Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Incredible Comics #1

Reznicek’s Fix-It and Pawn was a derelict-looking two-story building surrounded by 10-story tenements. Franz Reznicek was a diminutive older man who had seen his neighborhood change significantly over the last 60 years but he refused to leave. He rarely left the building--the ground floor being the shop and the top floor being the workshop and Reznicek’s apartment--but customers would come from around the city for him to repair their stuff. The pawn shop was an inevitable evolution with the change in the neighborhood.

Harold Banner looked like he didn’t belong in this neighborhood--and he didn’t but his neighborhood wasn’t much better. His blond hair and height made him stand out as he walked down the sidewalk to the Shop. He eyed the stubby building and tenements on either side. He walked into the Shop, the little bell above the door jingled.

“You Banner?” Reznicek asked, he could be heard but not seen over the shelves.

“Yeah. How’d you know?” Harold asked.

“You said you’d be here around ten plus you stick out like a sore thumb that has a black eye,” Reznicek said.

Harold chuckled. “I guess I do. Thank you for this opportunity. I don’t have any experience doing any kind of fixing of stuff so this will be new.”

“As long you can work, you can fix. When you’re not fixing, you’ll be putting things on shelves and working the counter,” Reznicek came out from around a shelf and pointed to the counter in the back corner. Do you have family?” Reznicek asked.

“Uh, a wife and a kid on the way,” Harold said.

“I’ll try to let you see them as much as possible but I expect you to be here. An apprentice needs to learn and my work is piling up.”

“Maggie and I talked about it and I’m here whenever you need me,” Harold said.

“Good. Come with me to the workshop, I will show you some of the tools and things people have hired me to fix,” Reznicek curled his finger a couple times as he walked away. Harold followed him to the back and up the stairs.

The workshop took up most of the top floor with a small living space--enough room for a table, chair, bed and sink--on the far side. Various appliances and mechanical items were on shelves lining the wall. There were two work benches, one near the stairwell and one near the bathroom. It was clear that the one near the bathroom was Reznicek’s.

“Was there an apprentice before me?” Harold asked.

“Yes. He stole from me. Only here two weeks.”

“How many apprentices have you had?”

“You and the thief. Let me show you the tools,” Reznicek went over to his work bench and began showing Harold the tools he used. There were mostly screwdrivers of various sizes, mainly small ones, and spare parts lying everywhere. “I hope your eyesight is good. If not, I have these magnifying things but eyesight works better.”

“My eyes are fine. At least at the moment. How long does it take you to fix something?”

“Depends on what it is. Watches and smaller things maybe an hour. Larger appliances can take a day or two. The new-fangled things take the longest. I’m not used to them. I should just quit taking them but I need to learn and so do you.”

Harold looked along the shelves of stuff and saw a shiny watch sitting on the shelf. When he looked closer he noticed that it wasn’t a watch but a sundial but it had a wrist strap. He took it off the shelf and looked at it. “What’s this?”

“It’s a wrist sundial. It’s thousands of years old. It goes back to Ancient Rome and was used by some...centurion. Some guy brought it in for me to fix but never came back to pick it up. Funny thing, it didn’t even need fixing. He said that it gave him some powers. I just nodded and gave him his work ticket.”

“Did you ever try it on?” Harold asked, he beamed at the idea of having powers.

Reznicek chuckled. It sounded like he hadn’t done that in months if not years. “It’s bad business to wear the customer’s things. Besides, the guy was probably crazy and got locked up which is why, after five years, I still have this thing.” Reznicek began looking closely at his peg board along the wall and grabbed a key from it. “Here. This will get you into the shop in the morning and remember to lock up at night. Do you want to start working?”

“Sure, of course. That’s why I’m here,” Harold shrugged.

They went back downstairs and Reznicek quickly showed Harold how to run the counter and then left him alone to work with the customers and taking orders to be fixed. At six, Harold flipped the sign to ‘closed’ and went upstairs where Reznicek began showing Harold how to fix a cuckoo clock. Reznicek then stood over Harold and watched him fix another one, doing it perfectly but slower.

“You’ll get quicker,” Reznicek said after Harold complained about only fixing three clocks when Reznicek had moved through five. “It’s almost nine. You can go home,” Reznicek said. “Don’t forget to lock up.”

“Okay, Mr. Reznicek,” Harold said. “I’ll see you tomorrow a little bit before nine.

Reznicek had gotten up and went into his living space, closing the door behind him.

“Bye,” Harold said softly and a little confused. He looked at the sundial still on the shelf. “It’s been five years. How can you use a sundial as a watch?”

Harold took the wrist sundial and slowly worked it onto his wrist. At first, nothing happened but soon Harold found himself in a blue and gold uniform with a flowing yellow cape. A yellow Roman helmet covered his head. With little thought, he found that he could float. He slowly lowered himself back to the floor and took off the sundial, reverting to his original clothes.

He pocketed the sundial and left the workshop, going downstairs and leaving the building, making sure to lock the front door. He cautiously looked around and saw no one so he slipped the sundial back on. The blue and gold reappeared and this time, Harold went further into the sky, flying up over the buildings. He glided through the sky, trying to make out landmarks on to find his way home. He spotted the small circle park near his apartment building and then his building. He slowly lowered himself to the roof of his tenement, looked out over the city and took off the sundial. He used the roof access to get to his apartment and went in.

His wife, Maggie, was sitting under a lamp, knitting. “You’re home,” she smiled and put down her knitting to start getting up.

“Please don’t get up,” Harold stopped her and knelt down in front of her. They kissed.

“How was your first day of apprenticing?”

“I think I’m going to like doing this. I’m learning how to run a business, a store, fix things. It’s going to be really good.”

“I’m glad you like it. Help me, and let’s go to bed,” Maggie said, holding out her hands.

Harold helped her up and the two of them walked down the hallway to their bedroom.

Next: Harold tries out the powers of the sundial and a customer comes in to pawn something to save her husband's life.