Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Monologue Mania Day #986 The Clock (chapter 1) by Janet S. Tiger (c) Oct. 25, 2016

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Monologue Mania Day #986 The Clock (chapter 1)by Janet S. Tiger (c) Oct. 25,  2016 

                                         The Clock (chapter one)

                   by Janet S. Tiger
      © all rights reserved March 19, 2009

The Clock  by Janet S. Tiger© Oct. 25, 2016 Janet S. Tiger all rights reserved

Chapter 1

Most people don't know, but Henderson James did, exactly what changed his life forever.  It was a clock.  Well, maybe not A clock, but THE clock.

Henderson had been born in the era of the end of analog, and had grown up in a home bereft of machines that told time in any other but digital mode.

Everywhere he looked in his home there was a digital reminder of the time - over his crib when he was born, in every room, and outside on the door, along with the safety buttons, lights, emergency request slide bars and thermometer.

Henderson had barely any knowledge of the analog clock - as he was brought up in schools that were living computers - and therefore digital was king....or queen....or ruler....whichever pronoun you preferred.  And digital was enhanced by the lovely sounds of the gentle robotic voices that would answer all questions - What day is it today?  'Thurs-day, Jan-u-a-ry Nine-teenth, two thou-zand-se-ven-ty one.  And what time is it?  Eight-thir-ty two.  Time to go to work in ...fif-teen min-utes.'

So it was with an amazing jolt that Henderson first encountered the clock.  

It was in a box that had been left out for collection for the history society.  The old man Henderson barely saw in the old house he lived next to was dead. Finally.  He was over a hundred and sixty-five, and did not believe in using much of the modern methods of life-extension, so he looked like a withered prune to Henderson.  He was also very annoying and could be rude, as rumor was that he did not take his evening pills, as his sharp tongue certainly indicated.

His name had been John Rattamaker, the order from the old days, with his parents’ name last, and he had once told Henderson that Henderson looked like an ass for wearing the required hat.  

Henderson knew what an ass looked like (he had Googled it) and found (also by Google) that it was a term meant to insult. But Henderson did not take this personally at all, as Henderson always took the evening pills, which were a funny play on words - you took them in the evening, before bed, and they were good at 'evening' out your emotions.

As Henderson left his home, he saw the box, waiting for the History Society pick-up.  It had probably been collected by one of Rattamaker's many children, who had swarmed over the rickety stairs as soon as their father had died.  They had left with many items, and Henderson was sure they were auctioned off to pay for the taxes owed on the property, which it was rumored, Rattamaker had not paid in decades.

Due to the fact that older people had started not dying and many had no way to earn more money, a law passed in the early days of the century mandated that old people could not be  removed from domiciles they occupied for any reason except if they had killed someone (all other crimes were excused for the elderly) or if they were dead - , allowing the old to remain in places until they literally faded away.  But once they did, the families descended like vultures, and the result looked like bones picked clean on videos he had watched on his viewer.

So the left behind remains were interesting - and in spite of the need to be on time for his assigned job as a watcher of the news feeds for impending troubles, he stopped to peruse the pile of junk by the curb.

Most of the items held no interest, and if he hadn't dug his hand deep into the container, underneath the old VCR tapes and postcards and other useless trash, he would never have found the clock.

When his hand touched it, it was a strange shape.  Round, yet with edges.  Most items in Henderson's time were produced by 3D machines - and they had a different feel.  This was.......old.

He pulled it out and perused the face of the clock, even though he did not know it was called a face at that moment. but when he learned, he knew that is exactly what he thought when he saw it - a face.

The numbers looked at him, and the hands, did they move?  He shook the clock and....he saw a faint motion, looked around quickly and shoved the clock into his pocket.   It was his, he thought, as he rationalized that no one from the history society could possibly want an old plastic and slightly bent item like this!

Knowing the cameras would be recording this, he made sure bent over carefully to shield his actions as he concealed the clock.  Then he made a big issue of sneezing loudly, which would require him to return to his home, take a wellness pill, and sanitize himself before heading to work.  This enabled him to go into his home and put the clock in what he considered a safe place, under his bed.  Nobody would look there.

And so it began.

Henderson could barely wait to get home that evening.  He was a bit giddy at work, and tried hard to disguise this with a few sneezes, just in case.  He left that afternoon, telling the others he was going to take an extra pill that night, just in case. as he had sneezed too much, and did not not want get a cold, which was something highly feared, as even though all illnesses had been completely eradicated back in the 2070s, for some reason, no one ever had been able to stop the mutation of the cold virus, and it still plagued humanity, despite trillions of dollars of medical research yearly, and the protective industry which had arisen to combat the cold.

Deep inside, Henderson wondered sometimes if the cold was allowed to continue due to the huge industry it supported, but the medications he took daily quickly stopped the thought from developing into anything resembling a troubling idea.

But the clock was to begin a series of troubling ideas - only Henderson did not identify
this at the time.  Had he, the psychotropic medicines would probably have brought 
an end to the entire sequence quickly.  What happened, as we now know, was the
start of something only history books can properly explain, as no one could have 
predicted that a simple man would cause the end of society as it was known at 
the time.

And all because of a simple, plastic, made in China, originally $4.99 Walmart analog
clock........Tick tock.  

Janet S. Tiger    858-736-6315                CaregiversAnon.org
Member Dramatists Guild since 1983
Swedenborg Hall 2006-8

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