Tick of the Clock
The one thing I was always dying to know was the inner workings of the clock, thinking if I could learn it inside out, I might learn to pace myself and live smarter. Its speed freaked me out, really (much more than the breast-cancer episode, if you ask me). The thing is, I was sprinting right at the beginning of the race, and at some point had a feeling I’d run out of energy before the finish line, so I broke into a clockmaker’s store to get some answers but, to my sky-high disappointment, left empty-handed.
Then, quite unexpectedly, I swallowed a clock and crossed “buy a new clock” off my to-do list. Setting its speed tuned out to be easier than I thought. I followed the instructions in the manual, looked for a small screw underneath and turned it counterclockwise.
Each turn of the screw was supposed to slow the clock by two minutes per 24-hour period, which I thought fair enough. However, having realized I got the upper hand, I went on to make adjustments several times over the course of a day, then several times per hour until it became the most reliable timepiece ever and I the most satisfied customer ever.
One day I woke up to a clock that moaned about increased sensitivity to light and pain in the neck, staring blankly at me, so I took it to a repair shop, hoping a professional had the right tools and equipment to bring it back to life.
I reckon it’s the escape wheel, I told the clock guy, watching him put the clock face down, and pull out its heart carefully with his small hands. I keep forgetting to wound it up and turn it back. Does this have something to do with...
No, he interrupted me. A clock turns one direction only, unlike man. It always ticks, whether you hear it or not. It’s the main wheel.
Oh! It is broken? Do you think you could fix it?
It seems pretty dead to me, he replied. I’m afraid I can’t replace it either. This is what happens when you ignore the alarm system. Go home now; it’s later than you think.
That’s the most stupid explanation I’ve ever heard, I said resentfully and stormed out of the store.
Feeling desperate, I roamed the wet streets for hours till all the bars closed and I had nowhere else to go. Finally, I brought the clock back home with me, put it on the nightstand, and crawled into bed. I woke up in the middle of the night, tired as fuck. My back was killing me and I had a pulsating chest pain that traveled up the neck, into the jaw, and down both arms. I thought I heard the phone ringing. All sweaty and nauseous, I staggered out of bed to answer it but it was no one. When I looked in the mirror, gigantic hands were pointing to a hollow body. The clock seemed to have swallowed me.
Bojana Stojcic teaches and writes. Most of her clocks have stopped at a certain point in her life, which doesn’t stop her from buying new ones
The Ekphrastic Review
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