I hung my snow-covered coat on something that might very well have been a time machine. A silhouetted shape across the dark room, invites me through the unlit workshop to join them.
Arched over a heap of what I first perceived to be the exposed innards of some camera-like mechanism, my friend held a minuscule weight above an equally small machined brass hand. After allowing for a brief moment to settle myself before the inscrutable contraption, a pea-sized weight was carefully lowered onto the machine's beckoning palm. Whirring and clicking, a second arm emerged. Plucking a gear out from its own ticking body, the clasp gently swung across and over itself to lay the cog down into a velveted box at its side.
For each ascending counter-weight descended a ballet of tiny articulated ratchets spun at the end of rotating arms. Little hammers knocked screws off, pulleys pried pins out of their holes, each equally occupied at the business of their own dismantlement. Screws, nuts, bolts, shims, and soon the fingers and the ratchet themselves, joined the rest of the hardware in the cushioned cut holes where each and every bit of the machine was expected to land.
A single weight swayed, balanced at the end of the last tin rod, the other parts already resting in their proper place. All but these two components remained, the equilibrium broke, the rod tilted toward the container; and finally, both fell in their designated shapes.