Jeffrey Banon’s doorbell rang at 7am but nobody remembers because that didn’t leave enough time, so 16 minutes later, it rang an hour earlier at 6am.
One ding. After a suitable pause, old Mr Tyson began to doubt his ding. Maybe the doorbell doesn’t work. I’m not sure why I doubt it. Experience however tell me I do. An unusually large percentage of all the doorbell I’ve pushed, didn’t ding. It is a common memory to see knock loudly sighs next to unwured it dead doorbells.
He thought, oh yeah it is 6am.
Ding ding ding ding he pushed with a) the urgency of a co-worker who hates you slaos the closevejevatir door the same way. A doorbell however, unlike placebo close door buttons, does in fact work better when you smack it over and over. It becomes just irritating enough that you can’t fake sleep anymore because it wouldn’t be believable.
Jeffrey. Good, you’re awake. I need your help and I need it now. It’s going to hard to explain it all in time. How awake are you?
Jeffrey began to evaluate himself to answer. When you wake up in an instant with your next door neighbour running our doorbell like a rap dj. Boong bong Bing Bing.. Bing Bing eca eca eca Bing.
By now, Ted and Becca were up to all gathered around the front door in their nightwear.
What is it Joe? What’s so important you had to pick this time, Jeff’s dad asked.
How did you know it’s all about timing? Nevermind. Ok.. listen, I’m going to tell you something and you won’t believe it. You shouldn’t. It’s ridiculous, but unfortunately it’s true and I don’t really have the time to go through the usual initiation protocols. I’ll go slow.
Slow isn’t better Mr Tanner. It’s giving me the chance to imagine all sorts of weirdness youre going to reveal. I’m thinking some crazy shit like in Big Trouble in Little China says Jeff.
Jeff’s dad giggles and assures his son it won’t be anything like that. That’s Hollywood magic son. I keep telling you, you don’t have to be afraid of Chinatown.
Actually Ted, it’s much much more magical. You see, I’m the keeper of the roundoff gear for this hemesphere, and nobody knows. I literally control time, and it’s a fascinating job and a huge honour.
Ted starts to gesture as if he’s got something to say about this absurdity but he is lost fir words and remains statuesque for a second or two with his querying finger up. Old Joe Tanner continues.
To tell the whole story Ted, I’ve always had Jeffrey in mind as my predicessor. I just didn’t know it’s be in the next 42 minutes. I’m so sorry this is going to come at you hard and fast and you won’t believe a word but I tell you now. It’s a story that isn’t believable until it is, and .. well, quickly follow me up to the house.
The family look at each other, shrug their shoulders and follow Mr Tanner back up the driveway to his home. Mt Tanner’s home is at the end of what was probably a dead end street, but as homes were built, a cool dude saq is the look today. The old Tanner house isn’t a dark mansion or castle as you might have I’m aged was where the magic happens, whatever that is. It’s just an old style square 2 story brick farmhouse. It’s style is out of place on the cokdusaq but it lies further back from the road with some seasonal tree coverage. It’s clearly the oldest house in the area.
Old Joe Tanner wasn’t a wizard Ted reassured himself in his head. Noooooo. Can’t be. Ironically and as a total coincidence, every one of them were outside at just after 6am in house coats and both Jeffrey’s and Mr tannens looking quite a bit like a wizard robe.
Jeff’s mom was first to make the connection. Are you sure Ted? Look at him. Master and apprentice right there. We’re going to learn the force is real tiday. I’m excited.
We’re not going to learn the fir–
Oh don’t get me started on the force now. He turns to Jeff and winks. Those darm mediclorians… Everybody’s got them now it seems.
Jeff laughs and mom and dad have blank looks.
By now, everyone in inside and standing before the basement door, which Joe is holding, ready fir the reveal. He swings it open with theatrics and they walk down the stairs.almost all of the cellar is taken up by this strange set if interlocked wooden gears. After staing at it’s intrecasies for a moment your start to notice it’s a clock. Like a room sized watch, but not with a face and hands.
