Wait. Don’t do that yet. Let me talk to you.
My name is Chronos, The Bringer Of Time. Some title huh? But don’t let it intimidate you. Is it too much? It is isn’t it? Chronos — time. And as such, I have all the time in the world. Sorry, a joke to lighten the mood. All seems rather serious around here doesn’t it? Good to meet you by the way; it’s a pity we could not meet in less anxious times. Take a seat, this won’t take long. And don’t look so scared, I’m harmless really. Need to have a little chat, that’s all. It’s ok, we have time. And when I’m done, maybe you’ll think twice about doing what you were about to do. I rarely intervene in this way, but I know what happens if you press that button.
Before I go on, as I’m here, can we get something straight? Please, none of this old Father Time business. I’m not old. Not a bit of it. It’s all relative, as you know. This Holocene, or this Anthropocene — the blink of an eye. Really, it is. Think of the time still to come. But what am I saying? Blows even my mind if you want the truth, and I’m… well I’m Time aren’t I?
Forgive me, I’m rambling.
I have a lot of time for humanity. I do. No really, I do. I’m not joking. Lot of time. Wish you hadn’t got it into your heads that I’m Money though. Not sure where that came from: Time is Money? I’m not. I know Money, and she’s a real piece of work. Came onto the scene not so long ago — out of nowhere, jingling and jangling. First saw her in a restaurant, a silver spoon resting on her bottom lip, her tongue caressing it, her eyes smiling. Boy is Money dirty. And I mean, really dirty. You’ve no idea the price I paid. I fell for her when she first turned up. But you should have seen the colour of her eyes, green like emeralds; and those legs worth a million dollars, and that smile… I was sold, you can tell. Didn’t last though; I saw through her in the end. At some point I figured Money was done, figured money had her time and was done. So listen to me when I tell you: I am not, in any way, shape or form, Money.
You’re quiet. Must be pretty overwhelming though all this. I get it. But you can ask me anything. Really — anything. This isn’t going to happen again for some time, so speak up, this is once in a life time buddy. Know what you’re thinking though — get it all the time. And it’s not even my fault. You’re thinking: What’s the deal with getting old? I see why you might blame me for that one. But no, if it was down to me, you’d all live forever. Sure you would. No, the ageing, and the falling apart, and the dying, that’s all my brother, Entropy. He’s a bit of a stickler for order, for the way things are meant to be. You shouldn’t take it personally. He’s misunderstood too. People think he’s all about making a mess, about disorder. But he’s really not. Not at all. He’s more interested in returning things to their rightful place. He has a pretty dismal job, my brother — have to feel for him. Mind you, if he gets his way, eventually everything will be ordered so that no matter which way you look — up, down, left, right, in front, behind — it’ll all look the same. Then where will I be? Or rather, when will I be? There’ll be nothing for me to do. It’s called the Heat Death of the universe. Cheery huh? Not looking forward to it at all. I have a soft spot for Heat too. I do. Really do. Not Death though, Death has real issues. But Heat, he’s something else. I mean, he had his time and all, way back in the day. Boy was Heat in his pomp way back when — Heat was hot. Back then, everything was bubbling and molten and really, really hot. You couldn’t touch a thing back then — not a thing. But he’s still around, just about, vibrating, spinning, with his stars and his super novas and nebulae. He’s a bit of an artist is Heat. He is. He’s come up with some real masterpieces. Don’t you think? Not so much your star — it’s nice and all — functional, and well… yellow. But it’s not one of his best. No offence.
Cat got your tongue huh? Let it out. Know you want to. Ask me anything… anything.
What about me flying when you’re having fun? Or what about me waiting for no man? Not really true — I’m waiting for you now huh? Waiting for you to come to your senses, and to leave that button alone. Once upon a time… Time to kill… All the time in the world… Time gentleman please…
What about the one who got away? Everyone wants to know about the one who got away. Hear you talking about them all the time. I had one too. So did you — didn’t you? It’s ok, you don’t have to tell me. For me, the one who got away was Nostalgia. Can’t help looking back on our time together and missing it. It’s strange though, at the time, when we were together, I had no idea it was so important, so special. Guess that’s the way it works. It’s only now, when I look back, I see how beautiful she was, how amazing we were together.
You’re wondering why it didn’t work out? Well, she was always living in the past. She could never move on, never live in the moment. You know? For me, the moment is all there is — I’m all about the moment — the now, and the now, and the now. I’m a real buddhist when it comes to living in the moment. Really, I am. But not Nostalgia. No, she was all about the past. She was a real stunner though — drop dead gorgeous you might say. At least, that’s how I remember her.
