Monday, November 12, 2018

TIMECLOCK -- Entry #10

Entry #10 - Some Coins In A Fountain

It was quickly growing dark, I was quickly growing tired, and Seymour was quickly growing hair. The hair atop his head and under the hat was getting longer by the second. I suppose that technically happens to most of us, whether we have a hat or not, but his was growing longer fast enough and at such great length as to be visible to the eye. It was so visible to the eye, in fact, that even I could see it happening.

In addition to the hair atop his head and under his hat, the hair on his face was growing at nearly the same rate, albeit a slight bit faster. I wasn’t certain about the hair on the rest of his body, and I wasn’t keen to ask. Hoping he wouldn’t bring it up on his own, I decided the best course of action was to point out the obvious.

“Seymour, your hair seems to be growing at an uncomfortably perceivable rate.”

None of this seemed to phase Seymour enough to reply with much more than a shrug, except that he did reply with more than a shrug. He spoke. “Yeah man, that happens sometimes at nightfall.”

“Nightfall?” asked the girl. “Who says things like that?” She had a point. People don’t often say nightfall. Typically they shorten it to simply “night” or they use the alternate word “nighttime” instead. Once in a while, a person will try to get fancy and say the word “dusk” as if they expect the people around them to be impressed, which they typically aren’t.

“I think he means dusk,” I said to the girl, expecting her and the others around me to be impressed. They weren’t.

“Well is there something you can do about it?” the girl implored. “I’m beginning to feel uncomfortable, what with all this hair spreading up and around my feet.”

His hair was getting very long.

Seymour shrugged again and said, “I suppose we could cut it or something. That’s what I always do.”

I wondered if he meant he always cut his hair, or that he always did whatever that something was. I then began to wonder what that something he spoke of might could be, and if it was something simple, considering he always did whatever it might could possibly could might be. Before long and after short, I found myself thinking of various possible somethings that we might could do that possibly could might deal with this literally growing hair situation.

“Perhaps we might could set it on fire!” I exclaimed in a sudden and extremely loud voice.

Seymour looked terrified, as if I had just set fire to his hair. To be honest, I had thought of doing just that, and I suppose in all technicalities, I had also just stated that it was a possible option, but for the record, in case you or anyone else asks or wants to ask or thinks of asking or knows someone else who just might think of asking someday or nightfall, I did not, nor did I ever, set fire to Seymour’s hair.

It was the boy who set fire to his hair.

Luckily, Seymour saw this coming from a few feet away, because his eyes were better than mine and he had a few feet of hair to act as a sort of fuse… As the fire burned down or up the fuse of hair towards the bomb of his head, he was quick on his feet and slow on his hands and jumped feet first and hands last into the little fountain nearby.

The pool of the fountain proved to be much more shallow than he seemed to expect, because he landed with the water coming up only to his knees. He stood and looked confusedly at the water surrounding him for a brief moment before dropping his entire body and what remained of his hair down into the shallow pool of water and coins.

We stood watching, waiting for him to rise back up, like Lazarus from the tomb… I suppose a better Biblical metaphor would be John the Baptist, but I never was too good at the liturgical stuff. It just wasn’t my cup of tea… or wine… I should give up while I’m ahead.

A head. There’s the John the Baptist reference. That’s a pun, served right up to you on a platter. Look it up. It’s in the Bible. I think.

After a few minutes, Seymour stood back up, his arms full of coins, and his hair as short as it had just been long. The entire weird man was dripping with water from hat to feet, and he had a large stupid grin on his stupid face.

“I’ve found some money,” he said and stepped out of the water. “Let’s find a place to stay for the night.”

This was the best idea I had heard at that moment. We helped Seymour climb out of the fountain, and we agreed to look for somewhere to stay. The kids knew the area better than either Seymour or I did, so we followed them. It felt strange following someone else for once, as opposed to having someone follow me. I suppose I had grown accustomed to it. Nevertheless, we followed them around the neighborhood, and just as I was beginning to wonder if they even had any sense of direction whatsoever, the girl announced that we had arrived.

“We have arrived!” she announced, with a broad grin spread across her face. She seemed confident that we would know where we had just arrived to, and immediately turned to waltz up a pathway of uneven stones. Her brother followed behind her, I followed behind him, and, to my great sense of relief, Seymour followed behind me. They led us up the little path to a dark and seemingly abandoned office building. It was three stories high as the night is long. That’s a phrase I heard somewhere and I thought I might try it out. I didn’t like it.



Monday, November 05, 2018

TIMECLOCK -- Entry #9

Entry #9 - Puns and Papers

“I can’t do that,” replied the insolent little child. Insolent is another word I have found makes people sound more brain smart, however, you don’t want to overdo it, or it becomes obvious that you are overcompensating.

