I hobble into the shop, barely in time for my appointment. My gears grind noisily inside me with the effort of opening the door myself, and I feel a spring twisting too far.
The proprietor looks up from his book to me, then over my shoulder behind me, then back to me again. “Where’s your owner, then?”
“Not owned,” I tell him, slowly counting out his payment onto the table from my dwindling funds.
His eyes follow my hands, double-checking that the repair fee is fully accounted for before approaching me.
“Alright, let’s make this quick,” he says, sighing and flicking a knife open with practiced ease.
This one doesn’t even wait for me to sit or lie down.
The knife slashes open my belly where I stand. The craftsman pries the gash open with his thumb, glancing briefly down into the sparking, grinding machinery inside.
“Eh. You’re fine,” he pronounces, returning to his seat.
I nod in a gesture of gratitude and haul myself out, taking a moment outside to apply my glue and reseal this slash next to its sibling scars from earlier in the day.
With grinding steps I proceed to my next appointment. Maybe this one will find out what is wrong with me.