Saturday, October 9, 2010
Once upon a time, there was time. It crept around corners and lurked in drains and drifted inside the house whenever a window was left open. It found its way to everyone and soon all the people in the world had a terrible, incurable case of time. Not knowing what to do and tired of doctors with needles and traveling salesmen peddling tonics from wagons, everyone simply acted as if they were perfectly well and went about with daily tasks such as icing red velvet cakes and tripping over shoelaces. Whenever children asked about time, parents shushed them or took them to church (where they shushed them religiously). A man from Missouri decided to write a letter to the newspaper editor about the absurdity of ignoring the disease and he was promptly arrested and taken to prison where he was infected with a cruel dosage of time, more deadly than any other case since his time was slowed for torturous effect. For years and years the world spun and people died from time. Babies cried for all the time they had yet to endure. Schoolchildren sang warning rhymes about the dangerous levels of time suspended all around them like smog. Teenagers were rebellious, reveling in their time and boldly sassing that they wanted more of it, that there was never enough time. Adults remained quiet. And elderly couples held knotted hands and wept over all the time they had suffered through, praying over tepid tomato soup in the evenings for the time to finally go away. Eventually, the world became so thick and heavy with time that it slowed down tremendously, the moon tilting to look with ancient eyes and puzzle over why its schedule had been interrupted, the sun burning with annoyance over the boredom it felt faced with the same view for so long. Finally, the world stopped completely. Time crowded up against people then, bore down on them like a great zeppelin slowly sinking back to earth. And yet, nobody wished to say anything, to cry out against the awful time; it was their burden, their sickness, their accepted doom. Only the man from Missouri looked up through the bars to his permanent view of the moon, crossed his arms on the windowsill, and felt a smile, for he had grown to love time-- it was, after all, the only thing he had left.