“Can’t, or won’t?” I asked. I figured there was a distinction there somewhere, and if I could get this kid to clarify, I just might be able to tell the difference in future conversations.

“Shouldn’t.” Damn. He got me there. I was even more confused than I already had been. Can’t, won’t, shouldn’t… Were these all the same things, or were they different somehow? This was something I would have to set my mind upon at a later time though. There were more important things to deal with, such as who these kids were and what to do now that we had all just narrowly escaped whatever it actually was that we had all just narrowly escaped.

The girl decided to speak. “Mister Flint, my brother and I have been trying to find you.”

Trying to find me. What would cause two small children to look for the likes of me? Perhaps they worked for the government and were coming to collect on all the money I owed. As far as I knew, I had only recently paid all that back, and I was as good as square. I shook this thought from my head, because after all, the government wasn’t exactly known for their employment of small children to do their dirty work. No, these kids were after something else, and I was determined to find out just what exactly that was.

“We went to your office, but you weren’t there. Your secretary said that she hadn’t seen you and didn’t know where you were…”

I cut her off before she could finish her lies. “I don’t have a secretary.” I said, and I didn’t. Have a secretary that is. I did say that I didn't have a secretary, and I did not have a secretary, which is why I said that I didn't have one. I had never bothered to hire one, because I didn’t feel I needed one. Anyways, not many people want to work for someone who’s as unemployed as they are already, so in the end, it just felt like a lost cause. “I’m afraid you have no idea what you are talking about, young lady.”

She was young, but she was older than the boy who I felt safe in assuming was her aforementioned brother. If I had to guess, I would figure she was at least six, and he was at the very least four… but I never was good at guessing ages. Eventually I found out that she was fifteen, and he was eleven. I wasn’t too far off, but still not close enough to win the stuffed bunny at the fair.

“Well, whoever that woman was, she told us you were not there, and that we could find you in that basement exactly where we found you.”

Maybe I did have a secretary, or at the very least a stalker. At least someone was keeping tabs on my whereabouts. I never was good at doing that for myself, even when I tried using one of those little pocket day planner things. The result was usually me writing a plan for my days in the little book, putting the book in my pocket or somewhere else, and then forgetting what day to look at for the plan. Eventually, I would simply doodle little images of trees and stick figures in my day planners, and then create little flip books to bide my time. It wasn’t like I was doing much to plan anyways, seeing as how I was all unemployed and all. Yes, the whole things seemed like a waste of time and effort and paper, so I scrapped the whole idea.

Scrap. That was a pun. Because paper.

I chuckled to myself before asking the girl what they wanted from me.

“Well, we were hoping to hire you to help us find our way home,” she replied and smiled sweetly. Almost too sweetly. I choked back some vomit, and then spewed forth some words.

“That’s not what I do,” I said, a disgusted look on my face to counter the sickly sweet look on hers. It worked. She began to frown, so I continued. “You see, I am unemployed, and professionally at that. What I think you are looking for is a detective, and I am not one of those.”

“We already tried a detective,” she said sadly. “He was of no use, and now we are out of money and out of ideas. Someone suggested you, and we thought perhaps maybe the worst option just might turn out to be the best option.”

This was twisted logic, and I was starting to like it. There were some important questions that needed to be answered first though, so I asked one of them.

“Who in their right mind would ever suggest me to be helpful to anyone for anything?” I thought this was the most important question to ask. I was under no delusions that I would ever be of any real use for something actually helpful. I never had been before, so there was very little to go on there.

“Why it was this man here,” she said, pointing at Seymour.

“Seymour!” I shouted. “What on earth have you been telling people?!”

Seymour shrugged. “Well that was earlier, before I spent all day following you around,” he said softly. “I didn’t know any better at that point. Anyways, I still think that you might be of some use to them. After all, you’re both looking for the same place as it is.”

This made sense to me far more quickly than most things, and I wasn’t sure if it was the adrenaline or just the fact that Seymour was being incredibly direct and simple in what he was saying for once. I decided to state it aloud anyways, just to make certain the whole situation was actually as straightforward as I thought it was.

“So their home is actually…”

“The lost city of Tawlanok!” Seymour shouted, interrupting me in the process. This infuriated me, as it rightly should. Nothing makes me more angry than someone cutting me off with the exact thing I was just about to say. I suppose perhaps he might have wanted to say it at the same time as I did, but this was not a group cheer, and we hadn’t agreed upon the timing or intonation in advance, which is something I feel is very important to any group cheer or chant.

