Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ghost Clocks

In the happy Marsh home there was always one clock on the living room wall that chimed every hour. It was subdued, soft and sweet enough to go unnoticed most of the time by the happy family. And it never interrupted their thoughts or caused them discomfort. It belonged.

Then Grandpa made another chiming clock for the house which already had its own clock. The living room clock did not understand why it was being replaced by this new clock that stood on its own two legs and had shelves for little statues and glass figurines. "You're not being replaced, chimed the new clock. But soon you'll be forgotten." It's chime was sweet and unsettling. But the living room clock did not respond, for it was getting close to the hour. It's chime was strong and humble. But the new clock yet persisted. "You chime every hour. And so do I. But can you chime on the half-hour? On the quarter-hour? I can. And I will."

And so it did. But the living room clock was not soon forgotten. The family still remembered to change its batteries and set it at daylight savings times. It still belonged. Meanwhile, Grandpa donated yet another clock to the house that already had two clocks. This one sat on its own like the new clock, which was now the not-so-new clock. But this new clock was short, and was what is called a mantle clock. It sat on the mantle where it belonged. But there was a problem with this mantle. This mantle was located in the living room, the same room from which the living room clock hung--the same room from which the living room clock chimed its chimes. "This will not do," said the living room clock--the real living room clock that is.

But before the real living room clock could hatch a plan to get rid of the clock that sat on the mantle that happened to be in the living room, something was discovered about the clock on the mantle. When the living room clock and the not-so-new clock that chimed on every quarter-hour, half-hour and hour were chiming on the hour, the mantle clock was not chiming. And when the living room clock and the not-so-new clock were not chiming, the mantle clock was chiming. It chimed loud and was very proud to also chime every quarter and half hour. "It is your kind of clock," said the living room clock to the not-so-new clock. "Tell it when to chime." But the not-so-new clock refused. "I cannot help that one. It is so old, that it must be wound in the back and there is no one to wind it."

But the living room clock knew that all was not lost. The young girl of the house was always very unsettled by the chiming of the not-so-new clock. So the living room clock waited patiently for the young girl to grow weary of the loud mantle clock on its irregular schedule. And she did. She tried moving it to the counter. "But I am a mantle clock," it would say. "A counter-clock is a direction or movement, not a proper name for a clock of my stature." So, the proud clock was moved back to his mantle. The living room clock grew restless but the young girl did not disappoint. She found a way to stop the mantle clock's chiming once and for all. For by tipping the clock forward and placing under it a stack of tissue, half a deck of playing cards, or a packet of post-it notes, the pendulum would fall forward, thus disabling the mantle clock from chiming loudly and obnoxiously and all times of day and night.

The living room clock was satisfied. "You were always my favorite clock," said the girl to the living room clock at 2:15 one afternoon. Just then, the not-so-new clock chimed in. After all, it was the quarter of the hour. "And you," said the young girl, holding up a stack of post-it notes to the not-so-new clock, "you're next."

This story is purely fictional. Any resemblance of names, faces, pendulums or living rooms living or dead is purely coincidental. By Cara Thornton.

Author's note: I was inspired to write this story by the chimes I think I can still hear when my apartment is quiet. These are the Ghost Clocks. They make me miss that living room clock, and only that living room clock.


The Kopers said...

I loved it!
Made me long for that sweet, old living room clock.
I'm pretty sure that now it would drive me nuts,though. I've gone too long without it's chimes.

sue anne marsh said...

Boo you are talented and I hope you love clocks like I do, there is something sweet and settling about them. Yesterday (when I was sick) I took a nap on the couch and the short proud clock lulled me to sleep.