TIME'S RUSHING PAST...PART ONE
Granny Bones looked at the clock and sighed.
It was more than a suspicion. It had become a certainty. Time was racing past at an unparalleled speed. What might have been called quite a long time when she'd been dressed in her school skirt and white/grey blouse was now mere moments. Everything to do with time, the clocks, the television programmes, the way her own heart beat, were rocketing along at an unprecedented speed, and she hated it. “Life,” she thought, “is too short for this nonsense.”
She glanced at her watch and it had stopped, which cheered her up. Then the big clock in her hallway chimed an hour she'd forgotten existed, and she shuddered.
“This isn't good enough,” she muttered to herself. “What I need is something to slow the stuff down or, if |I'm clever enough, stop it altogether!”
She mooched about the house, going from one room into another, and scowled at every clock she saw (which was quite a few, she being Granny Bones and generally acquisitive all her longish life)
“I could take the batteries out or forget to wind them up,” she muttered, then shook her head. “That wouldn't do! I couldn't stop every clock in the land! What I need is a much more radical solution than stopping a few clocks in my own house!”
She switched the television on, still feeling like scowling. There wasn't much on, which, to her mind, was par for the course. But one programme did draw itself to her and sprawl all over her mind.
It was a science programme, and she loved those. And it was, spookily enough, about atomic clocks and how accurate they were, and it mentioned one clock in particular that was so accurate the even if she went away and came back in a thousand years it would still be bang-on accurate. It was a stupendous piece of technological wizardry. There never had been a clock like it, not even in the olden days when they trusted in the miracle of sundials and the magnificence of the sun itself told the story (until a cloud came along, that is). No this magnificent clock was, beyond all other clocks, so accurate you could travel across the Universe in a spaceship and be gone for generations and when your children's children's children came back home (you'd be long dead, of course) that clock would still be exactly right, to the second. And what's more, all important clocks on all the world were adjusted to be exactly right according to that magnificent timepiece
“That's the clock to stop!” she grinned to herself. “Stop that and you've got the whole of time in the palm of your hand!” And she stood up and did a little jig because there was a commercial break.
And spookily enough that commercial break contained an item that she found equally interesting.
It was really quite late at night and all the advertisements for toothpaste and washing powder were being given a rest and other items dominated the break.
There was an advertisement for Annie Winters, a chain of shops that sold things she didn't understand, things to do with batteries and the joys of something she thought must be related to organisms. There was a manufacturer of balloons that, apparently, had something to do with not having babies (though how she couldn't quite see: she'd only had the one baby and had made no effort whatsoever to prevent it). But the advertisement attracted her attention like no advertisement had before. “Buy me and stop one”, suggested the apparently conversational balloon, and she was determined, there and then, to buy one and stop that blasted clock. Then all the other clocks regulated by it would stop too, and the last few nanoseconds of her life could be stretched out indefinitely. She didn't know what a nanosecond was, but it sounded the right word to use in the context of slowing down the way time was zooming along.
Next day she caught a bus into town and visited the local branch of the Annie Winters shop. She'd never found it necessary to go there before, but had the distinct impression that they'd sell the kind of balloons that stop clocks.
There was a plastic woman in the doorway, put there, no doubt, to greet her, and it was wearing practically nothing,and what it did have on was all netting and holes where holes should never be.
“Wear something like that and you'd catch your death of a cold,” she grunted to herself, and marched up to the counter where a young simpering woman with a vast amount of make-up daubed on her acne smiled until the whole confection cracked.
“I need to buy one to stop one,” she said, brightly, and the cracked smile broadened until a lump of orangey brown concrete fell from the young woman's cheek.
“Oh, condoms!” said the cracked woman, brightly. “We've got raspberry flavour for the more discerning senior lady to enjoy...”
“Don't be so bloody daft!” snapped Granny Bones. “Just give me a plain one, strong enough to stop clocks!”
“Ribbed would be nice, if senses are becoming jaded,” decided she of the descending face. And she handed Granny Bones a small packet and demanded an inordinate amount of money in return.
“How much!”seethed Granny Bones, but she handed the money over anyway.
As soon as she had her purchase tucked away she hastened out of the shop and straight into the path of her son Danny with his two lovely children, Isiah and Stella, who were skirting it outside, making for more innocent mercantile establishments.
“You been in there, mum?” asked Danny, shocked.
“Just need to change time,” flustered Granny Bones.
“You know what kind of shop it is, mum,” he ventured.
“Of course I do!” she responded. “It's a buy one and stop one shop, and I'm going to stop the biggest of them all!”
...TO BE CONTINUED
© Peter Rogerson 14.02.13
Recently I wrote a little story in which I created Granny Bones, and someone commented that she'd like to know more about the old woman, and that suggestion inspired my kitchen sink saga, and others. Recent episodes are