It is a clock, of sorts, but not on our time system. This is actually a part of the Earth rotational system. It’s got a gyroscope in there that isn’t too different from the one you might have played with in school.
Iim not getting something? Jeff says tilting his head a bit like a curious dog.
Ok. Short version. This thing is vital in the operation of time on earth. It completes a cycle very close to what we call 24 hours, but not identical.
And? What the fuck are you talking about Joe? Get to the point. Arnt you in some hurry? Jeff’s mom had a way of getting everybody’s stories to be shorter.
Joe continued and eventually found the words to explain that it needs a human to manually adjust it at midnight every day. EVERY DAY right around midnight.
That is my job, and fir that, I am paid 365 thousand dollars a year,tax free.
The three of them all make a whoa motion in unison. Jeffrey’s is the only one audible.
Whaaaaat? If I’m caught up, you’re telling me you want me to replace you and I get that money? All I have to do is flip this gear once a day? And I really get that money?
Ted is a father. You teach your kids to run away from things like this. I just don’t understand Joe. Wha–
I know. I know. I told you we’d be moving fast and I’m asking you to trust me. I should be showing you more and explaining but I only had since 5am this morning. It wasn’t supposed to happen so early. Nothing’s even open before 9. I would have given just about anything for another slice of Janice’s apple pie.
Ahem. He refocuses and turns to a serious stance and tone. Actually I got permission to double it this year. It’s been 1000 a day for so long.
Oh.. and you get it all. Everything.
What do you mean asks Jean? All?
Oh yeah. The house, the furniture. It’s all paid for. It’s part if the deal. But listen Jeffrey. This is all crazy talk but … Look at me. That money is so you can do whatever you want, but you must never .. look at me. You can never miss a day.
Do you hear me Jeffrey? This may be your first job, and it might seem easy. Respect it. It is a secret older than our concept of time itself and if you miss a day, bad shit happens. Whatever you have in your head as a visual image of bad shit, it’s worse.
Oh good shreaks mom. That sounds dangerous.
Not at all Judy. The job literally is flicking this gear once a day and nothing more. There is a book and a visual aid but they were written in the 50s. Maiteance is handled by a pre arranged service call once in March and once on Jan 1st. It’s been the same guy for at least 45 years.
That really is the story in anutshell. I wish I had the luxury of a bit more time to go over… Oh shit. I told you it’s a secret right? Yeah… But it really has to stay a secret.
Jeffrey nods and says he gets it.
No. You don’t. You have no idea… But I’m trusting this with you. The three of you will get through it, but in the end, this is Jeffrey’s legacy now. A 600,000 a year job. The only thing you can say is, your job is like the magic pumpkin.
What¿ Ted asks with a look of confusion that hasn’t changed much since the doorbell rang. Pumpkins? I still don’t understand what the clock dies.
Jean pats him on the shoulder in that way that always looked so patronizing to me, but dad never noticed. I think I understand… At least a little. It certainly wasn’t any big scary magic leprchaugn dragon like I imagined.
Oh? At that moment, old Joe taps Jeffrey on the shoulder to catch his attention. He reaches over and lifts the loose gear shank out of it’s place and the gear stops instantly. It’s hard to explain but the reaction delay of how fast everything froze was oddly jarring to Jeffrey.
The feeling was such a distraction he neglected to notice that the frozen gear may have been more magical and impressive after all. Jeffrey and Mr tannens were moving normally, but absolutely everything else was not. Time had stopped.
This time, Jeffries Whoa was a grand long one. You’re giving me the power to stop time, and a house and all that money.
You need to take this seriously. Your parents must not know, and you must never leave time frozen for more than about 15 minutes.
Jeff beats him to it, Bad things happen?
Bad things happen, but more accurately, some things don’t happen. Our earth is a marvel of perfect timing. Our days and seasons. Our tides. These machines compensate.
It’s in the… Oh. Sorry. Forgot about time. I only have 16 minutes left.
He places the wood back into it’s groove and the world jolts back into motion with no awareness of the effect.
So how come I —
Mr Tanner seivels abruptly and scoulds. What did I just say? It was a breach to tell all three of you but with such short notice, I made a judgement call.
