Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Theme Thursday: Clock

The humming of cold florescent lights provided the background music to the tempo of boxes finding shelves. Oblivious, the stock boy, iPod in his ears, wore a path into the warehouse from the trailer. Turning to look across a sea of brown cardboard at the large oppressive clock, just enough time. Pushing through the gap between trailer and bay, he dropped to the parking lot. A faint glow broke the drab morning grayness as he lit his cigarette. Eyes involuntarily pinched as the sun poked its head above the horizon. Inhale, hard exhale. Boss would be here soon, he absently flicked the dregs of his vice onto the damp ground. A barely audible hiss and thin tendril of smoke, foot steps receded.

ticktockticktocktick...

Pouring himself into a chair too small for his girth, the man thumbed the power switch on his computer. Time waits for no man, especially management. Reports to be done before the district woke. The stock boy better not be smoking out back again, a passing thought. The massage of his temples with thick fingers interrupted when he spied the lonely time card in its metal sheath above the time clock. She better not be late again. This would be the last time. If she wasn't going to take this seriously she could go else where.

ticktockticktock...

Flat shoes sucked to the smoldering asphalt, making their way to the store. Cold red numbers on the digital clock had condemned her before she ever left. Late, a feeble mental chuckle. For one she would be fired, for the other, unknown. The EPT stick sat smugly on the precipice of the sink for her boyfriend to find. Dizzying thoughts brought another bought of nausea as she entered the cool confines of destiny.

ticktocktick...

"How long does it take to run a few items over a scanner?", thoughts leaked through her crimson lipstick. The housekeepers vacation subjecting her to this prattle. The gilded bauble painted on her wrist marked the disappearing time until her tennis appointment. Rolling eyes, flashing platinum plastic, "Can you be any slower?" Snatching bags, her heels clicked on polish floors through swishing doors to her waiting Lexus

ticktock...

Gasp...city...dispose...refuse... Distant loud voice. Firmament caked eyes cracked capturing dark silhouettes in the burning brightness of the sun. Peeling his face from the gum encrusted concrete, leaving flecks embedded. Dirty fingers picked at his cheeks, probing gaps through flesh where teeth once resided. Shadows became a fleeing oppressor retreating to her fancy golden car. Time? No bother for a watch, every day the same. Only important in making the line for the shelter he had missed last night. Escaping from his chrysalis of bags, he ambled behind the building in search of butts left by the stock boy.

tick...

Each life a clock ticking toward its final moments. Unable to wrestle the hands backward, or wind it beyond its time. Each moment a choice made, never regained. Many of us push the hands forward, ever faster, toward looming events. Monuments marking the passage of life. Minute hands begin to sweep like seconds. Today becomes tomorrow, until we find ourselves wondering where did all the time go?

41 comments:

Brian Miller said...

backstory: based on actual personalities and events during my brief foray into retail back in high school

tony said...

We Spend Far Too Much "Time" Pushing & Pulling Hour Hands .Brian........Have you ever heard This song? Reading Your Post Reminded me of it.

Brian Miller said...

@tony - nice song tony. can see that. have a great evening man!

Baino said...

This made me really sad. Yesterday was the 20th Anniversary of Tiennamin Square and I don't know where the time went. I'm sitting next to a beautiful 24 year old building her own business and it seams a heartbeat since she was a curly haird toddler and watching a burly 22 year old cut paving stones when it seems a whisper away that he was blowing raspberries whilst riding a tricycle - and me? I can't wait for certain times to pass.

willow said...

What are we all rushing to? Thought provoking post, Brian.

My favorite line was "Flat shoes sucked to the smoldering asphalt..."

Daniel said...

Brian, see you on Sunday. Can't wait to talk, ..., err, no. A moment came and passed. Seems like yesterday, seems like forever ago. The ticking clock gets louder and louder. No rest for it, but rest for us all much sooner than we would like to think possible. Good night my friend.

Kris said...

I like that one. Anything with people to fat for chairs I like.

subtorp77 said...

Time doth wait for no-one, 'tis true. But would one really want to rewind it? And somehow, I just had a feeling that was you as the stock-boy. Most excellent post, Brian!

Ronda Laveen said...

I could feel your background experience come into play here. Enjoyed how you connected character-to-character. Now, quit smokin' and get your a** back to work!

The Silver Fox said...

"Oblivious, the stock boy"... Wasn't that a character from Shakespeare? (Sorry.)

Seriously, nicely done. I loved the "chrysalis of bags" line!

Marianna said...

I loved the words in the last paragraph Brian! So true...thank you on a another great post!

xoxo

High Desert Diva said...

I haven't been reading many blogs lately, I'd forgotten how enjoyable yours is....

Mrsupole said...

You have such a connection thing going. You just connect things in such a special way. I too thought you were the stockboy, but I do hope and I thought you had quit smoking. This was a great story about everyone.

If we could go back to do a redo of our lives, would we do things different. Probably. I would buy stock in Nike and Microsoft. Actually I would possibly not do over half the things I have done. That is a sad statement, but it is true. We do not realize that what we do in every moment affects every moment afterwards and it can also affect someone else's life. I try to be careful for the things I do and say, now that I have learned this.

