In the beginning…

…God had an existential crisis, caught between the generalized theories of science and religion*, and decided to call it a day. It didn’t know what that meant, of course, but it knew that what followed next would be better than watching the rest of life mess things up. And possibly a burrito.

That’s a theory, anyway. I can’t say it’s as grand as the ones that involve fire and lightening and sundering and all that shebang, but y’know. There’s enough of those about already. I’m not really into blockbusters. Give me a talking penguin on roller-skates over Bruce Willis any day of the week. That’s entertainment.

Now, where was I…? Oh right. Yeah. The diary. How could I forget. The bloody diary. I hate diaries. Life’s too boring for diaries. You might as well start writing a novel instead. If you literally wrote down everything, you’d have a lot of unpleasant paragraphs describing the sort of events they thankfully neglect to mention in most novels. I have yet to discover the bit in Lord of The Rings that explains how the Hobbits can use toilets typically designed for someone twice their size. Perhaps Frodo didn’t have exclusive rights to the One Ring after all…

Again, I’m going off topic. But that sort of proves my point. I don’t get diaries. Unless you’re a wizard, or a time-traveler, or a extraterrestrial magical fairy king, why bother with describing what you had for lunch each day?

I had chips. CHIPS. Not dragon tartar, or fried unicorn eggs. Just your average bag of vinegar-soaked, salt-embellished, grease-covered potato chips. I bought them for £1.40 from a man on Brighton pier, who asked me what the time was. I said I didn’t know. He suggested getting a watch. I told him I didn’t need one.

He then asks me why I didn’t need one. That irritated me. What’s it to do with him if I don’t wear a watch. I’m not a tennis player, for pog’s sake. So I ask him what’s with the hat and the fancy coat? Was he a magician heading to a gig at the North Pole, who’d needed to offload some chips on the way there? I demanded to see the rabbit. Knowing the temperatures there, that hat must have been sealed to his head and equipped with an oxygen tank.

He laughs. Says it’s his thing. And there is no rabbit, unfortunately. But he can get one, if I like. I decline the offer. I’m not hungry enough, and probably never will be after the last time I tried rabbit. There are things crawling around at the bottom of the ocean that taste better than rabbit. Maybe that’s why the first man decided to use the second rabbit as a prop for the first magic trick, having eaten the first rabbit and realized that there had to be a better use for the things.

Anyway, the stranger then asks again why I don’t need a watch. He says they’re useful for keeping track of time. And that’s when I realize something’s not quite right with this man.

Picture this. He’s about, oh, 5” 8′ or something. Has a slightly faded black top hat on his head, like a camp police officer. Wears a long coat. Has short brown hair, blue eyes. Stinks of ozone.

His heart beats in doublets. The gap is slight, ever so slight, but I know. I’ve listened to a human heartbeat since as long as I can remember. No human has a heart beat like that.

I ask him why. It sounds dumb, but I’m curious now. I’m also getting hungry again. I wonder if he’ll still get me a rabbit. Given enough tartar sauce, and a bottle of something strong to wash it away with afterwards, even rabbit can become marginally edible. And that’ll do for now.

He smiles, and says he’ll answer my question if I answer his. Why don’t I have a watch?

Finally, I give in. I’m bored now. I’ve had my chips, I’m still hungry, and this man looks as if he might be capable of getting me some rabbit.

I tell him I don’t need to keep an eye on time. Time isn’t relevant unless I want it to be.

And my phone has a clock on it for moments like that.

W

*One suggests God created a big explosion and whatever was left became the universe, the other suggests God was the big explosion and bits of it became the universe. In every dimension of every reality, there is at least one line of philosophy  claiming that the very first thing to exist was sheer boredom.

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