Levy had been studying engine designs for the past few months. He had tried to make everything as compact as possible. Looking at an engine put him in a state of awe.
“It was miracle that someone even figured out how to make one work,” Levy mutters. “I think inventors had to have some Heavenly inspiration to figure it all out.”
I look at my hands. This is how I learn. A tactile learner, that’s what my teacher said. Some people learn by seeing or hearing. I have to touch it. I can tell a lot about something by its texture.
Levy rights the engine, setting it back on his lab station. He notices a scar on his hand and a few more hairs he hadn’t noticed before.
“I have Grandpa’s hands.”
Inventor’s hands, that’s cool.
They were big for his small frame. His dad said if he ever grew into his hands he’d be 6’7 or 6’8. He knew he’d be lucky to be as tall as dad. Dad was just average height.
Inventor’s hands. That was the only thing big I have. That’s still cool, though.
“I finally took one of my crazy dreams and did something with it. Grandpa told me that if he ever stayed the course and stuck to one idea, he’d be unstoppable.” Levy snaps his fingers. He slides his open journal open and writes.
So, today, September 17th was an exciting and very sad day too. I wish Grandpa would’ve lived to see me make the Sugar Daddy.
He drew a happy face with curly hair and a frown next to the elaborate designs for his invention.
“Grandpa, you’re here in spirit, aren’t you?”
“You know they say that most geniuses talk to themselves.”
“Ah,” Levy catches himself the he gets excited to see Science teacher Mr. Quasmick approach.
“Yeah, it’s when you answer back that people begin to look at you’ve check out.”
Here was a guy who didn’t let difficulties get him down.
Levy had heard that Mr. Quasmick was born with a one side of his face slightly drooped. That creeps out a few of the students, especially the girls. There weren’t very many girls in his classes but then again Levy wonders if science isn’t most girls’ thing anyway.
I bet that’s why he grew that thick beard. Lucky.
Levy felt sympathy for his favorite teacher so, he came up with a cool nickname for him. For some reason he wasn’t a doctor like the other science teachers. So, the nickname fit perfectly: Mr. Guy Quasmick became Mr.G.Q.
How many dudes have a magazine title for a nickname?
Levy thought he needed the encouragement. It made Levy feel like he was doing a service to his teacher.
Mr. G.Q. needed to know he was a good man and that his students appreciated him.
Today was the day Levy was to present his project. It wasn’t the normal school science fair; he’d already won that one and the County. This was a State Science fair. If he were one of the three finalists they would be showing their inventions to the president in Washington, D.C.
“You’ll be ready, right? I can check off this final assignment?”
“Green light,” Levy gave him a salute.
Mr. G.Q. gave him a quick salute back. He noticed Levy’s mood. “Is your heart in your throat, Levy?”
Levy shook his head. “It’s been pounding hard all week.”
Mr. Quasmick gave him a knuckle bump. “You’ll do great.” He waves his arms over his chest. “Just remember breathing is good, shortness of breath cuts is bad for a growing brain.” Mr. GQ pats the lab counters and circles around to the other students.
Levy taps his temple. “I’ll tell Brainiac you said that. Thanks.”
Mr. G.Q. was doing some informal inspections before the fair committee would arrive at the end of the day. Levy wasn’t worried about attaching the engine to the go-cart chassis just yet.
Engine, you gotta keep it together. We are not going to have another repeat disaster.
So he used some thin copper wiring to lash down the engine to a thick piece of rubberized plastic. Levy wasn’t sure how much the engine would rattle and shake.
“No pressure but my future is at stake,” Levy finds his lips inches away from the Sugar Daddy. “Remember, buddy, you don’t have permission to botch this up like my first two models.”
He had created a metal web that held the engine in place. Six copper bolts were the anchors for the invention. Levy gives them five of them one last turn.
They needed to be flush against the frame so it wouldn’t warp or bend the engine.