I scowled at Seymour for a good minute or so, letting him know through facial expression just how disappointed and upset I was at him. I wasn’t sure this did the trick, but it was all I could muster before the little boy spoke up yet again.

“Mister Flint, we come from Tawlanok, and we heard that you are looking to find it. We just want to get home, and currently, you are our best hope of that.”

“How do you figure? I have no leads, and I don’t even know where to start looking. I couldn’t even find the mall in the lousy town.” I had a point. A good one at that. “The only things I have found lately was a spoon and a dead body, and I merely tripped over both.” Blind luck, some might call it.

“Blind luck,” said Seymour.

Blind. That was also a pun. Because I can’t see very well.

“That was a good one,” I told him. I have to give credit where credit is due, and right then it was due to Seymour. As much as he annoyed me, the man had decent timing for puns.

“Well then, children,” I didn’t yet know their names, and I wasn’t about to ask because I didn’t exactly care. “As I am already on the search for your home, and I do seem to be decent at stumbling quite literally onto things lately, I suppose I will continue to look for your home, seeing as how I was already doing just that. But just so you know, if I hadn’t already been looking, I certainly wouldn’t agree to this. You see, I’m not exactly keen on doing things that I’m not already doing. That’s just not how I do things… or don’t do things…”

I had begun to confuse myself, so I trailed off and stopped talking altogether.



Tuesday, October 30, 2018

TIMECLOCK -- Entry #8

Entry #8 - Fire And Pickles

Before Seymour could continue on reciting the alphabet, the sound of a police siren began to arrive from a distance. I only knew it was a police siren some time later, but all I knew at the time was that I heard a siren. It could have been an ambulance come for E.P. Jackson’s dead person body; it could have been a fire truck come to put out the fire Seymour had inadvertently started over by the furnace and dead rodent… It could have been a misguided ice cream truck for that matter, but something told me we had to get out of there.

It was a small child.

“We have to get out of here,” it said.

I jumped in fright, and Seymour jumped in his intense desire to be a part of something. I then jumped again for good measure, as did Seymour. We were there jumping for a good minute or a half before a second small child came up behind the first and asked why we were jumping.

This made the first small child jump as well.

We jumped and jumped, the sirens getting louder and louder with each passing moment. Eventually the urgency of the situation came down upon us all like a support beam that had caught fire, so we hightailed it out of there faster than we could run, only occasionally tripping over each other before scrambling to our feet and continuing to run.

The two small children led the way. Women and children first, is what people say. None of the people there were saying it, but I suppose if there had been some women there, they likely would have been saying that. The children, however, were simply saying things like “Follow us!” and “This way to safety!” and “Quit stepping on my back!”

Eventually, they led us out of the inferno and into a small yard behind the inferno and to the left, through a gate, into another yard that looked nearly identical except reversed, and then again on through another gate out into an alley full of trash cans, bicycles, raccoons, and spinach.

There might not have been spinach. My memories are a bit unclear due to what a rush we were in, and boy howdy, let me tell you were we in a rush.

We were in a rush.

Eventually, we ran our way into a park and rested on a bench beside a little fountain. In the center of the fountain stood the statue of a man looking inquisitively at a cube he held in the palm of his hand. The base of the statue was engraved with the word “NO” and the date “1948.” In hindsight, this seemed like a weird choice of engraving, but I was out of breath and only thinking about all the running and rushing and fleeing we had just done.

I turned to the children and asked them why we had just run from the police. In all the rushing, the reason for it all had eluded me almost as much as we had eluded capture. Then I had begun to wonder what we would have been captured for, and this is what prompted my question to the children who had only recently helped us become more elusive.

“What police?” asked the little girl, who, for the record, was the first child we had seen in that basement, and the third child we had seen that day. “Mister, we were escaping a burning building that I am fairly certain your friend here set fire to.”

“First of all,” I started, making sure it was known there was plenty more of what I had to say to come after what I was just about to say, “this man is no friend of mine. He simply likes to follow me around everywhere for some reason, and I let him, because I can not think of any valid reason not to. Secondly…” This was where I wanted to make sure she knew that I was in charge, and she was not. “What we do with our time and fire is of no concern to you, for we are adults, while you are merely children, and if anyone asks, they will believe that it was you and not my accomplice here who set that fire.”

Accomplice was probably not the best word to use when trying to argue one’s innocence, but I really liked the way it sounded. It had a very official and commanding tone to it, and the amount of syllables made me sound incredibly academic, or so I liked to think.

