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I could fix anything. Since I was old enough to hold a wrench. Yeah, weird for a girl.
There were people out there that didn't want me to succeed. Some because I was a genius, some because I was a girl.
They couldn't understand advanced steam technology, turbines replacing piston-drive – and didn't think any "bimbo" could, either.
Most of those who caused me trouble had a worse problem - they were trapped in their own mind.
And didn't want to be freed.
When I met my former high school classmate, he gave me the clue that brilliant old me never thought of. He had discovered a secret that allowed me to get around their roadblocks, and to go ahead and invent anything I imagined – at a vast profit.
And he ended up changing my life in ways I could never imagine...
"Life isn't fair!" I cried out to no one in particular in the cluttered machine shed I called my shop.
I would have run to my mother's skirts to bury my tear-soaked face in her lap, except I'd long been trained that this would only make the teasing worse.
I was better off getting a clean work rag - one that didn't have oil or grease on it, or something worse - and wipe them away.
"Just suck it up, bimbo." That's what I learned to tell myself. With five older brothers, I got treated like just another son in the family.
They all taught me from an early age that tears didn't matter. And even if they got a tongue-lashing from Mom, I'd still inherit a little hell-on-earth later for every story I blubbered to her.
Not that I'd ever get touched, although that happened. And they'd get away with it as long as they didn't leave a mark or rip any of my clothes. But the worst was when they would wreck something I was working on.
And that's how I taught them to leave me alone.
Because I was a better "fixer" than any of them. Once they found that out, they'd bring their stuff to me rather than try to figure it out for themselves.
And when the teasing got real bad, they'd wind up with something of theirs suddenly out start to run badly - or wouldn't run at all. Right when they needed it the most. Of course, they couldn't prove I'd done it.
So they quickly learned to stay on my good side. And stay out of my shop. And never, ever, "borrow" my tools.
Because it wouldn't stop until they did. I was just built that way. "Eye for an eye" type of gal. "Hell hath no fury..." and all that.
When they started racing, life got better for me. They learned that their little sister was an advantage no one else had. The machines I worked on for them gave them an edge - they performed better, ran faster, lasted longer than anyone else's.
And if they wanted something special done, I'd find little gifts on my workbench - or somewhere I'd notice.
That worked just great. They won their races, and my life got easier.
Until I discovered how nice boys could be outside my family. Ones who didn't need their machines fixed or tuned. The ones that gave me stuff because they liked me.
But wasn't prepared to find someone who really understood me. Even my parents didn't get the scope of what they had created...
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