The Static of the Spheres
Chapter 13: Making a Chassis
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ONE OF THE BAGS Guppa pulled a couple of the hefty rectangular objects
that I had admired at the store.
“Oh, great,” I said. “You got some of those.” I held one in either hand and enjoyed the weight of them. “Thanks, Guppa,” I said, and I gave him a hug. “It’s going to look a lot more solid with a couple of these on it.”
Guppa chuckled and patted me on the head.
“What should I do?” I asked.
“Well,” said Guppa, “we have to make a chassis out of this sheet metal.”
Make a chassis out of sheet metal! Wow! I had no idea what a chassis was, but I could see that the sheet metal was, by its very nature—its precise rectangularity, its hardness, its smoothness, the whoomp-whoomp sound it made when I flexed it in my hands—going to be lots of fun to work with.
“I’ll get started on that,” I said. “What do I do?”
Guppa looked at me and tightened his lips. When he spoke, he used the soft voice that he used when he told me that it was time for bed. “Well, Peter, we have some things to do that you don’t know how to do yet. You’ll just have to be patient for a while and watch me. After I show you how to do things, you can try them, okay?”
“Sure!” I said. It seemed like a fair enough deal to me. I wanted to work on the radio, of course, but I didn’t want the results marred by the sloppy sort of work that an untrained kid like me would produce.
Guppa began fabricating the chassis. It turned out to be even more fun than I had imagined. It involved lots of sawing with a hacksaw that went scree-scree through the metal, sending thrilling chills up and down our spines, plenty of whanging and banging at the metal while it was clamped in a vise, a good deal of drilling with Guppa’s hefty electric drill, which squealed through the metal and threw bright, sharp-edged helixes all over the workbench and onto the floor, and quite a bit of cursing, mostly under the breath, but occasionally loud enough to bring Gumma to the cellar door to call out, “Are you sure you know what you’re doing, Herb?”
It also involved some sweeping up, and that’s what I did.
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Little Follies is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, dialogues, settings, and businesses portrayed in it are products of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.
“My Mother Takes a Tumble,” “Do Clams Bite?,” “Life on the Bolotomy,” “The Static of the Spheres,” “The Fox and the Clam,” “The Girl with the White Fur Muff,” “Take the Long Way Home,” and “Call Me Larry” were originally published in paperback by Apple-Wood Books.
Little Follies was first published in hardcover by Crown Publishers, Inc., 201 East 50th Street, New York, New York 10022. Member of the Crown Publishing Group.
For information about publication rights outside the U. S. A., audio rights, serial rights, screen rights, and so on, e-mail the author’s imaginary agent, Alec “Nick” Rafter.
The illustration at the top of the page is an adaptation of an illustration by Stewart Rouse that first appeared on the cover of the August 1931 issue of Modern Mechanics and Inventions. The boy at the controls of the aerocycle doesn’t particularly resemble Peter Leroy—except, perhaps, for the smile.