Father Time’s Bastard
Father Time’s Bastard
2010? Already? Seems like only yesterday I was giggling at Noel’s House Party and wearing a bumbag. That’s the problem. One minute you’re twenty-one and blowing farts into your brother’s face, the next you’ve turning thirty and he’s pestering you to get a haircut because he doesn’t want you ruining his wedding photos by looking like a homeless. Life moves too fast. The marked off Xs on the calendar’s days are clods of dirt from your deepening grave, and sometimes the clock seems like it’s ticking so fast it might as well be one long, continuous humming noise. The time that you do manage to grab as it speeds past is spent fruitlessly trying to discover what makes you happy or drowning in embarrassing memories, like the time you yelled “I hope you fall in love with a man who beats you” as she strode out of the cafeteria.
Everything is relative. Isn’t it a scientific fact that time moves more quickly if you’re having fun, while dragging on and on in situations you wished would just end? Christ knows an hour spent in a doctor’s waiting room is ten times as long as the supposedly same 60 minutes of an office lunchbreak. Not that the previous ten years had exactly been a Crowley-esque march of debauched hedonism, but the speedy arrival of a new decade suggested a wastefully extravagant rushing through the hours, minutes and seconds on my part. No more.
As a test-run to my theory, I squeezed into the cupboard under the stairs with nothing but the click of the electricity meter to keep me company in the stinking darkness. For an indeterminable amount of time, I just sat, forcing myself to be bored, scolding my mind when it conjured up images of, well, anything to keep me amused. On finally exiting and checking my watch, my sense of nine hours having passed was off by almost six, a full three hundred percent increase. I hadn’t even been that bored. Extend that over a period of years, decades, amping up the level of boredom, maximising the dilation of time, and a man could stretch his fifty remaining years well into the hundreds. That settled it, lest I wake up tomorrow with liver spots on my hands and balls that hang down to my knees. I’m going to live forever.
I started out taking it day by day; eight hour (by the clock) sessions, but quickly became addicted, like that post-workout rush, and amped it up to a full week. The first of these weeks was spent sat cross legged on the floor of a bare room, staring at a brick that was balanced on its side. I’d venture that that time, which felt to me like the passing of at least a month, to those outside, playing games with their children or vacationing in the sun, it probably seemed like little more than a day. But still, it could have been less stimulating – I could have eeked yet more living out of those days. I tossed away the brick and scrubbed the wall clean, rubbing away the stain that had lead me into Rorschach daydreams of church-faced soldiers, dogs the size of horses, and a tit on a bike. Robbed of the threadbare stimulus, time slowed still more.
Then came my birthday. Another step nearer death, another batch of creases on my ridiculous face. I realised the moments just weren’t moving slowly enough. I could feel my life slipping away, and I had to take action. I’d already pushed the limits of boredom, having spent nine calendar days silently standing inside a wheelie bin in the basement, and I didn’t see how much further I could push it. Then it hit me. It was obvious, a natural progression. I had to take it from the tedious and the apathetic into the overtly negative, the painful, the tormented.
I purchased one of those old-fashioned mangles our grandmothers used to wring out their big, 1930’s underpants and fed my left hand into the gears, cranking on the handle as the bones popped and crunched underneath. The sun rose and fell only eight times, but it felt like forever. A hand like a flipper is a small price to pay for a hearty glug at the fountain of eternal youth. Next week a man I’ve given some money to is going to come and nail me to to the floor for thirty days.
Through the open window I hear the crackle of fireworks ushering in the new decade, the distant laughter of city revellers. I can’t help but let out a patronising snort into my head-sack. Inbetween belches, a street-drunk bellows ‘Happy New Year!’ to nobody in particular. It’s hard to make out, but in the few seconds I allow myself to listen to the rest of the world, I think I hear kissing. What a waste of a life. He’ll be dead soon, they all will. We get this gift, this priceless, incredible one-time chance at being alive, and they’re all out there laughing and loving and curling the sides of their mouths with no thought to the smile-lines it’ll crinkle onto their faces. They’re all just wasting their lives.