Creative Writing – “Small Fry”

By: Miles Estrada | Writer (Fiction)

May 24th, 2018

When one Miss Nesbit of Chesire had noticed nearly all means of electrical power in the house were universally recalcitrant, she promptly rang up the local electrician, so that she might get to the heart of the matter. She stated to him that the whole house was amiss, and he ought to make it a point to come down as soon as he could to set things right again. She waited for him quite patiently in the sitting room, and when the electrician did eventually arrive, she greeted him congenially. She then sought out the areas of concern, and within a quarter of an hour, he set off to work, sauntering all about the premises on a quest to replenish the vitality within anything, be it a small desk lamp or a circuitous network of wires that lay behind a simple light switch.

But as he was at work all day, and as Miss Nesbit herself was wholly engaged in  a substantial book, there was one factor which neither of them had realised before they set out to their labour: that was Miss Nesbit’s son Benjamin, and his abnormally heightened curiosity.

During the electrician’s occupation of the house (Miss Nesbit had been told the entire job would take place over the course of three weeks), Benjamin would often observe his conduct, and was entirely beguiled  by the prospect of toying with assortments of entangled wires, privileging a whole room to be either alighted or astir with the wondrous vicissitudes incurred by the vicarious, utilitarian commodity of electricity; the vivification of a derelict blender, for example, was at the forefront of his fascination. Naturally, the boy had thought mending any and all means of electrical power might be rather an enjoyable trade, and wanted very much to express his talent under the umbrage of the master as a kind of apprentice. and that was what he intended to to. But what might he mend, anyhow?

He noticed that already the well-wrought electrician had had most of the now animate appliances all under his belt, so his options then were all but limited. Later, he recalled to memory a small reading lamp kept near his mother’s armchair that acted especially difficult; she looked after it as if it were her daughter. The electrician had failed to bother himself about this.

Yes, thought Benjamin, that is what I shall do. Oh how proud mummy would be if she were to regard this lamp, the fruit of my labour. Perhaps I might even become an amateur electrician myself. Yes, I’ll do that.

And that he did.

That night, at about half past eleven, when Miss Nesbit had already been long retried for the night, and when the electrician had been three hours gone from the house, little Benjamin crept out of his bedchamber, stepping lightly, and reaching the sitting room, he saw the difficult lamp, sat atop a stool parallel to his mother’s armchair. He crossed the carpet with caution, and on stepping perpendicular to the chair, he tried with all his strength to move it from its present position. He succeeded in his endeavors, being brought down mightily onto the floor, upon which he perceived a sickly yellow cover inlaid with electrical outlets, hiding from the outside world a complex latticework of wires that produced the wonderful electricity with which he was so enamored.

On seeing this, Benjamin unplugged the lamp and rushed to the kitchen in order to retrieve a screwdriver used previously, and now accidentally left there, by the electrician. With this, he timorously unscrewed the cover, being ever eager to actually get down to mending something of his own; and for his mother, of all people! Sweat even began to well forth from his little body.

Once the cover was removed, the wires were exposed in all their beatific nakedness, Benjamin, caught up in the wildest excitement, was then souse thoroughly. He set his hands on the wires, and in an instant, a momentous resurgence of electricity assailed each and every room of the house. A transitory puff of smoke soon followed.

In the very early morning, when Miss Nesbit had awaken and the electrician had arrived for another day’s work, both were delighted to see the house now set right again – it had been right since midnight. As a sort of celebration, Miss Nesbit had made tea and biscuits for the both of them, which they ate in the sitting room. Not long into their repast, though, the electrician had perceived a strange smell, like a burnt piece of flesh. The source was attributed to the out of place armchair, which the electrician had promptly shoved away.

Then…well…to make things seem less morbid than they actually were, the both of them bore witness to little Benjamin, prostrate on the carpet next to the disorderly outlet, fried up like a little piece of fillet o’ sole.

At the least, the lights were all in order.

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