I wrote this in 2006 as a joke, but it’s 2022 and lo and behold I think we all know what it feels like to be in Alstona’s and her co-workers place.
Republished for RDP Thursday: Clock Face
by anita marie moscoso
January 6, 2006 at the Soul Food Cafe
Alstona Kamacho’s clock is an Doomsday clock- that’s what she told everyone at her office. She also told them on the first day she brought it in that if the clock stops the world will end.
So for the past 20 years everyone she works with goes out of their way to make sure Alstona’s Tacky Ticker doesn’t wind down.
At first it was fun to find a way to make it first to avocado green clock with the pink feet and the silver mushroom bells sitting sideways against face so that you could be the one turn the little silver key and save the entire world
Then it got to be serious.
When Alstona’ s six co-workers heard the little gears slowing down and just before second hand made this pop sound when it skipped past the glow in the dark five they’d already be pushing and shoving, tripping towards Alstona’s desk.
One year Barnell Bloss fractured right arm when he tried- and failed to clear Fales Digby’s desk to get to Alstona’ s Armageddon clock.
Of course he didn’t clear Fales’ desk because Fales was sitting at it and when Barnell raced by it was more the Fales could stand.
He’d reached up and slammed Barnell down and Fales had been the one to save the world that day.
In any other office on the face of the Earth that stunt would probably have ended in some sort of legal action.
But Lonsdale and Mead’s wasn’t like anyplace on the face of the Earth- there wasn’t anyplace else on the face of the Earth that had an Armageddon clock sitting on an employee’s desk.
Delia Wing was a Courier from All City Express, she had won the Lonsdale and Mead stop in a lunch time card game at All City.
But that was nothing new- drivers at All City had been known to pay each other cold hard cash just for one trip because everyone in the city of Mayweed knew the L & M staff were a bunch of whack jobs.
What can you say? Nothing broke up the day like getting the chance to see a bunch of desk jockeys beat the snot out of each other to get to this cheap and nasty windup clock first.
As you’ve probably guessed by now Mayweed was short on entertainment venues.
Delia’ first trip into L & M was on a Friday and there they were- all seven of them sitting at their desks, working on the phones and doing data entry and the entire time they all had at least one eye on the Receptionist’s Desk.
At least that one eye looked alive and alert because the faces they were housed in were pale and all of the worker’s hands were twitching and shaking.
Delia decided right then and there she didn’t want to go back to L & M- all of those people looked like they already had one foot in the grave and she was afraid whatever they had might be something you could catch.
But first Delia had a job to do.
She went over to the receptionist’s desk where the clock was sitting and cleared her throat, ” Package for you. “
Alstona looked up and reached for small box a in Delia’s hand.
” So that’s the clock. ” Delia said.
” That’s the clock. “
” So, if you’re sitting there how come they….” Delia pointed to the rows of desks behind Alstona ” race to wind it up? Why don’t you do it yourself?”
Someone said from the back of the office, ” because she doesn’t care anymore…she wants the world to end.”
From a little closer to where Delia and Alstona were another voice said, ” she’s nuts “
And everyone agreed.
Delia never actually saw the L & M people racing to the clock but on some days she thought they looked more nervous and pale then on other days and she figured that must have been at about the time the clock was probably starting to wind down.
Then one day, even though she had nothing to drop off and no one had called in a pickup Delia went into the Office.
” Nothing to pick up? ” she asked Alstona.
” No. ” the Receptionist said.
Delia didn’t want to leave and she didn’t want to be there but for several nights Delia would wake up to the sound of ticking and she’d have to bite down hard on her lip to keep from screaming out loud.
So she decided to get this over with.
” It’s a joke…right? ” Delia asked.
” It certainly is ” a woman who sat directly behind Alstona said. She had heavy dark circles under her eyes and her blouse was inside out. ” It’s the funniest joke anyone could have ever come up with and I’m sick to death of it.”
Then a man said, ” I say we let it go…we just let go.”
Alstona turned around and she said, ” didn’t I say it would come to this?”
The six staffers nodded and Alstona looked up at Delia and nodded, ” it’s a joke and I’m going to end it. “
Then Alstona reached over picked up the clock and smashed it against her desk over and over until her hands were cut and bleeding and the clock was mashed flat.
” It’s over, right? ” Delia asked. ” The joke is over. “
Alstona said quiet as a Cemetery at Midnight, ” it certainly is.”
Outside a dark cloud crossed in front of the Sun then the ground shook just a little…
And that was