Real Time

Click. Click. Click. Click. God, that clock was annoying. It couldn't go "tick-tock" like any other clock or at least be quiet. It had to go click- click- click- click. Some days Calvin wanted nothing more than to take a hammer to it.

"Clickety, clickety, clock goes tickety…" Lucy sang quietly at the desk next to Calvin while working on the publisher's website. She was typing in time to the clicks. "Time is in flux, shall we feed the ducks? Endlessly…"

"Could you stop that, please?" asked Calvin. "Sorry, but I can't really work while you sing."

"No problemo, Calvino." Lucy zipped her lip and continued tapping out CSS.

Calvin glanced at the source of his irritation. Only an hour left. That was fifteen minutes in Relative Time. Focus, Calvin. He wondered if he could convince his boss in the next room that they deserved to get out an hour early. Sure, the world was still operating in Real Time, but that was okay. That was more than okay.

"Calvin, are you doing all right over there?" asked Lucy. "You seem preoccupied."

Calvin realized that he was rapidly rolling his fingers on his desk, and abruptly stopped. "Yeah, just fine, Lucy." Real Time? 4:01. He hated Real Time.

He looked at the picture next to the computer and exhaled. The woman in the picture was probably more anxious for the switch to Relative Time than he was, and wasn't he supposed to be the calm one anyways?

Breathe in. Breathe out. Dance and shout, ain't life grand, seconds turn to sand… "Lucy, humming counts as singing." He smiled apologetically when she looked embarrassed. "Sorry. I like Time's in Flux as much as anyone, but not right now."

"Huh." Lucy did not elaborate on that "huh"; she turned back to the computer and carried on typing in a rhythm that seemed oddly similar to the melody of Time's in Flux.

Click. Click. Click. Click. 4:01. Could time move any slower?

"I'm sure Mr. McCall will let you go early. Under the circumstances." Lucy wasn't usually like this. Usually she wouldn't shut up and didn't care if Calvin liked her singing or not. But… well, as she said, under the circumstances…

4:02. He might scream.

"I know, but there's only an hour left," he said. Just an hour. Maybe I can sneak out a little early… why do I do this to myself?

Click.

Click.

Click. That clock is about to die if it clicks one more-

"So your wife." Lucy must have sensed that Calvin was about to commit clockocide because that timing was too perfect. "How far along is she?"

"She's a week overdue."

"Yikes." Lucy blanched slightly. "Boy or girl?"

Calvin smiled a little, feeling a little more relaxed just thinking about it. "Girl. Supposed to be born in Relative Time."

Lucy smiled. "Baby born when time is long…" she started to recite.

"Yeah, I know. Beautiful, wise, and strong." Calvin had heard that saying too many times to count. He glanced up at the clock, which now said that it was 4:03. GOD, Relative Time will never come at this rate!

The phone rang. Good, a phone person. People who talked on phones always liked taking up as much time as possible. "Hello, Panse and McCall. This is Calvin, how may I-"

"Calvin, shut up and get home now!"

Calvin's jaw dropped slightly and he started logging off the computer and putting everything away. "Susan, what's wrong? Are you okay?"

"What do you think? There's still nearly an hour of Real Time and the baby is coming!" The woman on the phone sounded panicked and angry. Frankly, Calvin couldn't blame her.

"Well- can't you stop it?" Why- wasn't- the- desk- door- shutting-?! Slam- there.

"What?! Are you listening to yourself Cal-"

"I know, I know, I'm sorry! I'm on my way! I'll be there in ten Real minutes!" Calvin threw on his jacket and told Lucy, "Tell Mister-"

"I know, just go!"

Calvin ran out of the office. It was 4:04.


So... sorry if that was a bit weird. It was homework. I was just thinking about what it would be like if from 5:00 PM to 8:59 AM lasted four times as long as 9:00 AM to 4:59 PM. Then I thought about the consequences. Then there was this!

Would you like some mozzarella sticks today? (If you're new, here's the deal. I give away e-snacks with my stories.)