Time This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

November 7, 2007
Every morning I wake up to the normal sun shooting through the left window, blinding me as I try to open my eyes. My dog, Donald, barks up a storm. He insists that every morning at exactly 7:04, he has to go outside. It really is starting to push my buttons. Can’t that damn dog just take a rest?

After I go outside for exactly 2.5 minutes, I realize I have to deal with my boss in exactly 48.6 minutes. I sit and moan for two minutes. Any more I would be late and any less I would be early: it has to be exactly two minutes. Afterward, I do my normal six-minute shower, three-minute shave, two-minute brush of my teeth – just like the dentist told me – and five minutes to figure out what I am going to wear ­today. That leaves me 4.5 minutes to sit and read The New York Times and moan about having to drive 20 minutes to a job that I can’t stand. Once I arrive, it takes 2.1 minutes to hear the lame story about what Ron, the guy two cubicles down, did last night and four minutes ’til I get to hear my boss complain that I never do anything right.

Spending 9.34 hours at my job, driving 26 minutes home (I hate traffic), taking two minutes to take Donald out and only getting 24.7 minutes to myself before lying down in my hard, cold bed and not falling asleep for another 12.5 minutes can really drive someone crazy. At least that is what my therapist tells me. But in fact it does not make you crazy; it makes everyone else crazy for not wanting to know how much time they actually have.

The thing that will make you crazy is if something goes wrong. Something that has been happening the same way for exactly 12.56 years. When that one thing goes wrong, all hell breaks loose. For instance, if you wake 45.8 minutes late because there is no damn dog barking for you to take him out. Which causes you to be late to work, because you have a 20-minute drive and only 2.4 minutes to get there. Then you ­decide in exactly 24 seconds that you have to call in to work saying you came down with something. But after the phone rings for eight seconds, the secretary tells you that something bad has happened and there will be no work today. You wonder for only one minute what could have happened, but then go and take a shower.

The shower is much longer than the normal six minutes. It takes two more minutes to wonder what is the red goop dripping from your body. Then it takes you two more minutes to realize that you probably just cut yourself shaving.

After 45.8 minutes of watching TV, you wonder where Donald is and what really happened today to call off work. You ponder this for 12 minutes, scratching your chin, noticing the red goop is also under your nails. You find that disgusting, so you walk steps, which takes you three seconds, to go wash your hands, for two minutes, in the bathroom that you never use. You look around for four minutes, noticing there is also red goop all over the walls. You quickly – so fast you can’t count the time – open the shower curtain.

In about seven minutes you realize you have to clean up. But suddenly there is a knock on the front door lasting for about four seconds. But you have to ignore it, you don’t have time, you have to clean up in six minutes. But wait, six minutes is too long. You need 4.5 minutes, but that’s too short. The knocking is getting louder and faster, every three seconds, it just won’t stop. You can’t stop either; you have to clean up, but the knocking ….

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 322 comments. Post your own now!

BaiLiHua This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 27, 2010 at 4:43 pm
This is fascinating and a really well-written piece.
weirdonpurpose said...
Jan. 25, 2010 at 11:15 pm
woah talk about OCD!! awesome job!!!
Lovestonedloser said...
Jan. 25, 2010 at 5:38 pm
this is really amazing!
mads942 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 25, 2010 at 5:06 pm
This is really interesting and kind of creepy! I can't figure out if he killed the dog or the boss, or both. I assume the "red goop" is blood.
LittleMissWhimsical This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 25, 2010 at 3:49 pm
Wow, you write so well, very intriguing! I really wanna read the rest now! Love the dot dot dot effect though, keeps your readers inclined. Well, goodbye = ]
Annika said...
Jan. 25, 2010 at 12:26 pm
What's the red goop??? What happens next??? PLEASE TELL ME!!!!
lily1411 said...
Jan. 25, 2010 at 9:08 am
I love how everything makes sense and is so well put together! especially since its all about time!:D i've found that is sometimes hard to keep track of
Mickie<3 said...
Jan. 8, 2010 at 3:09 pm
Well written!!! But what happens next?!!!?!?!?
You should make a sequel or a continued version!
myworld10 replied...
May 18, 2010 at 2:35 pm

naah!!! you should keep the ending just like it is. besides, i like the ending: it leaves you hanging...makes the story more interesting.

plus, it can be a fun way to create your own ending to this story. anyone have any ideas for the ending? i want to see your ideas please.

yumichris said...
Jan. 8, 2010 at 1:37 pm
it was so good! but I'm so lost??? i want more! i read the last sentence and was hanging off my seat...
Backwoods_Princess said...
Jan. 4, 2010 at 4:50 pm
It does remind me of "The Tell-Tale heart" very dark and mysterious. It's very similar to Edgar Allen Poe's work. I have never really understood his work even though it keeps you thinking. Nice work thought.
MissFaber replied...
Feb. 4, 2010 at 2:05 pm
Yes, it does share the narrtor's obsession with time in "The Tell Tale Heart", although he's even more obsessed with killing "the old man with the vulture eye". That's another thing these two pieces share.
great job :)
aivilo replied...
Mar. 10, 2010 at 4:06 pm
The knocking at the end is also like "The Tell-Tale Heart".
^unshed.tears replied...
Mar. 13, 2010 at 4:53 pm
now that i think of it, yeah, its like "The Tell-Tale Heart." this really good :)
K123 said...
Jan. 4, 2010 at 4:05 pm
Hey, I am the writer of this and I have never seen Stranger than Fiction and thanks for all the good ratings
peg8711 said...
Jan. 3, 2010 at 9:31 pm
Oh I get it, did he murder everyone from his job? Because he was going insane?
k.z232423 said...
Jan. 3, 2010 at 2:42 pm
Clearly someone is a fan of Stranger than Fiction
toxic.monkey said...
Jan. 3, 2010 at 9:19 am
feels slow at the beginning and fast at the end, like it's accelerating- i find that really good... are you writing more on this?? i'm extremely curious about the red goop :P
AshlanB said...
Jan. 3, 2010 at 12:16 am
Very good. :) I really liked this.
WriterA.M. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 17, 2009 at 3:18 pm
My novel needs readers. Anybody interested? It's part drama, thriller, action, and social commentary on our corrupt teen world. It takes place in the near future.
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