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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JoshuaChen said...
Jul. 15, 2012 at 6:27 pm
Not bad. A few suggestions: 1) You might want to divide the first sentence of the third paragraph("Spending 9.34 hours working, driving...") into two sentences to make it more coherent. It's not too big a deal, as far as run-ons go, but it might help anyway. 2) I personally wouldn't describe the blood as "goop." Goop reminds of thick and bubbly. In my experience blood flows rather easily. Maybe "red ink?" All in all, it was an enjoyable piece. And I love reading about characters with OCD or sch... (more »)
JoshuaChen replied...
Jul. 15, 2012 at 6:32 pm
Also, you might not want to be soooo precise with hour numbers. To count 9.34 minutes would literally force you to divide into milliseconds which is a tad (and some) unrealistic. Publishers in a more manstream magazine probably wouldn't like that.
KenKenForeverz replied...
Sept. 19, 2012 at 5:11 pm
She said 9.34 hours. It makes sense just because all the minutes are down to the tenth but an hour being bigger needs to be a little bit more percise.
Black_Rose_Princess said...
Jun. 14, 2012 at 9:08 pm
I feel like looking over my shoulder. The ending was amazing! It left so much unanswered, but in a good way. You left it all up for the reader! Nice.
tammysaurus101 said...
Jun. 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm
"Men talk of killing time, while time quietly kills them." - Dion Boucicault 
BlindlyLaughing said...
Jun. 1, 2012 at 8:52 pm
ohhh man the way you ended it off made me soo paranoid, awesome work, this theme of time reminds me of the movie stranger than fiction, check it out :)
irishlass317 said...
May 10, 2012 at 8:20 pm
OMIGOSH!!!!! This is so amazing, you are a truly gifted writer!! I love this short story! Please, please, please write more!!
Lindsey31 said...
Apr. 18, 2012 at 3:20 pm
I think you are an incredibly gifted writer. I can relate to this piece, which adds on to my admiration of you. If you have a couple spare minutes, it'd be awesome if you could take some time (haha) and just sift through my articles. My favorites are "Beauty Isn't Skin Deep" and "Keep Smiling," but that's just me.
Isaac99 said...
Mar. 27, 2012 at 2:23 pm
I really like how every thing is exactly timed instead of two and a half minutes it's 2.45 minutes i think that really add realism. I also like that at the end it (atleast for me) it makes you read faster and faster then BAM! the story ends. I also like how it makes you paranoid and connects with the audience
J1029 replied...
Jun. 1, 2012 at 6:44 pm
yeah that happened to me to! I kept reading faster and faster!
emmpps16 said...
Mar. 16, 2012 at 11:02 am
wow.. thatw as intense. good:)
james14 said...
Mar. 5, 2012 at 2:17 pm
very nice!!!!! i really enjoyed this!!!!!!!!!!
Trixy14 said...
Feb. 29, 2012 at 12:39 pm
Your use of diction and syntax makes your message come across more clearly. You have a unique writing style.
Dolly9471 said...
Feb. 12, 2012 at 4:08 pm
Very interesting story. The use of math/time makes it a unique story. I enjoyed it!!!
aem312 said...
Feb. 12, 2012 at 11:54 am
This is very suspenseful. I loved the use of time. It's great :)
TarryMunster said...
Feb. 12, 2012 at 1:16 am
Amazing! It really feels like you're in the character's place.
Kaffeine said...
Feb. 5, 2012 at 5:00 pm
I really felt like I was getting into the skin of this character. Great writing!
Chloers said...
Jan. 29, 2012 at 9:51 am
wow! This is amazing! Leaves me wanting more! thats great :)
Bookworm1997 said...
Jan. 21, 2012 at 4:35 pm
This is really good and suspenseful. I want to know what happens!
FrenchHippie said...
Dec. 31, 2011 at 4:52 pm
Okay, that is so awesome! I love mysteries/thrillers so much and it takes talent to do it just right and you totally nailed it. And I think that the concept of time controlling our lives has real truth in it too. Keep up the good work
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