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Dishes in the Sync

by Tim Simmons

“I’ll be back Sunday night,” said Janice, pausing in the open doorway. Kevin pulled himself up from the couch and walked toward the door. “You’ll have the entire weekend to yourself so at least can you manage to put the dishes in the dishwasher this time?

“Oh, and I want to see you start that new story idea you told me about. You keep putting it off like you do everything else, but I think it’s good. You’ll have the whole house to yourself, so no excuses!”

“Yeah, if I can get around to it,” he said, rubbing the three-day old stubble of a beard. “But it’s not very original. I think it’s kind of boring, actually.”

“You can do it, Kevin. Promise me you’ll at least start on it?” Janice gave an exasperated look.

“Yeah, sure. I promise.”

“I won’t call and bug you, don’t worry. Love you.”

“Love you, too,” Kevin said and kissed his wife. He closed the door and made his way toward the couch.

Starting. It was the hardest part. He’d start the story, but not just yet. He had plenty of time.

* * *

Sunday evening the front door opened and Janice walked in carrying several packages.

“Kevin?” she asked. Leaving the living room she entered the kitchen and to her disgust she saw dishes piled up high in the sink and on the counter. He’d put off breathing if it wouldn’t kill him. Janice put the packages on the kitchen table amongst a mass of ambiguous mess and then walked into the hallway.

“Kevin?” she said, her voice a little too loud, she thought. The hall light was off but the light from his study was on. As she pushed open the door to the study, she saw that the room was a complete disaster, much worse than usual. A host of debris lay scattered about on the floor: worn pencils, crumpled papers, cans, clothes and many that were simply unidentifiable.

Picking her way through the clutter, Janice walked up to the desk where she saw a worn and uneven stack of papers sitting beside the computer. The top page was handwritten. She picked up the first page and started to read.

Everyone has an internal clock. But what is not known, until now I suppose, is that everyone also has an unseen connection to some common time stream that keeps us all on the same page, if you will. This connection is what keeps us all synchronized to a common drumbeat. We are all little receivers of a common, master time code.

Einstein knew that time was relative, but what he did not know is that time itself is created by some invisible conductor. This gives birth to an unsettling question.

Is it possible to lose sight of the conductor and begin playing at your own tempo?

I know it is. It has happened to me and is still happening.

Looking back on it now for all these years, it answers so much! For example, I always wondered how so many people came to be missing and never found. They just vanished one day. They lost touch with the conductor, the master timekeeper.

It’s already too late for me, and since I have nothing but time, I am compelled to keep this journal, as I no longer have anyone to talk to, and in some way I hope that I can somehow warn others.

But warn them of what? I still do not know how it happened. I know I have little hope of convincing anyone merely on the weight of my words, but perhaps I can persuade someone. I must try. It’s all I have left. So, if you will, listen to my story and I pray that you can sense the truth in what I say.”

“Wow, looks like he finally did get around to writing that story after all!” Janice exclaimed quietly. I guess that’s why he didn’t bother with cleaning up. I knew it’d be great. He has such a way with words — his favorite being procrastination, of course.

Janice turned a few more pages in the stack of papers that seemed to be several inches thick. Each one was handwritten. She lifted what had to be a hundred pages. She flipped through them. They were all completely filled in by hand. It finally struck her. How could he have written so much in just two days?

She made her way toward the bedroom. “Kevin?” No answer. She went in and saw a grainy substance on the bed, as though someone had drawn a sand picture of a human form. She picked up some and let it slowly trickle through her fingers like sand in an hourglass.

Copyright © 2007 by Tim Simmons

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