Time Stands Still (very short fiction)
Some students (if they were students) stole the clock’s hands, and we marveled over the gall and ingenuity to pull off a stunt like that. How did the perpetrators manage to get outside the building that high up and remove the hour and minute hands? Did they dangle on rope like climbers coming down from a mountain’s peak? What tools did they use?
Inquiring minds want to know. Inquiring minds like ours. Collegiate minds, you understand.
We stood looking up at the handless clock, staring like you’d stare at graffiti on a highway overpass while stuck in traffic and wonder if the graffiti writers were scared hanging there in the night, just above the highway. Traffic would be more sparse at night, and the cars would be moving much faster. Possibly too fast to avoid seeing a person who accidentally dropped onto the asphalt.
On the clock, the numbers in a circle looked lost. Like they weren’t quite sure what to do next. Lining up in a circle, round and round they waited.
“How the hell did they do that?” Scott asked.
“It’s stupid,” Denise said. “I mean, what’s the point?”
Scott shrugged. “Oh, I don’t know, maybe to see if they could do it?”
“That’s moronic. Those are the guys who’ll graduate and spend the next year on their parents’ couch.”
“Engineers maybe,” I said. “You’d have be seriously smart to pull that off. Engineers are seriously smart. Those guys are sure to have jobs lined up. Maybe I should’ve majored in engineering.”
“Not too late,” Scott offered. “Stay here a bit longer. Couple more years wouldn’t hurt.”
“Yeah. Like time standing still.”
Of course, we were also struck by the irony of this. A clock without hands. Time standing still. Us on the precipice of graduation and about to enter The Real World.
I met an alum at a party a few weeks ago. “Don’t do it,” he advised. “Don’t graduate. The Real World sucks. Enjoy college while you can. It’s the good life back here.” The look of jealousy in his eyes. Or perhaps regret. It was hard to tell with the beer and all.
And why does time stand in its stillness? Can’t it sit awhile? Plunk down on a stool, grab a cold one, and take it easy for a bit. Inquiring minds want to know.