I find myself thinking a lot about academia and what sorts of things might make a person seem more knowledgeable than I likely am. For example, wearing glasses can make you look like you read things, or at least know how. In case you consider this tactic, be sure to use the spectacle form of glasses meant for seeing, and not the type used for holding, containing, and drinking beverages. This is an important distinction that I feel is too often overlooked, perhaps because people such as myself have the inability to see and can’t tell the difference between the two forms of glasses.

I’ve had a difficult life full of misunderstandings and semantical errors.

Another good way to appear more academic and smart-like is to rub your chin while looking upward and to the left and/or right, all the while saying things like “Hmm…” or “Go figure.” or on very special occasions “Well isn’t that a pickle?”

That last example is a good one to use at the grocery store while admiring the jarred edible food products of the gherkin variety. Gherkin meaning pickle, of course. I forget that not everyone is familiar with that particular word, having been antiquated through time and cultural changes.

Not all pickles are gherkins, and not all pickled items are made from cucumber, however. Many things can be pickled, and I once took a tour of a pickling facility. It was boring, but they gave me a lot of pickled food to eat. At the end of the tour, I was concerned that this was all a part of their next venture, which would be pickling humans. They had cornered the market in pickling; they had pickled everything they could think of… kind of like those weird people obsessed with bronzing… Now their only conquest was to pickle man.

Come to think of it, that has the makings of a very stupid movie. I would watch it.

What I didn’t want to watch, though, were these little children staring at me. This was not entertaining in the slightest, and I wished they would just do something to break up the awkwardness I had increasingly been finding myself in lately.

Luckily, one of them spoke. It was the boy. One was a girl and one was a boy, by the way. I keep forgetting to inform you of little details like that, but I guess it’s better late than sorry.

“You’re Mister Flint, aren’t you?” he asked, his giant eyes looking up at me while he kicked the ground with his foot. Seriously, his eyes were huge. They might have each been bigger than his whole head. I wasn’t at all sure how that was possible, but there I was looking at it right in front of me. A regular freak of nature, this kid was. It made me uncomfortable in ways I can only express through dance. But this was not the time for interpretive dancing, or even classic ballroom dancing. No, this was not the appropriate time nor place for dancing of any sort, so I suppressed my urges as tightly as I could and responded to the hideous child using words.

“Please, you weird looking little boy. Mister is my father. Call me Richard.”



Tuesday, October 23, 2018

TIMECLOCK -- Entry #7

Entry #7 - The Differences Between Apples And Pears

I was confused by the sight of my name on the smelly envelope I had pulled from the dead man’s person body’s dead shoe, so much so that I forgot all about my other thought, which had been to take the dead man’s dead shoes for my own, considering at how barefoot I still was and had been this whole time. That bowling alley really did a number on me.

Fourteen. Keep that in the back of your head for later. Or the front. Which part has the memory function? Whichever part of your head has the memory function, keep that number there for later. It might be important.

“What is that letter?” asked the hat man, who from here on out I will refer to as Seymour.

“Well Seymour,” I started, letting him know subtly that I had decided his name would be Seymour. “This letter is for me, and apparently it’s a personal matter.”

“Did you know the man?” Seymour asked, pryingly.

“No, but I’m fairly certain he didn’t know me either, so we’re even.”

Seymour shrugged and went over to sit on a log that was beside the furnace. Did I mention that we were in the basement of a large apartment building? I feel like I left that part out.

Some time ago, and in the midst of our search for a mall, we had wandered into an old apartment building and down further down into the basement where all the rats, furnaces, and dead person bodies were apparently kept. This was where we stumbled onto the dead body, in great part due to my aforementioned horrible eyesight.

I trip over a lot of things. If you think about it hard enough to get a headache, tripping over things is apparently a very good way of finding things such as personal letters.

I very carefully opened the envelope, in case something were to jump out and bite me. With my luck lately, I wouldn’t have been surprised if a lion or a ferret were lying in wait inside that thing. I know it was very unlikely, but I just tend to expect things like that in case it ever happens.

It’s good to be on your guard like that. Expect the unexpected like the unlikely. That should also be a phrase. I suppose now it is.

Removing the letter from the envelope, I shook the envelope a few times to make certain there wasn’t any loose money for me as well. I could do with some of that, being unemployed and all, but there was no money. Damn. The unemployment business had been slow lately, and I was in debt up to my ears. I’m not sure how that phrase came about either. I suppose maybe because it’s just about the highest part of your head before you’re completely buried.

I was completely buried in debt. I owed so much money that I’m sure if there had actually been any money in that envelope, it would have been taken away before it actually landed in my hand. Come to think of it, perhaps there actually had been some money in the envelope after all, but one of the numerous people to whom I owe money to whom had gotten to it long before I had ever found it.