Moods turn serious again. I’m sorry to do it this way, but I know you’ll not let me down. You understand the importance and it’s a pretty easy secret to keep. It’s pretty dull. ooh have a secret clock in my basement that controls the tides.
Ha, giggles Joe. You’re the first people I’ve ever told. I’m so glad you seem to have done ok with acceptance this time. I got the timing right.
Now I really must be on my way. I don’t want to … Nevermind.
Farewell Johnson family. I bet you didn’t imagine your Thursday would be so eventful before 9am. You never know.
As he spoke those words, a fire hydrant across the cool deal saq unexplainably made a loud pop, and exploded with emence water pressure in all directions.
The red cap flew directly towards old Joe’s head and sliced it open like a ttop hat owned by a bond Villanova. Old Joe flopped to the ground mid sentence.
For a third time that morning, Jeffrey’s whoa was louder than the last.
All three of the Johnson’s look towards each other. Holy fuck.
Judy and Ted are at their table eating breakfast. Jeffrey comes in, already dressed from the back yard entrance. He is beaming. I just made 2000 dollars.
Yes, I guess you did. That’s going to take some getting used to. You need a plan.
I’m going to need a lot of things mom. I agree a plan is important, but maybe let me have a week off 2000 a day joy.
I was reading his notes before midnight last night. He’s got some great tips for me to avoid some of his first week learning.
What is there to learn? Is there more? I knew it. I knew we’d learn the bad stuff today. They guy knew when he was going to die Jeffrey. Doesn’t that freak you out? To the minute it seems. What’s that all about? I’m happy for you… It’s just so new I still don’t trust it.
Tedcadds, if this were a TV show, you know some Sirius back story shit comes with this deal. I’m not liking how vague he was saying really bad shit happens if you don’t press the red button once a day.
It’s not a red b–
Yeah yeah. Seems fishy you’ve got an earth engine thousands of years old and you hire a kid to jossle the handle to make it work.
Hey… I’m not complaining. I can be here at midnight for that wage.
Just remember Jeffrey… That means no parties, novacations, no overnight stays with your girlfriend. No day trips to the nearest Fuddruckers in Detroit.
Ooo. I can just get you or Dad to cover now and then.
I don’t think so. He was pretty clear this is a solo responsibility. We’re not even supposed to know.
What’s that meme¿ You had ONE JOB!
Pretty good reference mom but it’s not really the right fit. You can say that when I fail and —
Mom pivots and gives that evil fierce look that I can feel, even though I was facing away. You will not fail. You can not fail.
Yeah, because apparently bad shit will happen. That’s a mind fuck man. Is there anything in the book that might narrow down what kind of bad shit.
The book doesn’t really talk about what I’m doing. In the book, it just worked. The gears were perfect. I think the compensation engine was needed because of meteiors. In space, a nudge or a bump of an inch can throw your line off by a million miles.
It’s fucking impressive.
Fucking bizarre. I’m still waiting for the bad.
Jeffrey is walking through the ok tannens home exploring. It is much as you might expect from a home one man lived in, alone for over 50 years. Lots of stuff to just toss, donate or keep. Several items of note or worth were identified by a yellow post it note.
The most shocking discovery by a wide margin, was bigsby. A 200 year old turtle .. or tortose that roamed the upstairs floor freely like a free tangent tortose. The note attached read; this is bixby. He is the best cover story I could think of on short notice. I have paperwork done my will to explain your new found life change.
To jeffrey, the fine young man next door, I leave everything I own, with the understanding that bixby be allowed to roam that home for the rest of his natural life. When Jeffrey read that the first night he laughed. It was just plausable enough he thought. Genius actually. Bigsby was to big to fit through any doors anyway. He had grown larger than the exits.
Our story skips ahead a few years at this point because, just as they had been told. It really was a rather dull story. Kevin and his family tried their best to remain unchanged by their lottery-like winfall. Each upgraded their transportation to something nicer but not too flashy.
Jef had embellished a bit to bixbys back story and the special eye drops and tiny turtle suppository he had to administer at midnight each day became the explanation gir his nightly turn in. Somewhere in the first year, dad finally figured out the Pumpkin connection. It was always fun to watch Ted figure something out minutes or days after everyone else.
