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

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 316 comments. Post your own now!

. said...
Jul. 29, 2011 at 7:45 am
Nice story!  Please check out mine, Sean Flynn, if you get the chance.  Thanks! 
ErisRose said...
Jul. 7, 2011 at 8:46 pm
I simply love this!! I love how it has all of the minutes, down the seconds too! so much like having OCD. I love the "red goop" leaves a lot to figure out. and the cliffhanger ending, you wonder what happens. did he kill his dog and his boss???
. said...
Jul. 7, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Wow, this really makes you take some time (1.4 minutes) to think about what you just wrote. Very good, I LOVED it! :)

[What happened to your dog and what was behind the shower curtain?'

Erin S. said...
Jul. 7, 2011 at 10:23 am
I agree completely.
Curly_Sue said...
Jul. 7, 2011 at 9:43 am
interesting take on something horrible. what's the knocking?
kagebrubak said...
Jun. 15, 2011 at 9:33 pm
The ending was well constructed, but the whole begining seemed as if it had no point to it.
HollerGirl26 replied...
Aug. 20, 2011 at 9:55 am
After a while of following the same old routine, your life may seem like it has no point to it. :)
kagebrubak replied...
Aug. 20, 2011 at 10:20 am
That's why I mix it up, everyday I look at the world in a new way. A different angle, to see what I might have missed the day before.
HollerGirl26 replied...
Aug. 21, 2011 at 5:40 pm
Happy to hear!
citylightsgirl93 said...
Jun. 15, 2011 at 5:33 pm
really interesting! write more
ChasingFantasy said...
Jun. 15, 2011 at 1:00 pm
That was very interesting....the way you wrote it made the effect go hand in hand with the the tone and mood of the whole story! It was very well done--keep writing!
qui133 said...
Jun. 15, 2011 at 11:52 am


sorry--the rest of the story was awesome. did the main character kill his boss? the red goop had to be blood...i'm sorry. i'm over analyzing. but i am just so happy to find ONE peice of writting that finaly uses the right spelling of 'til.'

indyauthor replied...
Jul. 7, 2011 at 1:49 pm
I thought that was the only way to spell 'til. But on autocorrect it spells it like 'till. Hmm..
qui133 replied...
Jul. 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm
no. trust me, it's 'til with one L. i know this because wasted an entier hour of my life reading a handout from one of my english classes that was all about 'the 10 most commen mistakes writers make' and there was an entier paragraph on ''til' that included examples of it's incorrect use from variouse best selling authors, including something from The davinchi Code.
alleykat15 replied...
Jul. 29, 2011 at 4:48 pm
** The da Vinci Code
qui133 replied...
Aug. 1, 2011 at 8:09 pm
hahaha  i stand corrected!  :)
BookFreak14 said...
May 31, 2011 at 12:23 pm
Interesting.... I really liked it.... keep writing... it was AWESOME!!!
AliceFurukawa said...
May 24, 2011 at 8:46 pm
This is awesome. I love the detail and precision of the necessity of time. How everything is timed straight down to the bare second. It's much like having O.C.D. I do wonder what all the red goop is as well as who is pounding at the door...dark and spooky. I like it! :)
Jesse T. said...
May 24, 2011 at 5:32 pm
Nice keep writing! =D
tikapeek97 said...
May 13, 2011 at 2:34 pm
really good, I liked it a lot. it was really cool. I think the ending could have been a little stronger, but the beggening was really good. You should check out my story Guilty at heart.
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