Weekly Challenge #412 – Where has the time gone?

Welcome to the 100 Word Stories podcast at oneadayuntilthedayidie.com. I’m your host, Laurence Simon.

This is Weekly Challenge, where I post a topic and then challenge you to come up with a 100 word story based on that topic.

The topic this week was WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE?.

We’ve got stories by:

The next 100 word stories weekly challenge is on the topic of ANY TOWN BUT FUNKYTOWN.

Use the Share buttons at the end of the post to spam your social networks. This obligatory cat photo should help make the Internet go faster:

Paw Face

Finally, if there are any errors or corrections, please let me know, and I’ll fix them as soon as possible.

LIZZIE

“Mark my words, son, time flies.” The six year-old Tommy nodded diligently. His grandfather surely knew about these things. “One day you’re young and the next…” Tommy wasn’t quite sure of this though. When he was born, his grandfather was already old. He had gray hair and wrinkles. “Let’s go. We still have a few hours till sunset.” And they played football. His grandfather moved quite well for an old guy. Years later, when his granddad died, all Tommy could think of was that afternoon. “Time does fly, granddad,” he whispered softly, looking at the sun hiding behind the horizon.

JOHN MUSICO

“Time Cures All” by John Musico

The Alzheimer’s patient returned to his psychiatric appointment accompanied by his wife.
During the interview, the patient’s wife, as visits prior, answered all questions for him while shooting glares at him with her eyes to keep quiet and just sit still. He wasn’t his usual expressionless mute self that day. The wife declared to the psychiatrist; “He has clearly deteriorated.” The doctor explained; “ He is advancing to disinhibition. That means he can no longer suppress his urges.” She replied; “ I still don’t understand”. The patient turned to her and said smiling; “That means; time to shut up bitch.”

JEFFREY

On the Case
by Jeffrey Fischer

The police detective glanced around the ransacked room. “Okay, sir, just tell me what’s missing.”

The homeowner looked frantic. “The thieves took everything of value – my computer, my TV, phone. But I can replace all that. The one thing that is irreplaceable was a gift from my grandfather.”

“Don’t worry, sir, we’ll try to get your property back. Just describe this gift for me.”

“It’s a mid-century watch. It didn’t cost much, but it has great sentimental value for me. Please, detective, find out for me: where did the Timex go?”

Golden Years
by Jeffrey Fischer

I leaned back in the easy chair and turned to my wife. “It’s so nice to be able to sit here with you without a care in the world. I guess that’s what we worked so hard to achieve. It seemed like only yesterday when you were my bride. Now look at us: content just to while away the hours until we die. Where *did* the time go?”

Jennifer peered at me over her glasses. “Jeffrey, sarcasm doesn’t become you. When you married me, you knew I liked to watch “Downton Abbey.” It’s only an hour, and if you don’t like it, read a book.”

RICHARD

#1 – George’s Story: Part 49 – Time to go

Seeing the look on Rasputin’s face, George started babbling and looking for an escape route. He glanced at his watch:

“Oh, my goodness… where has the time gone? I’m terribly late… I really must be going. Terribly sorry!”

Rasputin’s sudden firm grip upon his shoulder said otherwise.

Without haste, the big man led him across the chapel, knocked on the ante-room door, and roughly pushed him through.

“And where the hell do you think you’ve been?”, said a familiar voice, sarcastically.

Sat upon a Sunday School chair, far too small for her, was Emily. And boy, did she look annoyed!

#2 – Time Lord

The first time that I met him, I was thoroughly impressed – long scarf, floppy hat and deep, booming voice.

He told me he was a Time Lord: “I keep time safe, I ensure it runs as it should – all the time in the universe passes through my hands. Never ask where the time has gone, for I am its keeper, and it comes to me!”

He gave me an enigmatic wink, before stepping into a nearby ‘phone box.

The next time I met him, I wasn’t quite so impressed.

Turns out, he owns the clock shop on the High Street!

#3 – The Timekeeper

‘Who wants to live forever?’