As readers of fiction, you may be accustomed to a certain style stories tend to wind.you might already be anticipating that second shoe to drop, and as Ted would say, the bad.
For the first two years, there was no bad. Father had even given in and was spending some of it on splurges.
When you’ve got a simple job, it can happen that mistakes are made. When you’ve been told that really bad things will happen if you scew up, you try a little harder. The statement; he’s only human is of little comfort if you’re dead.
On February 23rd of the week that would have a leap year, there was an incident. To anyone else, a minor inconvenience and delay would be a frustration. When the words really bad shit reverb in your head, the anxiety hits hard. There was still seven hours for Jeffrey to make it home before midnight but the obstacles between them were numerous. Nobody knew all the details but it seems like the primary road in and out of town is washed away.
For the first time, Jeffery had to deal with the very real possibility he would soon find out what really bad shit meant. It was terrifying. He wondered if you could be fired. His mother’s words shook in his head, you had ONE JOB. Yes Mom, now it makes sense.
There was still a chance if course. A very real chance. A realistic chance since they were only about an hour away. Jeff couldn’t help but think of planes trains and automobiles. He would make it back in time.
It’s his one job!
I have often found that good things seem to happuen when I’m in a good mood and bad things seem to pile up when I’m in a bad mood. The rush and anxiety of untold impending doom was building as each minute passed as Jeffrey’s car stat still, blocked in a jam between everyone else frustrated by the delay.
Perhaps the only event that wasn’t a disaster for Jeffrey that night was when he got pulled over for speeding but the ticket wasn’t issued because a faster asshole buzzed the cop as he was apprching Jeff’s car. Still, that minor delay was the extension that made him late.
12:23am. So close. Old Joe’s rushed hand off wasn’t clear on many things including how late was acceptable. Jeff now remembered he clearly said about 15 minutes. I know I always exagurate numbers to give people a buffer.
As Keven was zooming back to the basement, it was the first time since Joe’s death that he’d not been inside at midnight. He remembered the day Joe had stopped time and remembered that exact timing wasn’t vital because the thee gears around the world are always running too. However Joe had a great story time did not permit him to share.
The lie known as bad shit.
Jeffrey stayed with the gears a little longer that night. Once you’ve seen one impossible thing in your life, you become open to the idea that you had no clue, and anything might be possible. Suddenly the dragons and earthquake scenarios seem possible.
Terrorists know, the true fear is in not knowing what to fear.
Eventually Jeffrey managed to fall asleep.
I guess there was a buffer. A grace time like the reserve in your gas tank for men who like to always drive till it says empty, and then 50km more.
Whew. He didn’t even tell Mom.
The day of the bad shit
As Jeffrey woke from his sleep, nothing seemed off at first. It was a day not yet eventful in any way beyond the ordinary.
The first indication of anything weird was pouring milk into his tea. The amount if milk inside the carton is not something g one normally takes note of, but yesterday he had a distinct memory of using all but a tiny bit of the milk. It was fresh in my memory because I had created a whole dramatic story justifying why I would put an empty milk boxback into the fridge. The milk drama in my head is erelivant but the mysterious reappearing milk was most puzzling. Who would pour a half cup of milk back into a carton overnight?
Life is filled with unexplained stories and memories but usually we dismissed them or accept the more logical explanation that we must have been mistaken.
I didn’t think too long about the reappearing milk before more significant clues presented them self before jefrey. Confusion was the immediate reaction to the events of the next few minutes but confusion quickly faded and Jeffrey had figured it out.
Whoa. Ha! Really bad shit indeed he said to himself. For a moment defined only by it’s end, Jeffrey stood in place, flip flop ING between emotions of awe and wonder, and secretly a great relief.
The bad shit wasn’t so bad. The day did not advance. It was Thursday again. A flashback memory made him smile. He called out the words Groundhog day with such excitement. He hoped this was the bad shit Joe had not wanted me to know about. He didn’t yet know exactly how this blunder has effected the rest of the world. Imagine if it was Thursday where he was, but Friday up the street. That sounded way more like bad shit. If the whole world is still yesterday he thought, that was actually pretty cool.