This gave me a soft sense of satisfaction, knowing that I had just inadvertently paid off a bit of my debt. I wondered how much they took. Perhaps it was all of it, but that wasn’t very likely, so I whittled it down to about a third and went on looking at the letter.

Unfolding the smooth piece of paper revealed a very attractive and stylish letterhead with the words “E PLURIBUS JACKSON” at the top in a fine bold print. “That must have been his name,” I thought in my head.

“That must have been his name,” Seymour said beside my head just as my head was thinking the exact same thing. This gave me quite a startle, and I jumped out of my nonexistent shoes, hitting Seymour’s chin with my shoulder in the process. I then hit him with my fist for good measure and shouted “Don’t sneak up on me like that!”

He stumbled about the room in a daze for a moment before adjusting his hat and sulking back to his log. I concluded and proceeded to tell him that I would instead read the letter aloud to him, in hopes that he would stop trying to read over my shoulder. He agreed, as well as then I agreed, and we both agreed together to agree on our agreed upon agreement, and then we agreed that I should read, and so I did.

I proceeded to read the letter aloud to Seymour, and the majority of it was simply a bunch of details on the market prices of apples and pears, the differences between them, in spite of the fact that they are, by nature, very much alike, and while apples are the more popular, this dead man person who wrote me this obnoxiously verbose letter seemed to feel that I, being who I am, whoever he thought that might be, would be better off in my life were I to focus my fruit consumption more towards that of the pear variety, instead of eating so many apples.

I do like apples, but how he knew that is unknown to me.

This went on for most of the page, providing no further details of his identity, how he knew who I was, nor how he knew I liked apples. After the printed and then signed signature of “E.P. Jackson” at the close of the very thoughtful correspondence, a postscript sat nestled into the lower left hand corner of the page.

“P.S. - How can you be yet still see at once?”

A riddle. I was never very good at those, and I could tell already that I was not going to be very good at this one either. I placed the letter back into the envelope and shoved both into my coat pocket next to the spoon. I had almost forgotten about the spoon.

“Seymour, why didn’t you tell me I still had this spoon in my pocket?”

Seymour looked at me as if I had personally insulted him, and replied “How am I to know what you keep in those things?” Normally he would have a point, but we only just recently had checked each others’ pockets, and I was entirely sure he hadn’t told me about any spoon. I pointed this out to him and he shrugged. “It’s a lost spoon, man. Sometimes they just aren’t there.”

This seemed like absolute nonsense, but I had no rebuttal that would have made any more sense, so I decided to argue the topic no longer.

“Well, what do you make of that little bit at the end of the letter?” I asked him, mostly just to change the subject.

“The part about the apples?”

“No, the part that wasn’t about apples,” I replied, following myself with a preemptive touch of clarification. “Nor the part about the pears. That little riddle at the end, about being and seeing.”

“And deeing and eeing…” Seymour added.

I was beginning to think Seymour had a little bit more wrong with him than just the hat.



Monday, October 15, 2018

TIMECLOCK -- Entry #6

Entry #6 - Dead Man's Pockets

After an incredibly long and uncomfortable stretch of time, consisting of the hat guy and myself silently eating chicken strips… Okay, I ate silently; he ate louder than a freight train crashing into a room full of geese… What I’m trying to say is that neither of us said a word while we ate our poorly cooked, dry chicken strips. After that aforementioned long and uncomfortable stretch of time, the guy finally said something.

“So, where do you think we should look first?” he asked through the chicken.

“Look for what?” I asked in what I could only hope was a frustrated tone. Occasionally, you need to make your frustration known through a tone of voice instead of simply a swift kick to the face.

Violence only occasionally solves everything.

I felt like today would end up being one of those days.

“The lost city of Tawlanok!” he exclaimed at the top of his lungs and the bottom of his glass of water. “What have we been talking about?!”

I had no idea.

“I have no idea,” I replied softly. Suddenly, it dawned on me. I knew where to go with this. After eating another chicken strip, I decided to tell him. “But I do have some idea of where to look.”

I built up all of my confidence in an attempt to sound as confident as I could. If I could sound confident, he just might be willing to give me a ride to the shopping mall. If this man wasn’t going to drive me to violence, he could at least drive me to the shopping mall.

“Perhaps we should start by looking at the shopping mall.”

His eyes lit up with excitement in a way that looked very bright in this incredibly dimly lit bar. It was almost frightening, and he almost had pretty eyes under all that hat, except not quite.

