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   Chapter 30 The recluse in the suit

The Story of the Mimosa By Paul Kater Characters: 9573

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:04

Maurizio skipped breakfast. Normally he didn't, but normally there was no special delivery of this magnitude at his shed. As soon as he had opened the door to the shed and pushed all his prized possession there to the side, he carted the suit inside. Using a maze of ropes, pulleys and other lifting equipment he had accumulated over time, he managed to get the suit off the cart and standing up straight, even when it was straight in a slumped over, sagging and not very elegant way. After placing supports in strategic places so the thing would not fall forwards or backwards, he then moved the cart out of the way and closed the doors.

Only then the postman found something to eat, which was about time. It had taken him most of the morning to get the big metal suit to where it was now. After a quick meal, with a double espresso in hand, he then had a good look at what he now owned. A metal suit that looked like a robot, almost ten feet tall when standing upright (this would present a problem for the roof of the shed, he noticed), with wide legs ending in clog feet and arms ending in hands with twelve mechanical fingers each. The head of the thing had almost full vision around through a kind of window, were it not that the interior seemed entirely black. He quickly located the door on the back of the thing so he got on a small stepladder and examined the opening mechanism. That did not look very common. He assumed it might be American, although he was not certain how an American robot suit would end up in Lake Garda.

Maybe, he mused as he stood on the steps, they were doing secret experiments with going to space. After all, it was 1965 and technology was progressing hand over fist. In that case maybe some space-goers had lost this thing and it ended up in the hands of Doctor Maurizio Blunt. In which case, he assumed, it could have found a much worse recipient. "Thank you, and bless America!" he toasted the back of the silent coppery construction.

Maurizio emptied his cup and with new energy got to work on the weird locking mechanism that kept the robot's secrets from him. Every time he tried something with the pressure points he had found in a handle, it felt as if he was missing something. The lock would move a little bit but snap back because of something odd. After the fourth double espresso without cream he sat down on a wobbly camping chair and thought hard. There was something he was simply overlooking and that would be the solution to this insane puzzle. "Come on Maurizio, you were at the university of Roma, the best this country has to offer. That makes you the best this country has to offer. You must be able to decipher this, " he told himself and again looked over the big metal man. And another time. And then he saw it. The fingers! Of course!

He jumped from his chair, kicked over the empty cup and looked

n, to show off his superior knowledge of technology. Space technology even, to prove that not only the Americans could use a complex suit like this. For a moment he even considered delivering the mail with it, but his route was quite extensive and riding his bicycle with that suit would most certainly fail.

By the time he was done with his musings about the suit and the strange things in space it might have seen (after all, you could expect Americans to even want to go to the moon), he cleaned up his dishes and went to bed. All the work on the suit had rendered him tired. The night gave him fantastic dreams and the days that followed were an odd mix of delivering mail and acting as normal as possible, and working on the suit to clean every little detail of it.

The hard work of the postman gave him a new reputation in his village of being a recluse obsessed with the suit that had disappeared inside his shed. It was not something that bothered him, as he was the only one not aware of this. Instead he was now so far that he could actually step into the robot suit with the actual purpose to just feel how it was to be inside it. The suit was a little bit too large, but with a few blocks of wood under his feet that was easily fixed. He looked out the visor and was delighted to see the ground of his shed. He did not dare to activate anything yet (nor did he yet know how to do that), as raising the suit's head would create an unwanted opening in the roof. He then stuck his arms inside the metallic sleeves and let his fingers play over the odd switches there. The number of them was amazing. Maurizio stood in the metal suit for a while, his head bent, and tried to envision who had been in it before. The result of that of course was not at all near reality, as Tibbaloo Malloy had not been an American. Not even something resembling a proper human, even though looks could be deceiving.

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