That was the advertising slogan that accompanied the launch of ‘The Timekeeper’, and despite its high price tag, millions were sold.

‘The Timekeeper is a revolutionary new product that captures all your wasted, lost and spare time throughout your life, keeping it safely and securely stored until your final moment. Then, simply press the chrono-key to release the stored time, extending your lifetime far beyond mortal years!’

Of course, I bought one.

And now, on my deathbed, I pressed the key…

Nothing.

Frantically, I tried again, and again.

Turns out, ‘The Timekeeper’ was just another scam.

#4 – Einstein

Einstein got it right, but Hawking messed up the mechanics.

Time is relative, but black holes? Sorry Stephen – you blew it!

A crushing singularity, where time itself grinds to a pulverising halt – it’s simply incorrect.

What really occurs is that the time that’s in short supply – the long summer days, memorable moments, happy hours… the times that seem to be over in an instant – these are captured by black holes, stretched to infinite length, then squeezed out the other side, where they become…

Those interminably long bus journeys, embarrassed silences, and the unending hours spent in the dentist’s waiting room.

TURA

Live fast, we’d certainly done that. Not the die young part, though. Then we’d all moved on, lost touch. But you never lose friends like that, so when his son called me, I had to go.

They’d had to cut out one lung, and the other wasn’t up to much. We talked over old times, although truth is, he was already slipping away, and his memory was pretty vague.

His eyes suddenly clouded with uncertainty, and he feverishly grasped my arm. “Tell me, Jake,” he quavered, “we had fun. Didn’t we? We had fun?”

“Yes,” I said, “we had fun.”

SINGH

28.7

She blinked with daylight. The storm had broken. Birds

were fluttering, stealing thatch.

“Atul!”

He’d migrated from the chair to her bed end.

“Your mother will be worried.

“No Madam.

She knows that you are sick.”

“Pass me water,

will you?”

As he jumped down, Yudhi jumped up,

then sank his butt, wetting the concrete floor.

Atul passed her a tumbler and let him out,

then squatted to sluice away the puppy puddle

with half a bucket, brooming the yellow runoff

out the door.

“You’re a darling,” Margot said.

She was glad for the boy, but wished Yogi was here.

28.8 kaleidoscope

Thanks to Little Man

Margot didn’t starve.

He brought subdzie-roti

packed by neighbourly women —

vegetable and chapati

spiced over hot-plate fires

from the rainbow tray of powders

always with tumeric, haldi

adding its yellow bias,

the Indian cure-all

anti-bacterial ginger-

cousin, along with mirch —

chilli that burns out fever.

Atul was courier for

the billions of women network

(local unsung chapter)

rolling dough into action.

Her sickness brought acceptance.

Bukhar, the fever leveller

breaks people, then bonds them.

None escapes what tries

to wrench body from soul,

dandled in the hands

of the death god Yama.

28.9

walking to the mandir red temple compound

for post-fever reboot inside the Gate of Aum

time overspent with newbie greenhearts

looking out not inward being a tree a shade-giver

she sighed relieved ding-alinging the God bell

bowing body down before the fire-pit

sprinkling samagri sandalwood sawdust rose-petals

with steel spoon camphor dhoop seven grains

to seek guidance feed the mouth of Agni

learn your life’s role Q & A with the fire-god

stay still ear tuned source ominous weather

the action of bowing on warm marble

blessed her forehead impressing a seed open sesame

28.10

The villagers bowed here with their skinny hopes

requesting rain, a cow, or marriage matches.

Their scale of wants was simple milk and roti.

Meanwhile a man ladled drips of ghee

from time to time, to appease the fire-god.

He was the Brahmin following tradition

who also tilled a plot, although his brood

lived out the back mainly on offerings

of store supplies and grimy rupee notes

earned for wedding services and funerals,

harvest mantras. His birth horoscopes

spoke auspicious outcomes, softened truths.

She fluttered rupee butterflies onto marble.

Eyes lit up. He chanted with more vigour.

28.11

The English-knowing priest soon spoke aloud.

“Where is your husband? We are missing him.”