“I never thought about looking at the mall,” he said as he slapped the table a few times. Of course he had never thought about it. I had only just now come up with the idea, and if he had thought of it before I did, he very likely would have said so. He said all sorts of things, and I don’t see this as something he would have held back. I couldn’t get the guy to stop talking. “Do you think it’ll be there?”

I didn’t want to discourage him. After all, he was the one with the car. At least I hope he had a car. Maybe he didn’t have a car. I don’t think I ever asked if he had a car or not. I decided to continue assuming that he had a car. “We can only hope.”

That was basically the truth. We couldn’t do much else but to hope. Hope and shop. I needed new shoes. I left mine at the bowling alley, and I had no desire to go back there. Also, I was no longer allowed to go back there. And as my father or some other person once possibly said, there is no sense in going backwards, when you have the lack of sense to go forwards.

I think that’s how the phrase went. It had something to do with backwards and forwards at least. Maybe I read it somewhere.

Eventually, we paid for our meal… I paid for our meal… and we left to try to find a mall. I had forgotten to find out if the town we were in even had a mall, but I would think every town would have a mall or at the very least an open-air shopping plaza and/or pavilion. Most towns I’ve been in have something like that, and let me tell you I’ve been to a lot of towns.

I’ve been to a lot of towns.

This particular town, or perhaps it was a city, this particular city was made up of rather large ornate buildings, scattered amongst a few smaller buildings that looked like nobody cared so much about them anymore. Perhaps no one did. I could understand why not, what with all these larger, more ornate buildings lying around all over the place.

We walked up and down a few streets, hoping to find a mall beside one of them, but we had no luck. Not good luck. Not bad luck. Simply no luck whatsoever.

Eventually, we stumbled onto something that I mistook for luck, but instead it was a body. A dead body. I’m pretty sure it was dead, because it didn’t move when I stumbled over it and fell face first onto its face. My face fell against the face of this body so firmly and forcefully, we might as well have been kissing. I think that’s what the man in the hat thought as well, because he took it upon himself to snap a picture for his photo album.

People don’t refer to alive bodies as bodies often enough. They only call it a body when it’s dead. I pondered this for a moment or two before eventually pushing myself up off of the person body and dusting myself off. I checked for a pulse, and once I was sure I still had one or two, I kicked the person body a couple times to verify its life status.

It was dead. Hat man and I agreed upon this thought, and at once we began to rummage through the person body’s dead pockets.

It was a man, in case you were wondering about the gender, although I’m not sure why that would make any real difference at this point. A dead person body is a dead person body, or so the saying goes.

We didn’t find much in the pockets of the dead man’s person body, so I then went through the pockets of the annoying man with the hat, and he in turn went through my pockets. Coming up empty all the way, we both had a very profound sense of dissatisfaction. Someone had to have something in their pockets, but this just didn’t seem to be our day.

I heaved a heaving heavy sigh of heave, and the man with the hat did the same. We both looked over to the dead man’s person body to see if he also would heave a heavy heaving heave of a sigh, but to no avail. Dead person bodies don’t heave nor do they sigh, although I think I heard once somewhere about air being released at the moment of death.

That was not this moment.

What was this moment however was just then at that moment, when I suddenly had a thought. I typically have quite a few thoughts, but this one thought in particular caught my thinking attention and made me go “Hmm.”

“Hmm,” I said aloud, and the man in the hat said “What?”

“I said ‘Hmm’,” I replied, and the man in the hat said “Oh, okay. I thought that’s what you said.”

“Yes, very much so,” I said back to him, and we went on like this for some time, which I am sure is of no concern to you, as you are likely as bored with this conversation as I was at the moment.

The moment I had the thought that made me go “Hmm.”

I had thought to look in the dead man person body’s shoes, in case he had something in them aside from just his feet and socks.

He did.

I found a letter stuffed under his left foot in his right shoe. A letter addressed to me.



Monday, October 08, 2018

TIMECLOCK -- Entry #5

Entry #5 - Love At First...

Upon entering, I was smacked in the face with the smell of beer and a pool cue. The pool cue hurt almost as much as the smell, so I found a table and sat down.

“What’ll you have?” asked a bored-looking waitress. She was young and gaunt, with the sunken eyes of a pharaoh. I figured she was likely hard up for money and soft down on luck. “Also, would you mind getting down off the table?”

I didn’t mind.

I sat on the booth bench, or whatever it’s called, and ordered something from the menu. My exact words were “I’d like to order something from the menu, and it doesn’t matter to me what it is!”

The waitress responded almost as exactly as I had ordered. “So what you’re saying is that you’d like me to decide for you?”


“I don’t get paid enough for this,” she retorted while crinkling up her nose in what I can only assume was disgust.

