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

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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 301 comments. Post your own!

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 »)
 
Matt-JT replied...
Nov. 21, 2009 at 3:55 am :
Even if you were not kidding, how is that ruining it? if you just skip to the comments first then there is something wrong, and im sure that we all imagined the "red goopy stuff" as blood. Look my screen in the eye and say no.
 
flute_bandie1493 replied...
Nov. 24, 2009 at 8:58 am :
i was speaking for everyone else. you gotta let the scary mystery go on. not ruin it by posting a comment that says what it actually means. and i dont go straight to the comments unless its one of my own pieces of work
 
Matt-JT replied...
Nov. 24, 2009 at 3:59 pm :
so neither would anyone else... and i think most would like some closure to their confusion... if not they are not forced to read the comments
 
flute_bandie1493 replied...
Nov. 30, 2009 at 8:13 am :
but people do read the comments to see what everyone else thought of the work. you have to understand where i'm coming from
 
Ariesangel replied...
Jan. 3, 2010 at 6:21 pm :
will u 2 stop fighting!! Matt-JT, thats exactly what I thought happened! Katie S., awesome story! What really DID happen?
 
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mj357 said...
Jun. 30, 2009 at 8:48 pm:
it took me a while but i get it nice piece of writing
 
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SqUeAkEr said...
Feb. 4, 2009 at 4:05 pm:
This story makes no sence. I don't get it the hole time thing scares me. Thats the only thing i dont get is why so much with the time?
 
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a.c.m.a said...
Jan. 28, 2009 at 10:22 pm:
is she perinoide
 
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missbrittanyy said...
Jan. 29, 2009 at 2:32 am:
Well-written and creative. I incredibly enjoy the fact that not many people really understand the piece.
 
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cleo12 said...
Jan. 28, 2009 at 9:04 pm:
This is well written, but I don't like it, the blood thing is kind of scary, especially since it doesn't make any since...
 
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ob said...
Jan. 28, 2009 at 4:07 pm:
what happened?????? i dont get it! what was with the time stuff?
 
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it'salwaysraininginohio said...
Jan. 28, 2009 at 1:43 pm:
i think this is a very interesting idea, with life measure into separate chunks, but your writing style seems a bit immature to me, and it didn't draw me in. i carefully read the first half of this piece and then skimmed the rest because the style of your writing is sort of choppy and unpolished. the ideas are definitely there, though, so keep writing!
 
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YoungAuthor said...
Jan. 22, 2009 at 12:20 am:
I felt that you gave the mundane routine of life another irritating twist by contemplating the time schedule so closely. (That's a good thing; it meant you got your point across.) However, the story seems a bit unfocused and coufusing towards the end, which is why your readers are asking about the "red goop". Though I'm not interested in the writing style or piece, I believe you did a good job. Keep writing! It's the only practice for a writer.
 
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plagarisedk thanks said...
Jan. 21, 2009 at 10:04 pm:
your writing is very good but i can tell you copied this idea from "the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time" by Mark Haddon, the whole emphasis on the numbers, and the dog -- hinting that your main character is autistic...

anways you are talented so keep writing, just try and come up with your own ideas next time! :)
 
Hannah523 replied...
Nov. 20, 2009 at 12:52 pm :
I agree, it really reminded me of that book as soon as I started to read it.
However, I like the style of writing. Nice work.
 
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tweedle dee said...
Jan. 21, 2009 at 1:29 pm:
wow, this was strange. very creative, i liked it alot.
 
Andrnick replied...
Dec. 12, 2009 at 1:10 pm :
This writing overall is rated as a 1 star because there are some grammar mistakes and a bad plot because you just read on and on about someone's job.
This deserves to get a 1 star from me, personally.
 
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Maris said...
Jan. 14, 2009 at 5:03 pm:
What happens?? I am so confused!!! Is the dog dead? Is that what all the red goop is?? Please explain!!
 
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farmgirl55 said...
Jan. 4, 2009 at 1:09 am:
Okay, this had a weird ending. What happened? Who was at the door? What was the red goop all over the walls?
 
Joel C. replied...
Oct. 25, 2012 at 4:49 pm :
the red goop is the blood from cuting himself(on acident) with the shaver
 
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