“Failure is not an option. I have put too much blood, sweat, and—gears into you.” Levy sighs. He frowns at the one tiny flaw he had hoped would disappear.
Chigger, my little nemesis, we meet again.
He taps a bolt head with his wrench.
Why do we have to do this again?
The Sugar daddy is perfect. The only flaw one stupid stripped bolt. It didn’t want to go in any further and it didn’t want to come out any more.
I am obsessive, I know it. I could just let it go and it would probably be fine but it has to be perfect. It has to be.
“Stubborn thing! You just sit there kind of tweaked to one side taunting me”. Levy talks to inanimate objects. He figures he drove people crazy with his ideas and they could pleasantly walk away. However a brick wall, a stone, or a metal pole had no choice. He could talk their ear off because they wouldn’t talk back and besides they had no ear to talk off.
“I’ll deal with you later,” Levy’s lips curls as he speaks to the bolt. “My teacher is coming back and we want to make a good impression. So shape up.” He smacks the bolt with his wrench and it rings back nastily.
“Hey, Levy. I just made my rounds. Now I have time to talk.” His teacher pulls up a stool.
“Hey, Mr. Quasmick.” Levy wipes off his hands. Mr. Quasmick shakes everyone’s hands very firmly. Levy like that. It was a respect thing.
“How is everything coming?” asks the middle-aged, man.
He was every inch a cool science guy to Levy. Mr. G.O sported a white lab coat, jeans, and old sneakers. There is the familiar smell of coffee and Old Spice.
Yeah, he’s got style, like his name suggests.
Mr.G.Q. examines with intense curiosity, the organized collaboration of wire, crude circuitry, and various parts collected at the boy’s station.
“Wow, you’ve got me beat.”
“What?” Levy keeps one on the bolt.
Mr. G.Q. points out his neat workspace. “What did my dad use to say, ‘A place for everything and everything in its place.’ You should see my office at home.”
“That bad?” Levy frowns.
“It keeps me focused to keep things neat.”
“Good for you.” Mr. G.Q. sneaks another peak at Levy’s engine. “Nothing out of place here. I am impressed.”
. Levy set down his half- inch wrench with a long sigh.
Bolt! Not one word out of you.
“I am ninety-five percent completed except for the bracing for the engine.”
“Last little one-percent still eluding you?”
“So, do you have your judges speech ready?
Levy gives him a so-so wag of his hand.
“Just talk to them. Once you get going, it will flow out of you.”
Mr. G.Q. loosens up his lab coat. “So, shoot. Tell me all about it.”
Levy clears his throat. “Well, Mr. Quasmick I have created an engine that runs on soft drinks.”
Mr. Quasmick’s head bobs back. “You’re kidding, right?” He was use to kids playing pranks in class. Levy has a serious look on his face. “You’re serious?”
“Yes. I was keeping this one top secret until the Fair.”
“So, this is not the prototype engine you won the County with?”
“You really built it?
Mr. Quasmick gave him a side-glance.
Levy looked hurt but he knew his teacher. “I did. I don’t break rules.”
“That’s what I hear from everybody. Don’t worry your reputation is still gold.”
They shared a smile. He waved on Levy to finish.
“Yes, it’s really quite simple.” Levy went into great detail. He explains the inner workings of his design after he made Mr. Quasmick swear he’d tell no one.
“Please don’t tell. I am a little paranoid about someone jacking my ideas.”
Mr. Quasmick looks at his newest 6th grade student in the light of being a prodigy. “So, Levy. This engine, what did you nickname it again?”
“This third model is The Sugar-Daddy.”
Mr. Quasmick thoughtfully wrinkles his lips. He has silly expression under that shaggy beard. “So its sweet in more ways than one?”
“This little guy runs on a mixture of sodas?” Mr. G.Q. asks. “Not soda water, root beer, cola, stuff like that?”
Levy held up a finger. “Correct, but more specifically on the sugar in soda.”