This signified the end of the conversation, and she walked away into the darkness of the bar. Satisfied with my order, I saw back to wait for my food, drink, or whatever the woman would order for me.

At that precise moment, and not any moment later, the man with the hat from before sat down on the other side of the table.

“You’d better get down from there, or a very bitter woman will come over and ask you to.”

He pondered this or something else for a moment before sitting down on the other booth bench, or whatever it’s called. I figured he didn’t want to talk to that woman any more than I did, which, for the record, wasn’t very much at all.

“I bet you’re wondering how I’ve found you,” he started. He was right. I was quite definitely wondering just that and nothing else. I wasn’t really in the mood for a lot of wondering, so I decided to limit myself to one thing at a time. In that moment, what I was wondering was how he had found me, but I wasn’t about to give him the satisfaction that he was right. He was, but I wasn’t going to tell him that.

It didn’t matter anyways, as he continued speaking before I could neither confirm nor deny his suspicions.

“I’ve been following you ever since you stood in the middle of the road over by the bowling alley.”

“Let’s not speak of the bowling alley,” I implored. It was still a bit of a sore topic for me, due to  all the bruises I’d sustained during all of the fighting and crying. “And while we’re on a subject, you really need to stop following me. It’s not a very good past-time, and I’m certain I am not the least bit entertaining.”

“Entertainment is not why I follow you,” he said calmly. Almost too calmly in fact, and I began to fall asleep.

My nap didn’t last very long though, because I was awoken by that nasty waitress asking the man in the what what he wanted from her.

“What do you want from me?” she asked him harshly. She struck me as a very rude woman, very rudely with the back of her hand across the back of my head. “Wake up. This isn’t a hotel.”

I knew that.

“I know that,” I said.

Ignoring me, she turned back to the man with the hat. “I suppose you want me to decide for you as well?”

“That would be wonderful!” he said with a stupid grin on his stupid face and a stupid hat on his stupid head. I think he was starting to annoy me. I think he was starting to annoy the waitress as well, because she simply walked away simply, muttering something simple under her simple breath.

She was a very complicated woman, and I think I was in love.

I couldn’t remember if the man had told me why he was following me, and by that point, I no longer cared. I had grown weary of the entire situation, and came to the very swift conclusion that the best course of action was to let the whole thing drop.

The love of my life was none too pleased with this.

“You know that I’m going to have to clean all that up, don’t you?” she asked as she brought a plate of chicken strips and barbecue sauce to the table.

It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but I wasn’t about to tell her that. She seemed like the type of woman who was hard to please, and our growing relationship was already strained by us not knowing each other and her very clearly not liking me at all. I found no reason in making things worse…

“Thank you for the food.” I figured buttering her up a bit was the best course of action.

“Put that butter down and don’t change the subject.”

She was on to me.

“Hey lady,” the stupid annoying man chimed in. “Perhaps you could stop interrupting us. We have important things to discuss.”

I didn’t agree with him, both vocally or at all.

Either way, the love of my life turned in a huff and walked out of it. My life, that is. She walked out of my life as angrily as she had walked into it, which, if you have been paying as little attention as I have, was fairly extremely angrily.

I had the strong sense I would never see her ever again. Most of that came from hearing her shout back to me that she never wanted to see me ever again.

She’ll come around.



Monday, October 01, 2018

TIMECLOCK -- Entry #4

Entry #4 - A Beginning To An End

I only remembered the name of the place I was setting out to find, because I had taken the initiative to write it on my hand in blue ink. When you need to make certain you remember an important piece of information, such as what to buy at the store, where you parked your car, or names of lost civilizations, you should always write it on your hand in blue ink. It helps you to remember, and the blue makes sure it’s less likely to smear off in case of moisture.

As I stumbled my way down the street and around the corner, I had the strong sense that someone was following me. I’m fairly certain this feeling was brought about by the fact that I could see that someone was following me. I decided to confront him, but not yet. I had to be sure.

I took an immediate sudden turn into an alley, narrowly missing the alley and smacking face first into a brick wall. Just as I had expected and kind of weirdly hoped, the suspect walked right into my back. He was following my every move.

“Hey watch where you’re going, buddy,” I shouted quite crossly at the stranger.

“I think I could say the same to you, mister,” came a low rumbling voice from under the hat… He was wearing a hat. “You walked us straight into a wall.”

This was when I decided to get rough. “Well, if you hadn’t been following me…”

“Hey, what I do with my time is none of your concern.” He was right. What a person does with their time should be of no concern to other people. It was the way of the world, and it was as it should be. I felt I should apologize at once.

