As is typical with politicians, Mayor Brewins agreed with whichever constituent he was speaking to at the moment, and pledged his defense of their claim to the death. No headway could be made, and all three parties threatened to boycott the event.
To solve this problem, Jeremiah Brown built a giant Ferris wheel on top of the town square. He affixed three great platforms to the wheel so that they could be moved on and off the ground, powered by four locomotive engines. Each group could claim a platform and have their event at the same time, in the same place, with the added attraction of the widest Ferris wheel in the world. Though, given the scope of the project, no one knew for certain (including Jeremiah) whether the contraption would work.
On the day of the town fair, the contraption performed beautifully. The only incident that marred the fair came from Jeremiah’s own assistant, Mr. Francis Garmen. Having been spurned by a young lady, he mixed too much whiskey with too much pie. He climbed over the safety rail and fell off the edge of the Daughters of the Republic’s platform. Luckily for him, the platform was close to the ground at that particular time. Unluckily for them, a group of ladies waiting to perform in the Miss Silver Key competition broke his fall. Though no one was hurt in the incident, Mr. Garmen found himself removed from the “eligible bachelor” category for more than half of the town’s most eligible bachelorettes.
A curious situation followed. Several townspeople claimed to see Mr. Brown grabbing Mr. Garmen’s shirt collar with both hands. Any words exchanged were inaudible to all the witnesses. And, even if Mr. Brown’s reaction was unusual, no one could blame him given Mr. Garmen’s behavior.
After he solved the Mayor Brewins fiasco, people from all over the state sought out Jeremiah and his talents. Friends, neighbors, politicians, office workers, farmers, technicians, and more brought their problems to his door. He kept his workshop open until all hours of the night, only closing it for a few grudging hours of sleep. But he always took Sundays off to escort Miss Amelia Tibbits to church. Then they’d go for a stroll among the mighty fine azalea bushes that peppered the Tibbits’ family farm in the spring.
They spoke of many things, but Amelia preferred philosophy. She enjoyed verbal sparring and the repartee that controversial ideas brought. Jeremiah had, until now, found people in general, and the fairer sex in particular, boring and devoid of the topics that interested him. If they weren’t bringing him a problem to solve or machines to invent, he’d rather not be bothered. In Miss Tibbits’s companionship, though, he never felt bored; he also felt well out of his league. Whenever she looked at him with her clear, blue eyes, he felt ready to propose on the spot just to prevent her from getting away. Fear of her answer, either way, always stopped him, though.
A number of months after they began their Sunday ritual, Amelia said, “Mr. Brown, I’ve just been over to Mr. Montclair’s restaurant. Did you build that automatic dish cleaner for him?”
Jeremiah smiled with modest pride. “Yes, ma’am,” he replied. “Took me almost a week to work out the pressure and gears and such. Much more complicated than I’d expected.”
“Did you think about the impact of your work?”
Although he had enjoyed Miss Tibbits’s companionship for some time, he had not yet learned the signs of an oncoming storm. “Cleaner dishes with half the water and half the time,” he replied in a jolly tone.
“And half the people.”
Jeremiah furrowed his brow; clearly she was not aiming for a compliment.
To Be Continued…