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!

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.
LeslieAnn replied...
Jan. 3, 2010 at 6:00 pm
I'm a willing reader
Francis This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 3, 2010 at 10:10 pm
willing reader here too. I'm on the second draft of a novel myself and always wanted to read other people's stuff
^unshed.tears replied...
Mar. 13, 2010 at 4:50 pm
yeah i'll read it :) and i have a couple novels i would like people to read :)
and this is a really good sttory :) keep it up
Riotwriter said...
Dec. 12, 2009 at 6:47 pm
for some reason I don't understand it.It's well written but the ending was weird because it didn't invovle "you" (the writer--I) it invovled us. If that makes sense.
aivilo replied...
Mar. 10, 2010 at 4:07 pm
Do you mean how the writer switched from first person to second?
Hisa-Ai said...
Dec. 12, 2009 at 6:44 pm
Very cool...
I love the way you wrote this.
Actually, it kinda reminds me of something Edgar Allen Poe wrote. "The Tell-Tale Heart" or something like that...
It's almost repetitive and the character seems obsessed with time and monotony. Again, I think it's very cool and very well written.
Keep writing!
Shipwreck said...
Dec. 12, 2009 at 1:32 pm
I thought that it was a very interesting piece. I love stories that have an ending that is up to reader to decide what it measn to them. Nice job.
Hannah K. said...
Dec. 12, 2009 at 11:15 am
This is very well written but since I'm not the best in math it made my head hurt with that stuff but the red goop thing... AWESOME! VERY detailed and that is something I enjoy of a good story. Thumbs up.
jmc.13 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 2, 2009 at 10:24 am
This is a grat piece. I love the ease at which you express time as if it is the main component of your day.
Great job!
ultrabookworm said...
Nov. 20, 2009 at 11:23 pm
Wow. That person must be pretty OCD. :) But this is a really good portrayal of it.
Sarah B. said...
Nov. 20, 2009 at 10:28 pm
whoa man that s alot of math im rlly proud of you fo rfiguring that ou tlol
ImperfectAngel said...
Nov. 20, 2009 at 9:19 pm
wow, amazing story I love the cliffhanger ending and the way you used the time for everthing this story is awsome plz finish it! this should soo get published :)
Kayla L. said...
Nov. 20, 2009 at 6:40 pm
wow i really like it yu should get dis published
Chickie said...
Nov. 20, 2009 at 10:18 am
I really liked this, it made me think a lot! But now I really want to know what happened- you should write more!
JustLoveLife said...
Nov. 5, 2009 at 4:44 pm
This was one of the most awesome stories I have ever read. WRITE MORE!
CatCave said...
Oct. 24, 2009 at 12:09 am
It made me think. Any story that makes me think long after I've read it is what i consider a superb story. I want so badly to know what happened to Donald and why work was canceled!
rain-rain111 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 26, 2009 at 3:45 pm
I want to know what was the red goop. Also how was at the door.lol.
rain-rain111 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 26, 2009 at 3:46 pm
Wait! nevermind i didn't mean I wanted to find out who's knocking I was just re-thinking over that part and sometimes when I think and write at the same time I wirte what i am thinking. lol.
BoOkThEif said...
Sept. 23, 2009 at 10:52 am
Wow this is very confusing but very well written good job :D
Matt-JT said...
Sept. 8, 2009 at 6:55 am
I believe that I may be able to shed some light. By the way, fantastic job, with the cool story. Please correct me if I am wrong but the red goop is most likely blood. It says that the protagonist does not use that one bathroom, maybe because he killed his dog? As for the knock at the door, my guess is the police.
I think that confusion among the readers is a good thing when used in correct amounts. It is clear that this is well written and a great piece of writing because it was featured... (more »)
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