Author : Mike Corrao

“Come one, come all. See the beautiful intricacy that is my friend right here,” The salesman slid to the side of the stage, moving as one with the curtain behind him. On the old wood floor stood two metal feet, in shoes like hooves. They held up a man who was not made of flesh and bone, but instead of turning gears and aluminum plates. The eyes lit up.

The salesman wrapped his arm around its metal shoulders and tapped his knuckle against the breastplate. He listened with satisfaction as the surface clanged, “A living man made completely of metal; nothing organic about him.”

Steam billowed out of the metal man’s top hat, as he adjusted it on his head. He bowed to the audience and waved his hand back and forth. They cheered.

“Not a single detail has been left unattended to. He is the perfect person to share your time with.” It stepped forward on the stage and put its hands on its hips, lifting its chest. Painted teeth rested in a permanent smile while the yellow light of its eyes flicked with emotion. The salesman curled his moustache and the metal man mimicked with his own. He gave a fake laugh. The crowd cheered again.

“Take him with you on a walk, have him babysit your children while you spend an evening out with the wife, give him some chores around the house.” He tossed his cane over to his companion who caught it with ease. “He’ll do just about anything you ask.”

He nodded. The metal man danced for the crowd.

“We’ve programmed him with all the etiquette and manners that you could ask for. Go ahead and take him to dinner; he’ll know which fork is for the salad and everything. Just look at him, a mechanical gentleman. Want him to cook for you? No problem, the power is in your hands.”

The metal man’s eyes flickered more rapidly. It stopped dancing. The steam of his hat grew thicker. Its cane dropped. The salesman glanced over to see his prized machine’s anxiety. He rushed over and put his arm around it, “excuse the two of us for one moment, folks.” The man and his machine turned around towards the back wall.

“What’s wrong, bud? Was it something I said?”

The mechanical gentleman nodded his head rapidly.

“Which thing was it that you didn’t like?”

It raised its finger and reached back with its other hand and turned a tiny crank on its side. Then its head made a crackling noise before speaking in the salesman’s voice, “The power is in your hands.” The recording cut off.

“It isn’t really in their hands.” He wiped his brow, “It’s just a sales pitch. Makes people want to buy you. Understand? You’ve got control. Okay?”

The mechanical gentleman nodded again.

“Okay. You ready to get back to the big show?”

Its head rattled with each nod. The salesman bent down and picked up the cane, handing it over to his companion who hesitated before grabbing it. He quickly spun around and smiled large to the whispering crowd, “We are back, friends! I’m sorry to make you wait, my acquaintance here gets a little nervous sometimes. It isn’t his fault.”

The mechanical gentleman turned around to face the crowd.

“Where was I… Oh yes, the power is yours.”

The metal man panicked.

The salesman was too late to stop him as the crowd erupted into screams.

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