Yes, we are all connected.

God bless.

Brian Miller said...

@baino - they grow up quick. sorry to make you sad. T said it felt a little heavy. we all have our burdens to carry and sometimes those around us never know. hope you have a great day!

@willow - i think we sometimes have a thought of what we are rushing to, but wonder if it ever really is what we thought it would be?

@daniel - miss seeing you on Sunday evenings as well. fun times lugging equipment in and out of the church.

@kris - lol

@subtorp - i wonder would rewinding do any good. sure there are things we hoped would be different but would that not change the outcome. who knows where we would be. I was a stockboy. the one portrayed in the story was a friend. we used to watch the sun come up taking a break from unloading boxes.

@ronda - we are all connected in some way, no? i probably should get back to work. for the reccord, don't smoke. tried it oncce and about threw up.

@silver - ty. shakespeare....hmmm....

@marianna - ty. hope you have a great day!

@hdd - thanks for stopping by and ty. see you around.

Boubou said...

bonjour !
First time i come across your blog so im gonna visit it now :)
well if you wanna be inspired by my collages , or just dream, come and visit my blog :)
a bientot !
Boubouteatime xx

ps : sorry for my poor english !

Brian Miller said...

@mrsu - too true your statements. don't know that i would change much. if i did it would be for the wrong reasons and would change the reality i live in today. would not trade that for anything. each contact, each moment is an opportunity that we must take care of.

was a stock boy, but never smoked. makes me sick.

Poetikat said...

Deep. I loved the "thoughts leaked through her crimson lipstick".
By that small detail I could just see HER and her mouth.

Kat

California Girl said...

Vivid writing, Brian. Made me think back to all the jobs I had and loathed while watching the clock. As Judy Collins once sang, "Who Knows Where the Time Goes?".

reyjr said...

tick tock.

i wonder who made the sounds of the clock "tick tock" instead of "click clock" ...the latter would prove much more practical. lol!

great post as always!

Bernd said...

A digital clock is the inspiration for http://www.timeassociation.net/ which allows you to to share associations with the numbers on the clock.

Debo Hobo said...

Wow this one took my breath away. Time is all we really have. A begging and an end what we do with the in between only time will tell.

Leah said...

This is beautiful, Brian, really skillfully drawn. I got teary.

books,coffee,etc.... said...

Hi! Brian Miller,
I liked the way you connected all the people in your story lives...
...and how one man/woman life can touch so many...and how we sometimes forget that yes, we are all connected.
And that life is very short! and it's so very important not to "waste" time...
Thanks, for sharing!
DeeDee ;-D

VE said...

Excellent post as always! That last paragraph did it for me. So true...

Wings said...

So nice, Brian. Loved it. Really, where DOES all the time go???

Brian Miller said...

@wings - ty. and if you figure that out, please let me know. lol.

@VE - well it's not a ninja star clock, but...ty.

@dee dee - each one of us a moment on the clock, seperate but connected as the hands sweep passed...you never know who you will meet and what you will mean to them...

@leah - ty

@debo - too true...what comes between...

@bernd - interesting...

@reyjr - wonder...lol. if it was click clock it may be more annoying...no play today?

@cali - gotta love those jobs...the time seems to take forever...

@poetikat - ty. unfortunately, I can still see her as well. ha.

Megan said...

holy crap. that was great!

Brian Miller said...

@megan - you just made me spit coffee all over my laptop...lol. ty.

Michael Rawluk said...

"Flat shoes sucked to the smoldering asphalt" That is a great line.

The Things We Carried said...

To say I love your writing style is simply too shallow.
"Pouring himself into a chair too small for his girth"

"Peeling his face from the gum encrusted concrete, leaving flecks embedded. Dirty fingers picked at his cheeks, probing gaps through flesh where teeth once resided."

Your descriptions are amazing. The last paragraph hauntingly accurate, beautifully laid out, word by perfect word.

Tom said...

yes, sometimes i ask myself, 'why am i wishing my life away'?

Anonymous said...

That was excellent, Brother.

-DF

Lover of Life said...

This was a very cool story. Your writing is terrific, tying all the parts together so skillfully.

Otin said...

Very good! It is weird how life is just a countdown to dying!

e said...

Brian,

Your post had me too! Great writing. Thanks for sharing and for visiting my blog today.

Colette Amelia said...

My goodness Brian you never fail to amaze me with your writing and your wisdom! Well done fella!

lots to think about.

Vince Farrell said...

Great stuff!!!

Move is going well. Just finished the last load and it's starting to sink in that I will not be heading back to AL in the morning...ha!
Now the unpacking.

roughruby said...

There are so few times you leave me speechless unless we are thinking the same thing. This one did it.

Candie Bracci said...

Wonderful post!

Candie Bracci said...

you're seriously a writer,hope you write a book one of these days,I'm sure you are able to,largely,and it would sell.Seriously.

Valerie said...

Shakespeare, Mr Fox? Nah, that's pure Miller. You must have heard of him.....