Gas Bags, Valves, and Handcrafted Handrails -Campfire Tales #02

Hello, Benjamin from Brother’s Campfire here!  

Gather ‘Round and I will spin you a tale. 

Rebuilding the hydrogen sphere to the specifications of the others was a frustrating necessity. This was the breaks of renting workspace, but sacrifices and financial setbacks were part of the game. 

As seen in Episode #01

Building airships, or gas bags as they were known in the South quarter was an expensive endeavor requiring sponsorship.

Petra had a dream, and Bluntbasher’s Fabrication needed advertising. 

Petra was forever disgusted by the company name and It was obvious that marketing was not Jaydon’s forte. She would have called it JB’s Welding Shop, or JB Weld, but it wasn’t her choice. 

JB was just as excited as Petra was to complete this project and he possessed a little know-how himself. 

“Petra, you will be using a slingshot to descend the gas bag?”

“Of course. I can control the height by releasing the hydrogen or releasing ballast.”

“Have you thought about a valve?”

“Valve?”

“Yeah, we can attach a fitting that opens and closes to control the flow of the gas like one of my torches.”

“Where is the fun in that? Show me this valve.”

“I have been manufacturing these for the big names and I think you can use them.”

Petra examined the valves with a bit of skepticism, adjusting her hat with a bobby pin as she did so. She was a gear head, but she still had a penchant for looking good, albeit erratically at moments.   

“I have not considered this “valve” you speak of. “

“Think about it, and if you like them, use them. If not, what is a little canvas and hydrogen between friends?” 

JB had been fabricating since he was old enough to hold a tool. It was a right of passage in the Bluntbasher family to have a smidgen of the workshop on your person before breakfast. 

Today was no exception. He had beat Andras on a bid for a handrail install and it was time to get to work. 

JB’s handrails were legendary in town for durability and were individual pieces of art painstakingly smithed to perfection. 

Materials in hand, JB knocked on the door of the job site. 

The customer was evasive and there was a tinge of irritation in his voice faking pleasantly.

“Oh JB, do come in! Andras was just showing us a new handrail design. Have you heard of electroplating? “

Andras was at the job site, despite the bid. Charming to a fault, he stood extending a hand. Reluctant, JB shook it. 

“Ah, my dear JB! So nice to see you! I was just showing these wonderful folks a bit of Alchemy. My handrails shimmer like gold and they are sturdy and light.”

They were pig iron, and JB could see the slag flakes on the poorly made rails. Surely, the customer would see his were solid pieces and would last for years. 

Andras apologized.

“I bid much too high on these rails. My sincerest apologies, my dear friends! I will give them to you at a twenty percent discount of my original offer.”

The customers turned to JB for a counter offer. Rightly his name was Bluntbasher, but he managed the customer service angle to some extent. 

“Folks, my workmanship speaks for itself. Solid wrought iron, hand beaten, and quality that will last a lifetime. My father, his father, and his father before that have all worked metal. In fact, just yesterday I fixed a rail with our emblem that must be a hundred years old. To buy Bluntbasher is to buy a legacy, a lifestyle, and a guarantee.”

JB was pleased with his pitch. It was the most polished he could come up with. 

The customers went to another room to discuss options. 

When they returned, they selected the shimmering handrails. 

On his way out, JB whispered, 

“You’re a dirtbag, Andras, I already had this bid.”

Andras smiled. “Ah, my dear JB, I  am a salesman and an Alchemist. I upped my standards, up yours.”

Author: The Storyteller

Benjamin Thiel is a husband, father, correctional professional and author of The Ongoing Tale at Brothers Campfire. His favorite quote is "Don't count the lions. It will make you afraid and slow you down."

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