Day 114: The Wrong Time

Dennis had it all planned out. He had been working as a junior associate for two years exactly, had never taken a sick day, always stayed late, and got in good with his boss’s boss, Leroy Donaldson. Leroy loved tennis. Dennis said they called him Tennis Dennis because Dennis loved tennis so much. Dennis had never played tennis.

That was fine. He was going to lose, and Leroy would have power over him inside and outside of work. That was when Dennis would ask to become an associate. None of this junior bullshit. He was twenty-three. He wasn’t a junior anything. And Leroy would give Dennis the job, because Dennis is a tennis-loving, hard-working guy who will always be a lesser man than Leroy, but still a better man than Jackson, the current associate whom Dennis was junior to.

Two years later, he’d be after Leroy’s job, of course.

Tennis was at ten AM. Dennis went to bed at ten PM the night before so he would get plenty of rest, and he did.

When he woke up, it was 10:12 AM.

He thought his heart had stopped. It couldn’t be right. It couldn’t. It must be 10:12 PM and he only slept for 12 hours. Except the sun was filling his bedroom, and the clock clearly said AM.

Hurling the blankets into the air, Dennis was on his feet and rushing for his plugged-in phone. No messages–yet. Except… the phone said it was 9:55. Was the alarm wrong? Or the phone? Either way, he was close. If he threw on his shorts and shoes and rushed over–he was going to get sweaty anyway–

Still stepping into his new tennis shorts and ripping off the tag, he saw the clock on the wall. It said 11:02. This made him pause, though every piece of him wanted to run as fast as he could to his car. He looked at the time on the stove. It said: 1:37. No AM or PM on the stove.

He turned back and dug into a drawer for his work watch. It seemed to believe it was 6:40.

So he googled, “What time is it” and his time zone. Google told him it was 9:59. His heart skipped. But then the time changed to 11. Not 10. 11.

Suddenly Dennis realized he had never known what time it was. In fact, time as a recorded concept was something he just trusted others to give to him. If his clocks said it was five, it was five. If the number on TV said six, it was six. Of course, the Internet was the most accurate.

Except no. It was all an illusion. A societal sleight-of-hand to keep people working when they were supposed to. Oh yes. The watches knew and the clocks knew and the TV and the Internet knew. They–they, them–they were in control, not Dennis, not Leroy, not fucking Jackson.

But they messed up. They revealed their hand. And now Dennis was going to go for their jobs. The only jobs worth having. Everyone was a junior in comparison.

And Dennis wouldn’t be a junior anything.



Today’s three prompt categories were, “Tennis,” “All the clocks are wrong,” and, “Prestidigitation.”

Pee arr ee ess tee eye dee eye gee eye tee ay tee eye-oh-en. Prestidigitation.

Also, I had a nightmare almost exactly like this two nights ago. I had an interview in the morning I didn’t want to be late for, so of course I dreamt that every clock told me I was late, but all at different times. Kafkaesque, no?

– H.


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