“Yogi is busy. He will be back.”

She sat.

Her eyes searched the flames and climbed the wall.

Shiva was framed above in embossed tin,

the Lord of Yoga in his lotus pose

with three-pronged trishul, a cobra for a scarf

was well-scorched by the rising havan heat.

Then Yudhi barked, wagging his happy tail.

Rushing in, he leapt to clean her face.

The fire-priest flared up. “Get it out! Get it out!”

A tongue had spoken. No dog can enter heaven.

28.12

For his next trick he piddled by the fire.

The priest rose livid, scrabbling for a stick.

Margot should have laughed, but the fever —

her hard-to-send-off guest had made her tetchy.

She stood up, tree-like to protect the dog.

“Don’t touch the little thing. It’s just a puppy!”

Brahmin glared at the untouchable pariah.

“Don’t even think it, or I’ll crack your head.”

She grabbed the iron trishul against the wall

ready to wield like battle-goddess Durga

till the pissing war became an Indian stand-off.

He left in a huff. She cleaned the place and went.

28.13

This argy-bargy did not endear her

to the prestige priest and his close cronies.

Revere the goddess or just plain fear her.

Such men make witches from strong yonis.

These ruling males were at a loss

and Foreign Madam got a wide berth.

But children knew she was the boss.

Thus Gora the potter discerned her worth

like Om Prakash and Janadan

whose kids loved school. To make amends

Gora sent cups and Janadan, a melon

each day to her. She earned friends,

while the burning priest just stayed on fire

and gave bad press as the village-cryer.

28.14

Ram, her closest neighbour,

husband of Kamal Devi

urged by Atul dropped by

to do odd jobs, fixing

the waterpump handle

loose on its ratchet,

and mending the rot in gaps

of her enclosure. He

had no children in school

but following his wife’s

kind thought for Madam

did what he could, clearing

the sludge build-up

in the run-off channel.

Some old women passing

looked with hard eyes

wondering why this man

was helping out so much

the white Foreign Madam

whose own husband

should be doing her own chores —

not all their children

taken from farm duties.

28.15

She began to see the village folk divide

as the self-appointed, and the humble few

Kaurava cousins, Pandavas everywhere.

A woman without husband and protector

was danger time and a gossip topic.

Without school, she lacked a postal service

to send needful messages to parents.

But Atul and a handful of the keen

traded chores for some close-up lessons.

The poorer children had the appetite

as the monsoon poured down in fever bursts.

Each day she would read or act a story

from the Mahabharata book – this one

in verse with Atul as her translator.

28.16

Eklavya, the lowborn lad

did not know the high-caste law:

that poor polluted ones cannot

be purified through arts of war.

None told him Dronacharya

the warrior Brahmin of the bow

who taught the princes in silk robes

would one day, cruelly, strike a blow.

Eklavya, still fashioned faith,

shaping his Drona from raw clay

and bowing to the Guru’s form

gained archery an inner way.

Adeptness came, until one day

he shot seven arrows through the jaws

of some stray dog, pinned down and skewered,

the death-shake rattling in its claws.”

Yudhi then rolled over to play.

28.17

“He’s an English dog,” joked Atul.

He understands you, Madam.”

Now Drona with his best disciple

watching, walked out from the trees.

Arjuna, student-general

could not command such expertise.

Dronacharya, in a flash

now thought of rebel-flags unfurled,

inciting subdued tribes behind

the Greatest Archer in the World.

No, he must be one High-Born:

like Prince Arjuna—the hope and goal

who had the ancestry to assert

good politics of caste-control.

Drona called the boy: ‘Hey come!

How did you perfect your game?’

‘By offering all to you, my Lord,

I worshipped—you improved my aim.’”

28.18

“Is it true, Madam?”

She continued.

“I appreciate you for all this love,

and I see you practice everyday.

Now, as per custom, give my homage.’

The crafty guru made his play.

‘Though none can match, Eklavya,

who has shot upward from a slum

the future’s arrowhead is Arjuna.

Thus, I demand your severed thumb.’