“I’m sorry, mister, uh....” In the shuffle, I had forgotten to ask the man his name. I had forgotten to give mine. Perhaps we should exchange insurance information. That’s the sort of thing you do when you get into a rear-end collision, I believe. Sure, normally automobiles are involved, occasionally bicycles… At least one time, an elephant was involved. I saw it with my very own eyes… Yet then again, my eyesight never was very good… The elephant was hard to miss though. Where was I? Oh right, introductions. “Look, my name is Richard Flint, and I’m an unemployed professional. Perhaps you’ve heard of me.”

“Oh, I’ve heard of you alright,” said the man in the hat. “But not from your place of lack of business.” Where else would someone know me from? Perhaps he’d seen my play. “You’re looking for Tawlanok, am I right?” He was.

“You are,” I replied.

“Well what would you say if I told you I could help you find it?”

I blinked very rapidly, mostly trying to get the eyelash out of my eye. It worked. I resumed blinking normally. “I would say that you’re likely full of bull donkey.” I’m not sure what a bull donkey was, but I wasn’t in the mood for profanity at that precise moment. “If you knew how to find it, you’d have found it already and it would no longer be lost, thus rendering my current and newfound search for the lost civilization completely pointless… in which case, I shouldn’t need your assistance whatsoever, so you offering it to me would also be pointless.”

The man was taken back a little and taken front a lot. “Your circular logic impresses me.” It impressed me as well, but I decided against stating it aloud as he had done. Instead, I simply stood there feeling very intelligent and quick-witted while the man also stood silently saying nothing. I'll tell you, it was a lot better than loudly saying nothing, as many people often do… Although I will admit that it was far more awkward, and after an hour or two it made me feel incredibly uncomfortable, so I decided it was time I spoke up.

“Listen here.” I wasn't sure where else he would listen, but I've heard people say that before, and it always seems to get my attention. “You seem like an eccentric enough guy, what with your hat and all, and you seem pretty interested in finding Tawlanok same as me…”

“I, same as I.”

“Absolutely, you and me are the same… so how's about you tag along on my journey, for it is destined to be a fantastic quest at that!” I wanted to end my pitch with a bit of a flourish at the end. I dug back into my Shakespearean days and all the acting skills I had acquired, and I rounded the whole thing out with a grand hand gesture, complete with a pompous look on my face as us thespians are wont to do.

The man just gave a simple shrug and said “Yeah sure. I don't see why not.”

I chose to believe that the overwhelming grandeur of my performance had stunned him into a sort of dry shock, unlike those wet kinds that you hear about so often, and that his lackadaisical response was merely due to his feeble mind being unable to process how marvelous an actor I am.

I didn’t exactly know where to begin, and I’m fairly certain neither did he, but we weren’t about to let that bring us down. As any good explorer will tell you, the best way to start exploring is to find a place to start exploring and just go from there. Actually, it’s practically impossible to get them to stop telling you things like that. You don’t even have to ask, they’ll just keep telling, whether you want to hear it or not. Sometimes the only thing to do in that situation is to walk away.

That is also what I decided to do in that exact moment.

I walked away so exactly and so momentously that it caused quite a stir. People all over were looking and pointing and talking about how well I was walking away that it stopped traffic. Well, to be more accurate, I stopped traffic. I stood in the middle of the road and kept traffic from going anywhere.

If I couldn’t go anywhere, neither could they. These cars weren’t going to move until I had decided on a starting point for my great adventure.

A bowling alley seemed the most obvious choice, partly because it was right there in front of me, flashing its obnoxious neon sign-lights in my face.

Ignoring all the honking and profanity and beverage cups being thrown my way, I made my way across the rest of the street, making a few other peoples’ ways across as I went. It’s only polite to think about the needs of others every now and then, but mostly now.

Once inside the bowling alley, I turned around and went immediately back outside to make sure I was in the right establishment and hadn’t missed or something like that. When entering a building, it’s always a good idea to take a moment to verify that you are where you want to be… in case someone asks.

The moment I set foot back inside, I forgot why I was there. So, I rented out some shoes and decided to play a couple rounds.

I’m not very good at golf.

After much arguing, fighting, and crying with the management of the bowling alley, and agreement was made. I was to pay seventy-five of my hardly-earned money, and in exchange, I was to never set foot in that bowling alley ever again. I decided to be the better man and extend that courtesy to every other bowling alley I came across.

“Go the extra mile,” I told myself. So I began walking.

I’m not entirely sure how far a mile is, but I think that it’s something along the lines of three city blocks. At least, that’s the conclusion I came to when I saw that shady bar after walking for three blocks. It was dark and not very well lit on the inside either. I went inside. That’s how I know.


Read the gathering adventure HERE!