Archive for August 30th, 2007



The Widow Maker

I like to imagine a contraption called the Widow Maker. The Widow Maker is sitting under a tarp in a field. The closest building is a barn. The Widow Maker, being too destructive, needs to be away from any structure, lest it destroy said structure. The tarp will keep it from rusting in the rain and snow.

The inventor of the Widow Maker, a man who is not a widow himself, wears aviator goggles when working on his contraption. He is covered in oil, and has a magnificent grey moustache (yellowing now from all the tobacco he’s smoked). He is a humble man, and his interest in the Widow Maker is not for purposes of war, or terror. He just wanted to make something useful. A better harvester, say, or a time machine.

In the end, though, the only thing the Widow Maker is good for is destruction. You turn it on, via a series of switches and buttons, and the gears start grinding. Steam rises steadily from two or three pipes. It is loud, and the valley echoes with sound. Then the Widow Maker destroys whatever is around it.

The Widow Maker has not been turned on in quite some time. In fact, the last time it was turned on was by some boys who lived in the town nearby. None of them survived, bless their souls. Sure, they were troublemakers, but who isn’t at that age? They didn’t deserve the end they got. Certainly, Timmy’s younger sister should have been spared finding his kneecap way up there in the Swanson’s tree. After that, the inventor of the Widow Maker fenced off his field and posted warning signs all around.

The inventor won’t dismantle the Widow Maker, in spite of pressure from the Mayor and from his beleaguered wife. He just worked too darned hard to construct it just right. It’s his pride and joy. Someday he’ll find a good use for it, and won’t his wife be sorry if that day comes after he has dismantled it. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater, here.

You can’t see the Widow Maker from the county road, and the inventor won’t give tours. It isn’t big enough to see from space, but you can be sure the government has it tracked by satellites. The Widow Maker is best kept quiet.