A good time…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s carefully selected colours are: violin violet, rumba red, gross green, despicable damson, ghastly gold, and Utah yellow.

A cardboard tube with a splash of US stamps and an unnecessary number of airmail stickers arrived in the post this morning. Why she didn’t send it flat in an envelope I don’t know – perhaps she had run out of envelopes and only had an old bit of cardboard tube to hand, so she rolled the pages up and pushed them into it. She, being Veronica Crush, writer from the glory days of the Hull Surrealist League, now living in New York with tall tree surgeon and heir to a multimillion dollar fortune, Monty Tick. Yes, this was another of her hand written ‘stories’ on lined paper for me to share with the world on these poor pages of mine:

Tommy Tempo’s favourite bit of Hamlet is the one where somebody says that ‘time is out of joint’; was that the loopy prince himself? Tommy couldn’t recall…
For Tommy time had never been quite right; when someone asked him, ‘Excuse me sir, but have you got the right time?’ Tommy would flush and mumble that he definitely hadn’t, and that time had never been ‘right’ for him. Tommy had always been temporally uneasy.
Tommy’s friend Geraldo Cheese, the local greengrocer, knew of his problem, and as Tommy walked past his shop every morning Geraldo, just out of devilment, would shout out, paraphrasing Dickens, ‘It was the best of thyme, it was the worst of thyme…’ and would hold up a little packet, a quantum of thyme, and would playfully waggle it at Tommy, grinning as he waggled.
Tommy had long ago noticed that this thing, this time (as we call it), was mean to him, it was mean time – it was, as Geraldo would sometimes say, ‘absolutely Greenwich!’ Tommy realised that time wasn’t at all smooth, but jerky in nature; he reckoned that occasionally there must be something, something like cosmic fluff, being caught between the seconds making their passing annoyingly irregular – some days would slither by like hot wet spaghetti and others would start and stop and snag and be more like a soft-soled slipper on a thick tufted rug.
Geraldo had a few tufted rugs in his flat above the shop. Tommy admired them when he occasionally visited Geraldo for soup and silence. Tommy couldn’t work out why some days, or even hours, or even minutes, seemed so skittish and so reluctant to pass at a reliable rate.
On one of his visits to the flat Geraldo suddenly sliced into the quiet, pointed to the clock on the sideboard and said, with a mischievous grin, ‘Just look at that sweep second hand Tommy…’
Tommy looked up and stared at the moving hand. He observed the way it wound its way across the little gormless cream coloured clocky face; he tried to detect any difference between the length of its silently twitching intervals – he could not. He knew that there must be some difference – the slowing effect of the uphill climb of the hand between the 7 and the 11, and the falling down aided by gravity between the 1 and the 5. Tommy shook his head and blew silently over his soup with some puzzlement in his eyes. Geraldo shrugged and picked up his spoon. This moment stayed with Tommy for three days.
On the fourth day he went out and bought two identical quartz wall clocks – they were quite superior to Garaldo’s sideboard one. His plan was to check them against each other – after all, quartz clock are accurate to nothing in a zillion years – it is well-known. He hung them in his kitchen several feet apart to counteract the effect of gravity waves, and set them going. Click, click, click, in unison they went, and for the first time in a long time he sat down and felt calm. He looked up at those friendly pale faces, and he felt in control, click, click, click, his cheery new friends went…
A couple of days later Geraldo popped round with a bunch of thyme on his hands to have a bowl of Tommy’s soup. They sat not in silence, but listening to the new clocks doing their business, timepieces marking out pieces of time. After a while Geraldo suddenly pointed at one of the clocks, it was the one by the window…
Tommy, shaken from his sense of temporal equilibrium, hadn’t noticed, but now that Geraldo had pointed it out, he realised that clock-by-the-window had altered the sound bouncing around the room – it was no longer going click, click, click, but click-tick, click-tick, click-tick… Tommy couldn’t finish his soup that day…
He was tempted to throw one or both of the clocks out, but for some reason he didn’t – he perhaps sensed that something positive could be retrieved from this disaster. He soon realised that his temporal anxiety subsided a little when the clocks were in harmony and went click, click, click – and then when they deteriorated back to click-tick, click-tick, click-tick… well, it was life as usual…
This was a step forward though. He grew to love the two clocks. He could now predict having a ‘good time’ – it wasn’t very often, but it was something…
Geraldo only invited Tommy round to the flat for soup when he knew that Tommy’s clocks were in phase – and before he arrived he always slipped his sideboard clock into a drawer.

Veronica Crush. 2017.

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
This entry was posted in brain, colours, drama, dreaming, humour, physics, science, surrealism, words, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A good time…

  1. Dana Doran says:

    And it all happened within a ripple of space-time? Veronica is very good…..the roll? Perhaps it’s a preventative measure…..you wouldn’t want to crease thyme?

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