You’re smiling. You like that one huh? Enjoyment in the misfortune of others: Schadenfreude. Very human pastime — see its attraction though.
Can I tell you about Space? She’s always been there, from the beginning: love of my life. She’s different to anyone I’ve ever met. And I’ve met everyone; it’s what I do, make time for anyone. We’ve had our arguments, Space and me. But when it comes to it, we know we’re made for one another. When you figured it out, when you clicked, about Space and me — being intertwined and all — boy did that make us laugh. Our relationship was let out of the bag then. Space and me, we were a regular power couple: Spacetime. There were drawings of us, diagrams, equations, artists’ impressions. You name it, we were all over it. It’s died down these days. Don’t miss the attention I can tell you.
You see, now you’re thinking: Why is he telling me all this? I’ll tell you. If you press that button, it’s the end of your time here on earth. No joke. Really — cross my heart and hope… well, not a good choice of words, but you see my point. This time and place, right here, right now, is pivotal. They’ve been dropped twice before, I know that, I was there, watched them fall through the sky, watched the grey mushrooms grow and fill the sky. But these new ones, these new bombs you have… they’re bigger… a whole lot bigger. Really, trust me, they are. And you know they have them too don’t you? This can’t end well.
There’s one more question you want to ask — I see it in your eyes — see it all the time. No, I’m not him. Nope, really, I’m not him. You’re not going to like this. But at least it might make you think more carefully… Although, you already know don’t you? Deep down. You do, you know. I’m sorry, really I am. I’ve seen the beginning and the end, and as far as I can tell, we’re alone. But that’s ok — it is. Cheer up. Don’t get me wrong, I felt pretty low too, for a long time. But once you get used to the idea, it’s liberating. It is. Really is. Once you get used to the idea, you learn that all you were scared of was Freedom. And you really shouldn’t be scared of Freedom? I’ve met him — he’s an inspiration. He is. Wizard of a poet. And no one’s scared of poets. He’s written some amazing stuff. For a while, he helped one of your poets write some plays — we got a kick out of that too. Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow… Love that one. He wrote that for me you know. What? He did…
You still look suspicious. You don’t see what’s in it for me do you? Well if you want to know, Space and me, we’ve grown attached to you. We have. Know it sounds soppy. But really, we’ve grown attached to you all. And we know what’s out there: a heck load of nothing. Most of Space is empty — she knows all about that. You lot, here on earth, you’re the opposite of nothing. You lot are a whole lot of something. You know? And that means a great deal when all’s said and done. If you disappear, then… well then who do I talk to?
No, this is an important moment in time. And I’ve thought long and hard about intervening. But you need to know the facts. If you press that button, everything, everyone, the whole lot of it, goes to hell.
But this will be the last time I do this sort of thing. This really is a once in a life time thing. You hear me? This is it. I can’t go around interfering with the order of things, it makes the others very, very cranky. As we speak, Entropy has a whole lot of plans in place for what he’s going to do with your planet when you hit that button. Heat’s kind of looking forward to it too — well he’s an artist after all. Think of the poetry Freedom will write. And I can only imagine the gushing sentimentality Nostalgia will spill when she looks back on the human race. And Death — my my, is he going to enjoy this one. And I hate seeing him enjoy anything — can’t help it. You can bet Misery is rubbing his hands; and so too Loss, Confusion, Anger, Pain… you name them — they’re all ready and waiting for you to press that button. When they find out what I’ve done… boy am I going to get it? But I’m going to take the hit for you lot one last time.
Hey, look at the time. Hasn’t it flown? Time’s up. Time to go.
But one more thing. This thing I keep hearing: about how life is short. It’s not. Life, if you’re lucky enough to live a full one, is long. Remember that. Don’t spend the whole time convincing yourself otherwise.
Have to go. You have a good life.
Humanity, it’s still a baby, cooing, gurgling, learning to recognise shapes and sounds. Most of the others don’t realise that. But I do. Humanity has a whole life-time ahead of it. Think carefully before you push that button my friend, there’s still time. Always time.
Adam wakes far too early in a morning to write before he teaches English at a secondary school in the Black Country, UK. His stories have, or will soon appear in publications such as STORGY, Fictive Dream, Literally Stories, Firefly Magazine, Occulum, Flash Fiction Magazine & The Green Light. You can find links to his stories at adamlock.net. He is also active on Twitter @dazedcharacter.