The Machine

“Thanks,” Andy said as he handed Roy, the UPS guy, a folded ten dollar bill.

“No problem,” Roy replied.  He bobbed his head in a quick nod and scampered out the open door, clearly unnerved by the dizzying labyrinth of pipes and wires suspended overhead.

The machine had that effect on most people.  Andy didn’t even notice anymore.

He closed and locked the door, then turned and shuffled over to the small wooden crate resting on the floor of his mother’s basement.  The machine’s final component lurked inside, and for a moment Andy considered not opening the container.  He thought about just shoving it into a corner and abandoning the project, letting the world continue on as it was—seven billion souls spinning through the void in a world built on suffering, hate, and inequity.  It was a terrible thought, but a familiar one.  After all, if he completed the machine, most of those seven billion souls would perish anyway.

He considered the idea for a final moment and then dismissed it entirely.  Enough procrastinating.  He’d made his decision long before the project even began.

Walking to his tool bench, Andy grabbed a pry bar.  He had work to do.


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