A Clockwork Mephisto
Mephisto stepped out of the rain and shut the door with a tinkle of the bell. The shopkeep, a shrunken old man wearing bifocals thick enough to have bestowed him with a perpetual hunch, squinted up at the newcomer. With a gasp of recognition, he hobbled carefully to the door and drew the latch. A private viewing was quite the honour, which Mephisto acknowledged with the merest of nods and an upturning of his lips.
The old man crossed back behind his workbench, during which time Mephisto made himself comfortable by removing his bowler hat and divesting his featureless black cloak upon the least offending edge of the dusty counter. A soft whirring sound teased at his ears and the oppressive odour of nitre filled the air, along with a hint of something burning.
An ominous combination.
Rather than linger on that thought, he swept his eyes lazily around the dimly lit shop. There was little order to be found. All manner of instrument and mechanism lay piled haphazardly on shelves and stools and in some places on the floor. From the ceiling hung something wholly mysterious in its purpose yet clearly on display for any customer willing to crane their neck and figure it out. Most were smudged with grease or layered in dust and in desperate need of some care.
Why was it always the genius that spurned the services of a good assistant?
The old man spoke first, as was protocol. “My Lord Mephistopheles,” he wheezed, “what brings you to the Craftsman’s Quarter? How can my humble shop be of service?” No doubt he thought highly of himself for Mephisto having come in person - it wasn’t every day that a noble was found scuttling about his own errands after all. But this was something… sensitive, and most definitely secret. It required a personal touch.
“I am in need of something special, something from your back room,” Mephisto said knowingly. The old man was listening intently now. “Show me something worth my trip to this fleabitten shithole of a Quarter and you will be more than adequately rewarded,” he finished offhandedly. He let the man imagine a mountain of gold, when he’d only brought a simple purse of silver.
With barely the slightest pause to salivate, the old man snapped his fingers and shouted grumpily, “Ana! Fetch the top shelf!” The whirring ceased immediately, to be replaced by the shuffle and clang of someone in the back room. That too ended when a waif of no more than twenty pushed through the curtains. Her skinny arms were overloaded with a variety of even more fanciful mechanical apparatus, and she struggled silently under the weight of it all.
She dumped her burden on the workbench with a sigh and the care of someone worn down to the bone. Then she backed up to the wall to wait for her masters instruction. She folded her hands in front of her skirts and puffed quietly, her cheeks flushed with colour. The old man absently brushed a hand towards her, “My apprentice, Ana. She is quite the incompetent and I would release her if I could, but finding enthusiastic help in a field such as mine is the task of a more patient man.”
So the old man had an assistant after all. How curious. Among better company this would have been a fine talking point, but Mephisto had a distance to maintain. “I care as much for her as for you, my good man. Show me your trinkets.”
A flash of irritation crossed the old mans face, but was quickly schooled to indulgent subservience. From the new pile of machinery he fished a large egg-shaped contraption covered in greasy hinges and dull brown plates. It was about the size of the old mans head, until he pressed a bright red button on the top. Then it sprang violently apart, unfurling in the blink of an eye across half the bench. It lay mostly flat against the surface, but in a variety of places large phallic protrusions jiggled in the lamplight.
“Behold, since the dawn of time man has wondered what came first, the chicken or the egg. The answer is neither! The first to come is whichever lucky lady receives the Fuck-Mat 3000 for her birthday!” Mephisto briefly considered the Fuck-Mat 3000. All across it’s surface a wide range of dildos and vibrators jostled for position like a particularly specialised porcupine. Indeed, if a gentlewench happened upon this creature in an open field she might be late to the moon festival or whatever it was that peasants did to pass the time.
Sensing Mephisto’s hesitation, the old man said, “Ana can demonstrate if you like.” He raised his hand to snap his fingers, but Ana was already peeling herself off of the wall against which she’d been slumped.
Mephisto raised his own hand and said, “There is no need, this is too pedestrian. A lady of noble birth such as my Esmeralda might fall asleep upon it and wake to find it broke betwixt her stubborn cunt. I daresay you can do better.” With an out-of-protocol narrowing of his eyes, the old man angrily slapped a button and the Fuck-Mat 3000 sprang back together. He dropped it unceremoniously back on the pile and instead grabbed a long conical device with a handle and a trigger on the flat end.