So, Eklavya, the faithful slave

gave dakshina, the guru-fee.

Ever since, dissenting Dalits,

stretch the bow, but hold thumb free.

He placed it at the guru’s feet

a blemish on the Brahmin Law.

Now Dronacharya is best recalled

for stealing thumbs, not arts of war.”

28.19

Thus she passed her days of wet and hot

inside her hut with a happy yellow dog,

neighbour kids arriving between the storms.

Avoiding the Brahmin and fire mandir

she turned inside and found another place.

Nataraja danced before her eyes.

She saw and heard his damaru, the little drum

shaped like an hour-glass, sounding syllables

that make and break the universal law.

There was Ganga Devi in Shiva’s hair

unbraiding herself from his flowing dreadlocks.

Outside, rain had not let up and tractor blades

were ploughing the road. Then she heard Atul.

“Madam ji! Madam!”

NEIL

— Junkie —

You can get it all at Mr Johnson’s Time Emporium. Pop-books of individual seconds. Hours sealed in a can. Tanks containing whole years, if you’ve got the cash.

Time is money, Mr Johnson says.

And since he opened, I’ve never missed a deadline.

Never hit one, either. Because I can always get a couple more days, I never feel like I have to start anything.

It’s getting bad. I’ve got so much time that nothing ever gets done. I’m almost 50, but I’ve not yet had my 22nd birthday.

I’d quit, if it didn’t mean facing my credit card bill.

TOM

A silence gather about the Ghetto. Father Tony was joined by Rev
Morehouse. “Not you too, we are not going to have a dipped in nostalgic
band of brothers were has the time gone moment?” “Yes Captain Proctor, we
needn’t bring up what happen in that valley, just the death of dreams and
by my account we are the last still standing.” As if the years themselves
fell away, he was looking into the eyes of Lt Morehouse and Staff Sargent
Anthony Delmonico. “It will not go well.” said the doctor. “Never does.”
replied the priest.”Where are the guns, Morehouse?”

MUNSI

Floating Through the Day

By Christopher Munroe

You shiver, then whimper, naked and drained.

You assure me you’ll only need a minute.

It takes more like an hour.

I’d like you to stay, but you need to be at work in the morning, so do I, and I totally respect your decision to sleep in your own bed.

You thieve my pajama pants and TShirt, swimming in their size, and I walk you to your car, kissing you as you climb in, watching you drive away.

On the way back, it’s my turn to shiver.

My weekend is drawing to a close.

Where has the time gone?

SERENDIPITY

It sits on your hard drive, waiting to strike, then – at the worst possible moment – it starts to suck up your precious time, slowing your system to a crawl.

It mocks your deadlines with rogue updates, unexpected restarts and inexplicable crashes, misinterprets keystrokes, drops connections and hides files… and always when time is of the essence.

It comes preinstalled with every computer – PC or Mac – and there’s no escape.

So next time you wonder, “Where has the time gone?” – try switching off, and maybe you’ll work it out.

ZACKMANN

“Honey, where is the thyme? I bought some from the guy at the farmers market with the Volkswagen 412 squareback and am looking for the empty jar to fill.” said Zack

“Don’t worry dear I’m sure you’ll find it. I am sure I saw it recently, have you checked the top shelf of the dishwasher. I meant to put away the dishes but I could not find the time.” replied Connie.

“We haven’t used much since our baby left for college.” remarked Zack

Connie teased “We both worked but tried to give our child all the thyme in the world.”

DANNY

The world is asking, where has all The Time gone? The negative news about the crisis in Crimea, the missing airplane in Malaysia, and Eddie Van Halen previously wanting to join Kiss as their guitarist because he was fed up with arguing with David Lee Roth, left All The Time so fed up with humanity it decided to stop and take a vacation in the Bahamas. Top physicists and world leaders now question exactly when All The Time will come back so we can resume destroying ourselves, and whether All The Time will be to hung-over to resume moving forward.

CHELSEA

There was a sucking hole in his life. He wasn’t sure when he’d first noticed it. He’d always felt it there on the edge of everything, eating away at each moment.

