A Quarter Past Five

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
While you don't want to be lost in the monotony of routine , you also want to keep track of important facts and times!

This is a first draft, so I would greatly appreciate input or corrections!

Submitted: June 02, 2008

A A A | A A A

Submitted: June 02, 2008



The rhythmic sound of well wound clocks filled every inch of Ben’s room; every desk, table and wall was plastered by hundreds and hundreds of clocks. There were wind up clocks, digital clocks, watches, grandfather clocks, pocket watches, cuckoo clocks, pendulum clocks, every sort of clock one could possible imagine.

Ben Westminster was addicted to clocks.

It begins, as many stories do, some years back and features Ben as a strapping young lad. The scene opens at a quarter past five, in a somewhat dingy and under decorated apartment. It seemed as though the kitchen had overpopulated and invaded the living room, which, in turn, was invading the nearest bath room. Perhaps the worst part of the apartment was the walls, painted a sickly green color and completely empty.

Ben had the most important event of his life to attend. He was to be married, and he was already twenty-five minutes late. He was completely ignorant of this fact: he was unaware of time, and time seemed unaware of him.

Ben was frantically rushing around; somehow he had lost track of time, and was having some difficulty locating it again. It seemed to have left him. Rushing out the door, down the elevator, though the lobby and into his car took approximately 6 minutes, but Ben didn’t know that. He had a brief time of panic in which his car wouldn’t start, losing him another minute and a half. Ben placed his hands firmly on the wheel at 2 o’clock and 10 o’clock and exited the parking lot onto Fifth Street.

The Clock Gods did not smile on Ben Westminster’s plight of time; he was detoured at a construction site for fifteen minutes, and he spent twenty minutes missing every stoplight on the way. It didn’t stop there; on account of his tardiness, he was unable to find a parking spot and was forced to park a good ten blocks away at a parking garage that charged an impressive sum of five dollars and fifteen cents an hour.

He was now one hour, twelve minutes, and thirty seconds late.

Exactly six minutes and thirteen seconds ago, his fianc had run away with the minister.

Ben entered the church, hands ticking in embarrassment, to find his wedding in pandemonium. His father was screaming at his fiancs father, and an all out brawl raged around them. It was exactly the sort of thing that Ben didn’t need.

“Quiet!” he screamed. Everyone froze.

“When did you get here?” asked a disgruntled guest, the sleeves of his seemingly expensive suite missing.

“I don’t know, what time is it?”
“Beats me man. Don’t you have a watch?”
“No, I thought you did.”

“I couldn’t find it this morning.”

It was exactly 6:27 and thirty seconds, and Ben had no idea what to do.

For a great deal of time, Ben was completely and utterly at loss. He spent most of the time lounging around on his couch, gazing at the blinking 12:00 of his stereo. He had never bothered to set it, and lately he had been authentically annoyed by it. He had tried setting it several times, but it never seemed to work quite right. When he wasn’t hypnotized by the digits one, two, zero, Ben indulged himself on convenient microwavable dinners. It was the hard cold life of a bachelor.

One day, after finishing a bite of particularly chewy lasagna, Ben got on his shirt, a tie, a pair of comfortable slacks, and went to work. The office seemed strange to Ben, his days of absence added a gloomy shade to the beautifully painted walls. The elevator seemed eerie, the quirky music haunting. Everything seemed to add up to a crescendo of bad and terrible luck.

On Ben’s desk lay a memo dated two weeks, three days, six hours and thirteen seconds previous. It read, with subtle and suggesting letters, “You’re Fired.” It took some time for the shock to sink in, but when it did, the result was titanic.

“Waarrrraoouuughhh!” Ben wailed, “Warrouggghooowwwrrr!”

He went on like this for some time, all the way into the elevator, down to the first floor; through the lobby, past a crowd of very confused secretaries; and into his car, denting his door on a red concrete support beam as he got in.

After taking three to four deep breaths, Ben calmed down significantly, at least enough to drive home with minimal damage to his personage. As he parked his car in his driveway and marched angrily up his front steps, taking out an innocent garden gnome on the way, he noticed the astounding amount of mail that was flowing out of the mailbox.

He had to take two trips, arms overflowing, carrying bill after bill. He dumped them all on his kitchen table with an audible grunt. Not an inch of the stained wood was visible.

Shifting through the mass, one particular letter presented itself; EVICTION NOTICE was printed on the front in a not so friendly red ink. Ben nervously opened it, and gasped. He owed one hundred three thousand dollars and three cents to the bank. Four charges were circled on the statement: ‘mortgage payment, fifty thousand dollars and forty-two cents’, ‘cellular phone bill, nine hundred and eighty-two dollars’, ‘Women’s Shop of very Expensive Clothing, twenty-five thousand six hundred eighty-seven dollars and fifty cents’ and ‘IRS fine, twenty-six thousand three hundred thirty dollars and eleven cents.’

For the second time in his life, Ben Westminster had no idea what to do.

Several hours and numerous phone calls later, Ben deduced the reason for his preposterous fees. The mortgage payment from the month before, the one he had intended to pay the present month was added to the payment that had been due the day before. Banks tend to frown upon not being paid and, therefore, charge ridiculous late fees.

Due to some very small print at the bottom of his contract, Ben’s phone company was able to double his charges every three days he didn’t pay. That sort of thing adds up quickly.

His ex-fianc, the one who took off with the minister, had stolen his credit card, and apparently gone on a shopping spree.

And lastly, after completely failing to do his taxes on time, Ben owed the IRS a pretty penny.

Ben didn’t have any money.

Ben’s life was ruined; He had no girlfriend, no house, no job, and no money. He was horrible and wretchedly late on nearly every aspect of his life, and it had taken its toll. But, as the tragic hero of this less than happy story lay on the floor, quietly moaning, he made a resolution; he bought his first watch. Everything changed.

Ben Westminster became addicted to clocks.

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