“You are Inanimate.” criticized the Nut. “You are only able to thread one way. Without me you are completely useless!.” She settled herself more comfortably in the tool box.
The Bolt felt very hurt. Furthermore, he was sick and tired of the constant carping that always seemed to issue from his mate.
“And another thing,” the Nut went on just when the Bolt thought she had finished and would leave him in peace for a while, “You’re getting rusty and old.”
An even greater hurt entered the heart of the Bolt for he knew, in a way, this was true. He had been together for so long with his mate that the Bolt could hardly remember the time of his youth when he had been a smooth mover. And as for the rust, well, they WERE truly rusted together, for neither of them had moved without each other for eternity.
It was also true, that the Supreme Mechanic of the tool box had needed them to do His work, but, unable to prise them apart, had decided to discard them. In fact, the Bolt had even heard Him say, “Hum, what a good pair, they are the perfect size and weight. Just what I need. What a pity they can’t be loosened.” and with that He put them aside once more in case they should come in handy in the future.
One day, when the Nut had been more cruel and angry than ever, the Bolt, came out of his usual hurt silence to accost her.
“What IS your problem?” he asked. “What is wrong with the way things are?” but he knew that he was also unhappy and believing it to be her fault, he added “Why can’t you just be happy?”
“Can’t you feel there is something very wrong with us?” snapped his mate. “We are so rusted together with time I hardly can tell which part of me is me and which part of me is you.”
“Well, that doesn’t seem all that bad” answered the Bolt. “I can’t tell which is which either, but, at least its comfortable and safe.”
“Oh, you idiot and fool” groused the Nut, “Why do you not see things my way? While we are so immovably stuck we are useless to anyone.”
The Bolt retreated into hurt silence once more for he really couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. It seemed so very illogical.
Not long after, the Supreme Mechanic selected them once more from where they lay in the darkness of the tool box.
“These will be perfect for the job.” He said trying to twist the bolt from the nut. But they were quite solidly stuck. “Oh dear, I remember these” said the Supreme Mechanic “These need attention.” He tossed them into a tin of Engine Cleaner.
Being suddenly submerged was a dreadful shock to the pair. The Nut reacted first. “What is happening to me?” she cried.
The Supreme Mechanic said quite clearly, “I need you for a special job and you must be loosened in order that.
The Nut was afraid. Emotions of unknown quality began to wash into and around her. She felt a change, a fluidity, a small movement within her that seemed foreign. As was her nature, she immediately attacked her mate.
“Well, I’m not sure really,” hesitated the Bolt. “What does it feel like?”
“There is some kind of moving, a change, a difference. That is exactly what it feels like.” the Nut exclaimed
And she described how she felt.
“The Supreme Mechanic needs me to do an important job. This must be the beginning.” she added. “I have to learn to move again.”
She made a vast effort for it was immensely difficult. She struggled this way and that. She tried to remember what it was like to be a smooth mover but to little avail for the Bolt always followed her so firmly embedded in each other they were.
Now and again the Supreme Mechanic tipped them out of the tin to see if they had loosened .
“Oh Supreme Mechanic,” cried the Nut one day, “I am still not loose and I know you need me. I am trying my best but my stupid partner is holding me back.”
There was an amazed silence on the part of the Supreme Mechanic. “Oh you silly Nut,” He exclaimed, “You are useless to me alone. You have been so long with the Bolt, I know you fit each other well and I need both of you.”
As soon as He had thrown them back into the tin, the Nut turned in anger toward the Bolt.
“Did you hear that?” she demanded of the Bolt. “We are both needed, so you better hurry up and learn to move yourself. You are holding us back.”
Over and over again she told the Bolt what it was like to feel the urge to free oneself and explained to him exactly how it should be done, although, of course she had never done so herself.
Over and over again the Bolt listened while the Nut did her eternal talking. He remained solid and immutable under the barrage of her words and often very deeply hurt. But nothing seemed to work.
Whenever she tried to move, he turned the same way.
At last, in complete desperation, she complained to the Supreme Mechanic of the tool box.
“My partner is useless and uncooperative. I feel useless and foolish and I cannot loosen us to do your work. I want to be free of him.”
“Well, you are a silly Nut, that’s true. You have completely misunderstood how things work. Why are you trying to do all this when YOU are an inanimate object. Furthermore, YOU also only thread one way. And without me YOU are completely useless!.”
The Nut was shocked to recognize her own words being repeated, words she had so often flung at her mate.
“What do you mean?” she asked the Supreme Mechanic completely abashed.
“I mean,” explained the Supreme Mechanic, “that it is only BECAUSE you are inanimate that I can use you in my inanimate creations. It is only BECAUSE you thread alternately that you work so well together, and it is only by MY force that you ever will move.”
And with that, He lifted them out of the tin and twisted the one against the other. As smooth as anything, with no effort at all, the Bolt separated from the Nut.
“There,” said the Supreme Mechanic with satisfaction, wiping the pair with a cloth so they were shiny bright. “Now you are ready to do my work.”
With a deft movement of the hand He spun the Nut onto the Bolt where they fitted with fluid precision, and he placed them on His shelf.