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!

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.'

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.
smilemaddysmile said...
May 2, 2011 at 8:10 pm
great job! the eeriness/suspense was... unnervingly precise. i mean it in a good way when i say i was thoroughly creeped out, haha!
evergreen232 replied...
May 18, 2011 at 6:16 pm
i totally agree!!!! now im sitting in my dark basement...kinda freaked out haha!
Mojo4133 replied...
May 20, 2011 at 1:49 pm
Agreed. This was an awsome story. Creeped me out.
rachelnicole1257 said...
May 2, 2011 at 6:11 pm
I was intrigued by the first half of the story, but I didn't care much for the ending. It could have been a little stronger. I think you have a lot of potential as a writer though. Keep writing! :)
Cerberus said...
May 2, 2011 at 4:05 pm
personally i would have closed the ending a little more but thts just my style. But i still liked :) it was very...consumeing
wildewriter16 said...
May 2, 2011 at 8:58 am
This was a great story! I loved the cliffhanger at the end. Fantastic job, I hope you keep writing!
ArcaneGhost said...
Apr. 10, 2011 at 8:46 pm
Extremely intriguing. Is this a disorder or an awareness that people really have? I can see how one would be distraught when there is a deviation from the normal routine.
RadiahThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 10, 2011 at 7:58 am
man, i hate the red goop part. it really pictured in my mind and im afraid of blood~~ good story but pretty weird ending...
cheerluv said...
Mar. 19, 2011 at 7:18 pm
You know what's so weird is that I count every minute too, but not down the the ".5"'s and such. Seriously, I can't even pour water into a water bottle for school that day if I might be late, because that one minute of whatever could take up too much time. With me, rushing on a school day, every minute counts.
Gettysburg63 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 19, 2011 at 6:58 pm
Cool I'm like a 30 minute drive from Kewaskum. Too bas the race track closed there.
live2dance said...
Mar. 19, 2011 at 6:23 pm
o gos dat was rele rele good ..wait wat wsas the red goop???
JelloAngel92 said...
Mar. 19, 2011 at 11:55 am
Incredible!I would love to know what happens next.
Tbug1997 said...
Feb. 26, 2011 at 6:23 pm
this is an awesome story i want to read more of this great job
Karamel This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 25, 2011 at 10:18 pm
This has got to be the creepiest thing I have ever read on TeenInk. Kudos. But also kudos in a sarcastic way, as in, 'congratulations, I'm probably not going to fall asleep tonight.' But seriously, good work. ;)
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