Bewildering Stories

Change the text color to: White | Purple | Dark Red | Red | Green | Cyan | Blue | Navy | Black
Change the background color to: White | Beige | Light Yellow | Light Grey | Aqua | Midnight Blue

Mean Time is the End of Us All

by Stephen Heister

Perhaps I am a selfish man. The levels I had reached though hadn’t been done without hard work. I deserved the extra hours that the fob gave me. Did I deserve to sleep that extra hour on Saturday mornings, or to put those finishing touches on that sculpture? Of course now it was harder. With all of time being monitored. Not like the old days. Not like when you could spend years in suspension turning an idea over in your head again and again. Until finally the beauty of it burst upon you like so much water splashing from the surface of a rock.

Even now. Knowing the facts I spend as much time in suspension as possible. I need time to bring my ideas to a solid completion. Time to sleep. Time to waste. Time for quite. The riots don’t affect those of us that still have the fob. They cannot police us entirely. Only when you get foolish and spend too much time suspended can their achingly slow detection machines pinpoint your source. And then they come to find you, and offer you to the rioting crowds.

But I am smart. I know better than to spend more than a few days with time stopped all around me. I never leave my studio in real time any more. I wouldn’t be able to get past the people picketing on the street. The people that used to be my fans, that would rejoice with me in suspended time at the marvels I could create. Isn’t the universe supposed to be beautiful? Isn’t it supposed to be short-lived? These people didn’t understand the horrible beauty of the Fob. Oh, they understood the horribleness. As every beautiful thing must, the fob had its darkness.

I am a selfish man. I have robbed the successive generations of a full and rich life. At yet still I can’t stop myself from using the fob. Each time I disappear from real time I find myself ridden with guilt over the “mean time” discovery. What an apt name for it. “Mean time”, mean because it is robbing me of my true calling. My right to enjoy this life. And all the others, and that’s why I feel guilty I suppose. I know that they will never be as full and satisfied as I have been. Yet again and again I use the fob. I stop real time, while mean time ticks away and is gone forever.

I suppose very little of it matters now. None of us will last much longer, as the life span of the universe is all but gone.

And outsides the rioters are frozen like the statues in my studio.

Copyright © 2004 by Stephen Heister

Home Page