The temporal murders

In the last week, we here at the Confusion factory have killed two-and-a-half clocks.

The first victim was the atomic clock in the kitchen. Steve approached the wall where it had been leaning since being taken down for the painters. The clock emitted a high-pitched scream, the time numerals straight-lined, and…that’s all she wrote. Yes, I changed the batteries. Yes, we moved it to another location. Nothing works; she remains dead, Jim.

The second victim is the new bedroom clock with the double alarms — barely three months old. Last night at 9:35 p.m., the clock insisted it was 12:45 a.m. I reset it manually and thought that was that. The first alarm rang this morning at 6:07 a.m., according to it, and I took my medicine. The second alarm rang at 7:07 a.m., also according to it, which is when we theoretically get up, but I was still sleepy, and Steve was snoring, so I slapped the thing off and went back to sleep.

…some time later, I woke up to the sound of the microwave timer being set. Steve slipped back into bed and said, “The clock’s wrong.” I looked — “Eight-eighteen? That seems right.” “Maybe, but the (other) clock in the kitchen says it’s six-forty.”

So! The bedroom clock has now been unplugged and is sitting in the living room. I hope, but don’t actually believe, that it will have regained its mind by the time I plug it back in.

And then. . .there’s the half-murder.

Steve’s Clock — a genuine Howard Miller wind-up clock, with Westminster Chimes — also had to come down for the painters. We moved it from the living room to the top of the bureau in the bedroom, happy that it’s a combo wall/mantlepiece clock. For several days, it kept time and chimed as it ought. In fact, it has continued throughout to keep the correct time.

What went wrong on it. . .where the chimes. They began to become. . .confused of purpose. They rang at the correct moment, but in sequences and cadences that were definitely not Westminster Chime sequences, nor yet any of the sequences we had grown accustomed to hearing every quarter hour over the last dozen years. It began delivering little quarter-hour jazz improvs of Westminster Chimes, growing more and more confused until we finally stopped the clock entirely.

So there you have it. The victims: a mechanical clock, a plug-in clock, a battery-operated clock.

Temporally, things are pretty dire, here. We only have six more clocks — the stove clock, the microwave clock, the weather station clock, the computer clocks, and one poor LL Bean traveling alarm clock.

I know we’ve been raising a lot of energy lately, but I hadn’t thought we were in the lethal range…

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