He was “Doc Genius”, inventor.
Restless his feet, unhomed, vagabond, errant.
He travelled ceaselessly, to every state, every nation.
He kept a secret.

Rumours flew.
He had killed a boy, his nephew, his sister’s son, and was therefore hiding from the law.
He had meddled with the younger daughter of a senator, and was wanted by the Secret Service.
He had profaned the Scottish Rite, and the Freemasons worked tirelessly for his destruction.

These were not the secret.
The secret was wordless, ineffable.
The secret was the Name.

He went with the circus, a rara avis, through the steaming south.
He made metal men, frightful robots, that danced and played chess and spoke three languages.
He carved a wooden horse for the mayor of Greenville that breathed fire and could fly through the air.

Rose who ran the Tilt-A-Whirl loved him.
She watched as his bloodless fingers polished gears, moulded brass.
They never spoke.
In this way she learned the secret.

He returned to his trailer to find her waiting for him, eyes wide, hair unbound.
Her mouth opened and she breathed forth the secret.
He bowed his head and was gone.
His gears and wheels crashed to the floor.