Friday, June 28, 2019

Time Flocks

a short story by Bill Adler

“Look, look!” Billy jumped up and down like a Mexican jumping bean and pointed to the blue sky above Central Park’s tree canopy.

"Dija see, dija see, daddy?" His head swiveled as he tracked the flock across the sky. Billy slapped his palm over his mouth, removed it and said, "Ooo, so pretty!  I think they were Golden Pakax, daddy. Rare ones, right?"

Billy jumped up and down again, and cooed, "Ooo, I wish I had my camera." He looked at his father with wistful eyes. "Your camera."  Billy spun around in a tight 360 degree circle. "I cuda took a picture for Bobby." Bobby was Billy's older brother by five years. Billy was six. "Did Bobby have Pakax, daddy?"

Billy's father rubbed his chin and said, "No son. Your brother had a Timex. A Patek is —was—  too expensive for a kid. For most adults, too."

A Pakex?
"A Pakex?"

"Yes, a Patek. The full name is Patek Philippe."

"There's a Philip in my social studies class."

"That's good, Billy."

Billy took his father's hand as they walked toward the Central Park merry-go-round. Billy couldn't yet see the carousel because it was shrouded by trees, but he could hear the beckoning jingle.

Billy jumped high again, so high that their arms were nearly parallel to the ground. "There go more." He opened his eyes wide and looked up at his father. "It's a flock?" Flock came out as "flk."


"What are those in the flk? Are those Rolex?" Billy felt proud that he could pronounce "Rolex.” Just yesterday, his homeroom teacher had spent the entire twenty minutes teaching all the kids how to pronounce and spell "Rolex."

“No. They're dull-looking and aren't flying in a coordinated group. Their flight pattern is jerky. And there are too many of them."

Billy felt a cool shadow pass over his face as the flock blocked out the sun.

"I think they're Daniel Wellingtons."

"Daniels are like pigeons, right?"

"That's right."

"Only they don't poop on your head." Billy giggled.

A large flock of Grand Seikos. Photo by Stefan Molin. 

Billy squeezed his father's hand. "Tell me the story again." When his father didn't say anything, Billy said, "Please, please daddy. I promise I'll eat my vegetables."

His father sighed. "A year ago there was a wizard named Albert Hernandez."

"I didn't know wizards had regular names."

"Nobody did, Billy."

"Okay. Go on."

"One day, this wizard appeared on a television show called, Late Night with Stephen Colbert."

"Can I see that show, daddy?" Billy tugged on his father's arm. "Please."

"When you're older. Now do you want me to tell you the story or not?"


"The show's host, a man named Stephen Colbert, was poking fun at the wizard, whom he thought wasn't a real wizard, same as just about everybody else who thought wizards weren't real."

"Except in Harry Potter."

"As the segment was winding down, Colbert looked at his watch, tapped it, and said, 'Time flies. We're at the end. Thanks for coming. It's been great having you.' Colbert actually didn't think it was great having Hernandez on his show, and was happy to get rid of him. Hernandez could tell, and he wasn't pleased. In fact, he was annoyed at Stephen Colbert. His body was trembling.

"As Albert Hernandez slowly stood up he said, 'Time will fly.' Hernandez rubbed his thumb and forefinger together, and what looked like coppery glitter came out of them. The glitter grew and transformed into a car-sized tornado. The tornado spun around and over Colbert's desk for some thirty seconds, before making a loud popping sound like a firecracker had exploded inside. It disappeared.

"The camera filming Hernandez and Colbert zoomed in on Stephen Colbert's arm as the most unbelievable spectacle ensued. Colbert's wristwatch unfastened itself from his wrist, floated, then flew away. It didn't have wings, it didn't grow wings, but it flew as if it had always belonged in the air.

A flock of Grand Seikos, resting after a
day of flying. Photo by Jason Chien. 
"The next thing the camera showed were the band members' watches flying away. The band leader was wearing one of those Pateks, and you could see his face transform from an amused to shocked expression. The camera then aimed at the audience as their watches took flight. Rolex, Omega, Grand Seiko, Lange, Tag, G-Shock, IWC, Hublot — everything. The Hublots had a little trouble getting into the air, but after a few seconds of awkwardness even they were flying.

“The same thing happened to every watch in the world simultaneously.

“In short order all the same brand of watches flocked together. Rolex with Rolex, Grand Seiko with Grand Seiko, Breitling with Breitling, Moser with Moser, and so on."

"Like birds do."

"Yes. All the watches in the world escaped their owners and flocked.”

"Wow." Billy put his palm over his mouth again "Ooo, Ooo. We're at the merry-go-round. Yay!"

No comments:

Post a Comment