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 319 comments. Post your own now!

Lilly04 said...
today at 4:30 pm
are you going to make another part?
AmaraDaoud said...
Oct. 11 at 12:41 pm
I love all the details you wrote in the story.
xX-Nicotin-Rose-xX said...
Apr. 18 at 9:35 am
Can you do a follow up story to this piece i just need to know more
LaurenKittyThis 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. said...
Dec. 29, 2016 at 10:34 am
The story definitely pulls you in the moment you start reading it. The way you described the time was probably the best part of the whole story.
maddie2112This 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. said...
Dec. 7, 2016 at 12:49 pm
The story has me hooked. It pulled me in and I love how descriptive it is.
elifseda said...
Oct. 24, 2016 at 9:56 am
I love the description and detail in this story, it really makes you want to continue reading. Great Job!
Backoff said...
Sept. 25, 2016 at 9:48 pm
wow, the description of time was interesting. Nice story here
Screen_name: said...
Sept. 2, 2016 at 3:54 pm
Nice story! You can definitely tell you spent good time on this.
BackroadDiaries said...
May 23, 2016 at 5:37 am
I can feel the panic in the narration, good job!
taymmarie said...
May 1, 2016 at 10:57 pm
This is absolutely incredible, and honestly, I'm kind of obsessed with it. I'll definitely be saving this one!
The_Edge said...
Jan. 12, 2016 at 7:17 pm
Brilliant! One of the best works I've ever read on TeenInk!
prettypuppy88 said...
Sept. 7, 2015 at 11:07 am
Oh. OH. Wow. Ok. That's awesome.
AlexKShorts said...
Aug. 17, 2015 at 12:15 am
I think this is a great piece, I'm still trying to figure out what the ending could mean/represent though!
NewtBeCute said...
Jun. 6, 2015 at 10:17 pm
Oh my gosh, this is amazing! I loved how you had the time down to the exact second, I could not get over that! I just love this!
TheEmcee55 said...
May 15, 2015 at 7:02 pm
This really could be the prologue to a novel... Great Job!!!
SkyTekile said...
May 15, 2015 at 11:20 am
This is really, really interesting. I love how this is written--it leaves so many possibilities, and the way you obscure what exactly is happening is really, really good. The reader creates a bond with the words--something only the greatest of writers can do. I'll save this one to my favourites, thank you. :)
gagetherealdiehl said...
Apr. 1, 2015 at 3:42 pm
I love the whole timing aspect!
Enigmaa said...
Nov. 20, 2014 at 10:52 am
theatregirl This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 28, 2014 at 10:54 pm
so supensful and creative. I hope there's an ending!!!! :)
DreamWeaver said...
Apr. 14, 2014 at 2:21 am
I really liked this piece. It was creative and thought provoking. If you have the time, I would greatly appreciate you reading and commenting on my latest submission. Thoughts and constructive criticism would be invaluable to me. Great work(:  TeenInk.com/fiction/all/article/644215/The-Word-Keeper/
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