Friday, June 22, 2007

"Westinghoused," Part 1

(In the late 1800’s, the battle between two competing electric technologies, AC and DC currents, turned brutal. For Thomas Edison, it was a life and death struggle. This is a fictionalized version of true events in history.)

Harold Brown

July 30, 1888

Behind the curtain, Harold Brown checked the connections to the heavy metal plates.

He tugged. Wiggled. Pushed.

Good and strong. It should pass clean current.

He traced the wire back to the rocker switch where a screw clamped it down. He still wondered if the gauge was too thin.

"Mr. Brown?"

Harold moved to the connections on the generator. "What?"

"There's another one at the back door."

"No. We have enough."

"I told him that, but he's putting up a fuss. I think he may be drunk."

Harold huffed.

"I told him to go away, but he's refusing."

In the side room, something set the dogs in the cage yapping. The sound shook Harold's attention to pieces.

He slapped his hands down on his thighs. "Then pay him and be done with it!"

"Where should I--"

"In the cage! With the others!"

The assistant turned.

"No, wait." Harold followed along the other half of the circuit. "Bring it here. I'm almost ready. Tie it to the post and keep it quiet."

On to Part 2.

(If you enjoy this kind of fictionalized history series, feel free to check out The X-Ray Martyrs to meet a couple of the many people who died before we understood the dangers of radiation.)


Linda said...

Ok Jason what is up?? :) You got me all full of suspense this early morning. Oh yeah Hello!

Bev said...

perhaps its just my morbid little imagination, but I have the nasty feeling that what happens next will have the PETA people pounding at the door!

nice suspense Jason

AngelConradie said...

nooooooo... how can you end it there already!!!?!

aminah said...

seeing that you are a Tori Amos fan I stopped by...I will be back to read more...

Anonymous said...

Linda, I used to love weaving constant cliffhangers in my series fiction. :D I was feeling nostalgic, I guess.

Bev, you may be right. ;) These things aren't made up, however, so PETA can't blame me. They are true events. I'm just relating them in the form of a story.

Angel, my wife said the same thing. Sorry about the cliffhanger. Stay tuned!

Aminah, yes, I'm a huge Tori fan! I'll stop by your blog in the meantime.

Bhaswati said...

Reading that gave me a chill. Great job of alluding to the macabre in such a subtle way. Thanks, Jason!

Suzan Abrams, email: said...

You're always experimenting & ever so creative, Jason. :-)

Anonymous said...

Bhaswati, I do think the imagined horror is more powerful than the described one. :) Great to see you!

Suzan, many thanks! =)

mermaid said...

In the Name of Science.
In the Name of Sacrifice.
In the Name of Curiosity.

What are you trying to name?

Anonymous said...

Mermaid, this one is even worse as we'll see. In the Name of Greed.

anne frasier said...

tried to leave a comment last night--

damn, blogger!


i love this kind of thing, and you know x-ray martyrs is one of my all-time favorites. i was just thinking about it a few days ago, wondering if you might rerun it at some point.

LiVEwiRe said...

Interestingly I just learned of his connection with the electric chair. There was so much they didn't know and so much they fought to harness. I'm not certain I envy them.

Anonymous said...

Anne, I really enjoyed the X-Ray martyrs also and wanted to do another. This story struck me as similarly fertile ground.

Livewire, this battle between companies and inventors is fascinating. Edison does not come off as a warm and fuzzy guy. He fought viciously for the inferior technology.

LiVEwiRe said...

And you know, Edison had his hand in so many things. Once you look into it, you find his involvement goes deeper than you might imagine. But I'm sure you know that. =)