“Just a little bit more,” says Mr. Inventions. “Just a little bit more!”
At his side, Johnny Sparks gives a low whine. The dog doesn’t like this new invention, not at all. With his tail tucked and his ears pinned back, he walks circles around the tall scientist.
“Hush now,” says Mr. Inventions. “I’ll feed you in a few minutes. This is important, Johnny Sparks. This could be the moment that I’ve been waiting for! If I can get this controller to work properly, then I know everything else will come rushing back.”
Johnny Sparks huffs. The dog is far from pleased with his answer. He butts his head up against Mr. Inventions leg, only to be shooed away with a red gloved hand. The rubber smells like smoke and chemicals.
“Go lay down somewhere. I’m very busy,” insists Mr. Inventions. Even though this is his own workshop, he’s tall enough that he needs to stoop down over his table. A mess of papers, blueprints, pens, and screws are scattered about the top. Bits of metal and copper wire curl over the top of the design that he’s working from.
In the year of 1890, a man named Nikola Tesla invented a series of mechanisms. Among them were electric oscillators, meters, improved lights, and the high-voltage transformer known as the Tesla coil. He also experimented with x-rays and short range demonstrations of radio communication two years before Guglielmo Marconi piloted a radio-controlled boat around a pool in Madison Square Garden.
Tesla was famous for his inventions, and he was famous for his love of birds. Mr. Inventions isn’t famous for either, but he hopes that, one day, people will recognize the truth.
This is the truth.
In 1942, a dove began to visit Nikola Tesla. The same dove came every day for nearly seven months. Then, suddenly, it vanished. Two days later, on the seventh day of 1943, Nikola Tesla passed away.
He died before ever completing his greatest invention – a massive death ray powered by the Tesla Coil. Shortly after his untimely demise, the government came and collected all his papers and notes, spiriting away the design for the deadly invention before anyone could even figure out what had just happened.
For years, the world has wondered if the ray would have worked. They have wondered if it could have been used for the good of the world.
Now, in the middle of 2016, Mr. Nikola Inventions, through a series of reoccurring dreams of inventions that he believes are flashes into his former life, has come to a startling conclusion.
He is Nikola Tesla.
After so many years, the grand scientist has come back in another form. They share the same face, with graying hair and sharp eyes. They share the same love of birds and, too, they share the same dove.
It is true; three weeks ago, a dove began to visit Mr. Inventions. Even now, the white feathered bird flutters around the top of the workshop. It rests on this light and that one, occasionally swooping down to land on the table itself. It looks like the bird is surveying his work!
Mr. Inventions smiles at the bird, “What do you think, birdy? Am I doing this right? I say, this is clearly my design, but I’m having the hardest time remembering where anything’s supposed to go.”
The bird fluffs itself up.
“I know, I know. This is something that I need to figure out on my own,” Mr. Inventions laughs.
He runs over to a notebook, that he keeps on his bedside table, of his drawings from his dreams. He takes a quick peek, then runs his rubber glove covered hands through his hair leaving it mussed and dirty.
“I’m just so excited!” Mr. Inventions says aloud. “I feel like this is the final step!”
A knock on the door. Mr. Inventions frowns, looking over towards it.
He calls, “Who is it? I’m very busy!”
“It’s me,” calls the voice of a young girl.
Tabitha is a variable.
Nikola Tesla didn’t have a daughter, yet Mr. Inventions does. The young girl peeks into the work shop. Her eyes are wide and wanting. She says, “Daddy, are you almost finished? We were going to the zoo today. Did you forget?”
It seems like he’s forgetting a lot lately. Mr. Inventions frowns, “I suppose that I did. I’m sorry, Tabitha. Just let me finish with this project, and I’ll be right up. It won’t take me more than ten minutes.”
Tabitha lingers in the doorway. Finally, she nods, “Alright. Johnny Sparks, do you want to come out here with me?”
The dog wags its tail, twice, and happily ambles up the steps. Mr. Inventions repeats, “It won’t be more than ten minutes.”
Then he turns back to his bird, and he turns back to his work, and the clock continues to tick. It’s later in the night, much longer than 10-minutes, before he gets the controller working. Grinning with pleasure, he scoops up the remote and the toy car that belongs to it, pats the bird on the head with two fingers, and rushes upstairs.
“Tabitha, I’ve finished it! Tabitha, look!” Mr. Inventions calls out to his daughter.
But Tabitha can’t look. The young girl is curled up on the couch, asleep. She’s clutching a pamphlet for the zoo in one hand and has her other curled around Johnny Sparks’ collar.
They missed the zoo.
Mr. Inventions’ heart sinks.
He still can’t remember the blueprint for the death ray, but the idea behind the Tesla Coil itself is suddenly fresh in his mind. His hands itch to pick up another screw driver. Instead, he drops the remote control and the car that goes with it in the trash.
The bird flies into the living room, circling the garbage bin. Mr. Inventions shakes his head, “I’m sorry. I would love to help you, birdy, but my daughter needs to come first. I can’t leave her behind just to chase a dream. My Inventions will just have to wait; perhaps tonight’s dreams might give me more insight.”
The bird gives a sad coo. Then it flies back out through the window that it entered through and vanishes from sight.
Mr. Inventions gently wakes his daughter from her slumber. Her eyes flutter as she realizes her father is standing over her, the zoo pamphlet in his hand. A big smile crosses the small girl’s face as she jumps up from the couch. She hugs Mr. Inventions and off the two go to the zoo.
Mr. Inventions was right. That night, after coming back from the zoo, he dreamed that he unplugged the transformer, removed the access panel from the top of the transformer, then pulled the GFCI box out of the transformer. Inside, there were wires everywhere, coming from the transformer and going through the terminal block that was connected to the GFCI Box. He decided to remove the green wire, and connected the gray to the white wires, and the black to the blue wires. Then he soldered them together and used tape to insulate them. All this before hearing his alarm go off and waking up.
He quickly grabbed his dream pad sitting at his bedside and began to draw the dream. Surely this will help with his invention, he thought. But, for now he is off to work his day job as a 4th grade school teacher.