown here in Walter Worker Uniform C. 1894. Negative. Do not expose to light. Bits hugged it to her opal heart before sliding it under the headrest.
people who came down into the cellar did not even bother to look for Bitzer. They put things in boxes and shoved the boxes together until
there was no room to shove them into.
On the plus side, it meant that there were plenty of things to build her legs out of.
Maman was going to make such a fuss when she came back and saw all this mess.
Bitzer decided that she might be better off finishing herself so she could at least clear a path.
was fun. She got to see new things and find new books and there were lots of things to read. And there were toys, too. Toys the children had
had before Maman sent them down.
Maman was being so mysterious… Maybe Bitzer should ask her if this was the right idea.
waited until night-time, of course. Maman liked to stay up after dark and do all the things she couldn’t do with the children in her elbows.
And again, she contemplated the stairs. They were just a series of
little floors. All the way up to the big door.
She could lift a foot and place it on a step. She could hold the bannister and brace against the wall…
the instant she tried to pull herself up, her damage sensors screamed that something was very, very, very wrong with her knees.
Maman was not coming down, yet. And Bitzer could not go up.
Perhaps there was a hint in one of the boxes…