He tried to keep a hold of the things that were important, family, friends, his sanity, but little by little each moment was stolen, devoured by the sucking hole in his world.

But, where did the time go, where was it actually going?

Was there a physical place he could go to get it all back?

That’s when he built the machine, and no one ever saw him again.

SEICHER

They say your life flashes rapidly in front of your eyes when you know you are about to die some sudden death. Who are They and how do They know this? Wouldn’t the people who know be…dead? She returned to watching a particularly embarrassing moment from junior high, vivid in its detail, right down to replicating the pain in her gut from the long ago angst. That was a random, cruel life review. And, why hasn’t anyone ever remarked that these flashes can happen at other times? She continued her reflection and her blank stare at the Windows loading screen.

SPATE

Bottles and Needles

She knows where Time goes. She followed him after the betrayal. Across alleys with dark corners, down sewers and through tunnels; all the way she hung not far behind him.

He stopped in a dank cavern and sat upon a rock. She quietly moved closer to see his skinny nakedness was covered with tattoos that looked like blue green bruises against his pale gray skin. And then she saw the ground all around was littered with bottles and dirty needles.

Heroin. That’s how he was manipulating the seconds and minutes and hours and days. Bottled smack.

Time is a junkie.

CLIFF

“All right, Eddie. You were the last one to be seen with it. So where is it?”
“I don’t know, I tell you. I didn’t take it.”
“Don’t lie to me, Eddie!”
“I’m tellin’ ya, when I left, it was right there in the bottle.”
“And now that sealed bottle is just empty?”
“It musta leaked out or something.”
“I’m warning you…”
“You ain’t got nothing on me. I got rights.”
Detective Crookshanks rubbed his eyes. Eddie wasn’t going to crack. It looked like the lab report was right. Nobody stole the liquid time. It just slipped into the future.

NORVAL JOE

Dergle followed Widow Finklestien to a small cafe. Either, she didn’t notice him following behind herA, or, with his changed status in reality, she didn’t know him anymore.
She sat in a booth, leaning across the table, holding hands with a man a little older than she. Dergle sat in the next booth, his back to hers.
“Where has the time gone, Harold?” She asked.
“That’s my point, Beula. Time’s moving on. Are you going to marry me, or not?”
A long pause followed his question. When she finally spoke, Dergle heard happiness in your voice, “Yes, Harold. I will.”

PLANET Z

Every week, the TIME magazine moves from the mailbox to the table by the front door.

Then, it moves to the countertop in the bathroom.
(Or the bathroom floor, if a cat knocks it there.)

After a day or so in the bathroom, it lands in the stack of magazines next to my wife’s easy chair.

It will float between the bathroom countertop for a few days, and then end up in the basket next to the toilet if there’s anything interesting in there for further reading.

And then, the trash. Along with all the other old catalogs and magazines.

6 thoughts on “Weekly Challenge #412 – Where has the time gone?”

  1. The podcast was off to a strong start this week: Lizzie’s story was touching and something that almost everyone of a certain age can identify with. Many good ones, though.

    And Serendipity: I thought that was the Second Life client.

  2. Laurence – I really like the upcoming topics because they allow me to mull over ideas and, more importantly, they allow me to line up some stories while I’m out of town. After all, we’d both be sad if I missed a week. (Okay, I’d be sad.)

    Richard – I enjoyed “Time Lord.” I always suspected that guy with the long scarf had a day job. And Cliff – Nice Steve Miller Band reference. And Munsi – I really liked the story. They can’t *all* be dick jokes, right?

      1. I should always be more careful with language with a writer… [insert emoticon suggesting wry amusement, rather than righteous indignation, bewilderment, or any other choice of emotional state that cannot otherwise be conveyed in a blog comment]

  3. Enjoyed the twist in Planet Z and Zackmann’s stories – wish i’d come up with those!

    Although i thought having the future topics listed would be a great help, i only ever look at what’s coming up next… guess i’m just a plodder with these story things.

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