The First Second
(c)by Mick Silva
Busy today. A bit crazed, in fact. I'd like to say I'm good on days like these, but I'm not. In truth, they make me retreat into fantasy. Anything to escape...
"Do you have the time," the clock asks, no doubt amused by the irony in his statement, I'm sure. Cheeky clocks are forever messing with me for no apparent reason.
"No, not really. But thank you for pointing that out." I won't be cowed by this. He knows I won't. He's so smart, after all.
"Then why are you still here?"
I wait, consider his reason for asking this of me, watching the little black line pass the 6, the 7, the 8, jerking the seconds away.
"Because I have work to do."
"What do you mean 'do I?'" getting agitated now. "You know I do."
And then, he's silent. The merciful quiet startles me for a moment, and I look up. The tick-tick-taunting of the second hand has stopped.
"This is it. You'll never have this moment again. How you'll spend it is up to you. No one has to do anything they don't have time for. Each moment is a gift."
Wow. Well, I guess I know who's been reading Ecclesiastes while I'm gone. But he's right. Whether or not he sounds like a PBS motivational speaker. I know he's right.
I could swear his placid, circular face is glaring. "Stop trying to be so smart all the time. Stop convincing yourself of what you have to do. Just stop. All of it."
I stare at him, this ordinary desktop clock that's able to convict me with aphorisms and stop time. The moment endless. What will I do when time stops forever, as it certainly will eventually? What will be my excuse then?
"Okay," I say. "I don't have to work." I look down at my fingers. Empty, calloused hands. "But then what do I do?"
The ticking resumes.
I blink, adjusting to this new reality. Time and time to enjoy it. How novel. I suppose it could be an answer. Of sorts.
I stand and turn from the desk, the clock, the keyboard, the screen, the scales falling off.
Maybe it's a new world. It could be.
Mick Silva is the youngest acquisitions editor at WaterBrook Press, specializing in narrative nonfiction and select fiction. He wears square-frame glasses to look older and likes to be seen holding meetings at Starbucks at least a couple times a week. You can visit him at http://www.yourwritersgroup.com/