“Have you and your lover ever been concurrently impassioned but have only had the apparatus on hand to relieve one person at a time? The .44 Tandem solves this problem by giving you both something to do in the bedroom! Just aim…” The old man aimed at Mephisto. “And pull the trigger.” The old man pulled the trigger. The cone split into four sections which snapped back towards the handle. Out of the cone whipped a dozen snakes wearing little glass bowls on their heads. They flailed violently at Mephisto but couldn’t fully escape the device because their tails were glued crudely to the back.
The old man released the trigger and the snakes were yanked back inside the cone. He waved it around in one hand and stated proudly, “Low maintenance, just run them under a tap when you’re done. And you have to feed them every other week. They prefer fish.” He beamed at Mephisto, who wasn’t quite sure what he thought of firing snakes up his lady’s ladder. Getting the feeling that Mephisto wasn’t entirely convinced again, the old man barked, “Ana!”
She pushed herself off of the wall with a hacking cough and started to hike up her sweaty skirts. Mephisto cut them both off, “Is this the best you have to offer? We have already tried snakes, they just gave her a rash. Gerbils, eels, all manner of frog and beetle, nothing has worked! The problem is not zoological in nature. That is why I came to the most depraved sexineer in the district. If you cannot help me, I must take my business elsewhere!”
Far from being indignant, the old man actually grinned. “The most depraved you say… I think you have come to the right place after all.” With his bony arm he swept the pile of machinery off of the table to crash across the floor. “I must apologise, Lord Mephistopheles. Til now I have not properly grasped the depth of the problem. You may be at ease, however, for I have a solution.” With that said, he leapt out of his chair and pulled his britches down to his knees.
For a moment Mephisto thought the old man had lost his mind, and opted for the gallows via assault of a noble with a shrivelled weapon. But something amongst the old mans sparse and crooked bush glinted, and Mephisto could only watch in wonder as the deviant craftsman reached down and slipped a shiny silver ring off of his twig and berries. He placed it on the empty table between them with a click. “This is my finest creation yet. No living components. No moving parts. Just the iron of a meteor fashioned into a ring for your cock.”
The old man swept his open palm between them as if an artist painting his scene. His loose britches slipped further towards his ankles. “It was near to a year ago today that I witnessed the passing of a particularly lonely comet. I resolved to kept an eye on it and to that end I purchased a glass scope from an astronomer whose field I had wrongly presupposed as a juvenile fancy. Sure enough, the comet eventually met with a comely asteroid on the edge of our solar system. It was then that I commissioned a set of star charts and over the course of many months plotted their happy journey through the sky. Nine months later I dig this up in the desert across the Wet Sea.
“It has a most unusual power, you see. It exerts a weak attractive field like a magnet, but it has no effect on other metals. It affects…” The old man leaned in to whisper conspiratorially, “The clitoris.” Mephisto’s eyes widened in shock. “I know it is hard to believe, but you have to understand that it drives them crazy. If this metal goes within a couple of inches of a clitoris, well, you better have some towels on hand and be ready to cuddle. I call it…
Mephisto had never heard of such a metal, not in all the realms of heaven or hell. Could it be real? Could more be found? Out of the corner of his eye he found Ana no longer leaning against the wall. She stood still as a statue, barely breathing, her hungry eyes fixed on the shiny silver ring. He reached down and picked it up. There was one way to be sure. She licked her lips and he asked, “Could I have a demonstration?”
A flash of irritation crossed the old mans face, but was quickly schooled to indulgent subservience. From the new pile of machinery he fished a large egg-shaped contraption covered in greasy hinges and dull brown plates. It was about the size of the old mans head, until he pressed a bright red button on the top. Then it sprang violently apart, unfurling in the blink of an eye across half the bench. It lay mostly flat against the surface, but in a variety of places large phallic protrusions jigged in the lamplight. The old man swept his open palm between them as if an artist painting his scene. His loose britches slipped further towards his ankles. "It was near to a year ago from today that I witnessed the passing of a particularly lonely comet. I resolved to kept an eye on it and to that end I purchased a glass scope from an astronomer whose field I had wrongly presupposed as an juvenile fancy. Sure enough, the comet eventually met with a comely asteroid on the edge of our solar system. It was then that I commissioned a set of star charts and over the course of many months plotted their happy journey through the sky. Nine months later I dig this up in the desert across the Wet Sea.