The next few hours were spent, re watching the day you lived yesterday go by again. Jefrey knew he couldn’t reveal too much awareness in public, and one might imainge how hard the temptation to know the future to show off. This was another secret he cooks not share.
Every good nerd knows; with great power comes great responsibility. Spiderman’s uncle said that before he died, at least in some time lines.
Oh. A connection was made inside Jeffrey’s fast moving awesome overloading brain. This secret is way more powerful than stopping time. Jeffrey was the one controlling whether or not each and every day from today onward was good enough, or whether we could do better next time.
If something bad were to happen, I could just loop the day over and fix it, he thought.
Oh my God. I could be a superhero. I could be the first superhero that gets paid.
Note. Adventures insue as Jeffrey tries to be a good superhero.
Justin time. Doctor time… Too close to you know WHO. We can’t mention time anyway or people will start suspecting. Would they? Could you imagine this? No, surley your brain wouldn’t invent the explanation that I arrived just as roberrt bower was about to drive his ice cream truck into that building and blow the fire hydrants out across town and lose the bridge. His first act as a superhero changed his day. Nobody knew anything was different but …
Jeffrey thought. I’d call this good shit, not bad shit. I wonder if old Joe ever used it. I have to believe he must have, but Jeffrey saw the danger. Here he was reliving only his first day, and already he couldn’t slow the ideas flowing through his head.
Bam. The thoughts turn negative. How would Jeffrey handle failure. Even Superman couldn’t save everyone. The excitement about being a real superhero was pure joy, but the fantasy turned to more serious planning as he returned home.
The coolest thing about my superhero is, unlike everyone else, I can call a Mulligan at any time. Briefly Mulligan became top choice for superhero name and although it was cleverness as a name, it still hinted at his secret.
When dealing with concepts that go against the science you’d come to reply on about your universe, new Revelations come fast and furious as you begin to comprehend done side effects if this loop. You can beta test any aspect and reset. Each new loop has no memory or after effect from the previous run.
If at first I don’t succeed, skip midnight and try till you do.
Suddenly he stopped moving. Memory had hit that part in groundhog day where bill Murray dies. The day loops.
Whoa. I’m not only a super hero with rehersakscand doovers, I’m immortal.
That’s how old Joe knew he was going to die. He already did, and he couldn’t stop it. Jeff wondered how many loops Joe had skipped that day before he woke us up. Yhuat comment he made about “this time” seemed non sensical back then, but wisdom comes from observing he loops of life.
Jeff’s world had changed again. Suddenly he’d gone from “you only had one job” to now being responsible for the happiness and good will of an entire city. Talk about your great responsibility… But this was a great power.
His mind returned to costumes and a name. Is that ridiculous. Could this works accept a superhero? Could one exist?
Jeff made his way to the basement. 10pm. Yester-today it was 12:20.
Whoa. It’s not everyday you learn you’re invincible and can predict he future… Kind of. Not everyday. Just today. Well, it was so awesome, it took two today’s to figure it all out and save the bridge.
edit: I was saving a draft copy elsewhere because I wanted to edit it offline and I decided to add one sentence. To add “Nobody would even know.”
However… I rambled…
Even for a saint, that would get old fast. I will always remember the “OBS” from George Castanza when he tips some coins in a jar, and feel agitated because the staff didn’t see. They turned away just as he tipped, so he didn’t get credit.
It is a very real emotion. I believe a lot more people …oh wow. I just had a side thought that needed some time to sort through. I generated a whole new universe scenario of something that could be. A story for the mirror universe.
Finish the sentence at least, I believe more people are generous because eof the tax benefit, and the image. Less people donate without thanks… but that might just be me, and people who are self senterd like me.
Shaekespear said something about the world being a stage, and in….wait. This is yesterdays blog. I was adding one line to let me start a new part… and like always, I just stream. Continued in a future story segment.
Today was a good today. I can’t wait to see the tomorrow’s.