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June 4, 2005

Volume 2, Issue 4

Your watch just stopped.

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Michele: Tick Tick Tickin' in My Head

I turn to pay for the sunglasses. Two seconds. When I turn back, she is gone.

I scan the store for her yellow shirt. Nothing. I yell her name. Nothing.

The floor tilts. Time sucks in its breath, stops and lurches. Fifteen seconds could be three days. I hear nothing but the roar of panic in my head. A barrage of thoughts: lost, crying, kidnapped, hurt, drugged, her hair dyed, her name changed, sold into child labor, black and white fliers, milk cartons, accusations.

I glimpse yellow. She’s there, tugging on the mannequin’s dress. “Mommy?”

Time lets out its breath.

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The Eschatologist: Lunch Hour

"Time," says the poet, "is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so."

Pithy, I thought. But in this case, so very true. I loitered on the horn while twisting the wheel in a way that would make my acceptance into the IRL a foregone conclusion. Traffic flailed about me as the engine purred, just getting warmed up. I could practically hear the smile coming from under the hood.

Was that a red light? Nah, must have been yellow.

I did a double take at my watch. Oh shit. I thumped it against the door. Still nothing.


And now sirens. Just wonderful.

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Stacy: Uh Oh

James finished packing his gear and looked warily around the clearing. The cycads and ferns were unmoving in the hot afternoon silence. Even with the perimeter monitors and notated schedules, he still worried about the possibility of a close encounter.

He shouldered his pack and walked toward the port terminal. He had plenty of time before the local predators awoke from their daily siesta, his watch still read one-thirty, earth standard time. Wait...STILL read...

The foliage on the north side of the clearing shuddered, and a russet head poked through, bony head ridges prominent.

Allosaurus atrox, he thought.


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Ted: Final Vacation

I looked around the office. Shit. Why did I come back here? Down island was ideal this year. The diving was superb. So were the women that my wife knows nothing about. I think the ganja was the best ever too.

So why am I back in the office?

Why am I in the office looking at my wife's picture.

Why is my boss yelling--"Look at your watch Stevens! You gotta surface now!"

I imagine I can still feel the warm Carribean surrounding me in my wetsuit and hope this office just goes away so I can enjoy my dive.

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Tanya: Tick. Tock.

48 years he'd been with the company, the vast majority of his days. And nights. And weekends. He'd been a kid in the stockroom, hauling boxes. Gave them his whole life, working his way up the hard way. Promotions, advances, finally on the board of trustees, and now he was shoved away by a bunch of no-nothing kids. Pensioned out like garbage.

He pulled the cheap gold watch out of his pocket. Already stopped. He chucked it into the road and watched a Chevy truck run over it, crushing it into shrapnel. Just let them try to survive without him.

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From the Comments: Allah

The dealer had begged him not to wear it.

It's an antique, he'd said. The gears are ground, the springs sprung. "Put a battery in and in two months, it'll be junk."

That was five years ago.

He sat hunched at a corner table, his wrist beside the bottle, his eyes focused through tears on the tiny, struggling hands.

He remembered the repairman shaking his head. "Six months ago, maybe. But now...."

The hands shuddered. He stared, red and yellow stinging his eyes. One glove pointed at eleven, the other not quite at twelve.


He sobbed. "Godspeed, Mickey. Godspeed."

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