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Killing Time August 9, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Health & Wellness, People, Word Play.
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God, how she hated waiting.  

Killing time. 

Sophia reached for the travel brochure on the coffee table, glanced at the date on its cover, and realized it must have been sitting there, killing time, for most of the past decade.

She tossed it back on the tabletop and reached into the candy bowl for a Werther’s caramel . . . wondering how long the confection had been biding time with the ancient travel brochure.

On second thought . . . she tossed it back into the bowl with a plunk.

Restless, she glanced at the stuffed moose head staring down at her from over the fireplace.

Frozen in time.  Eyes unblinking.

What in the hell inspires someone to become a taxidermist, anyway?

Maybe they like the idea of stopping time in its tracks?


From a distance, she heard the tinny plunk plunk plunk of a toy keyboard wrestling with a melody that tickled the corners of her mind.

Before Sophia could put a name to the notes, she flew back in time to her Great Aunt’s house, where fragrant bars of lavender soap greeted visitors as they stepped into the sparse but tidy Powder Room.

Across time, she heard Aunt Ethel singing softly to herself in the living room as she inserted the key to wind the grandfather clock that marked time in the corner:

. . . grandfather’s clock was too tall for the shelf so it stood 90 years on the floor . . . it was taller by half than the old man himself though it weighed not a penny weight more . . .

Emerging back into the empty waiting room, the scent of lavender faded, as did Aunt Ethel’s voice, but the melody remained.

Sophia listened to the staccato rhythm as a young but determined musican tapped out the tinny tune in an adjacent apartment:

Plunk.  Plunk.  Plunk.

Each strike of the keyboard ticked off another second.  And another.  And another.

Sophia drummed her fingers, mindlessly keeping time with the beat as the second hand on her watch swept round.  And round.  And round.

The melody shifted, replaced by another familiar refrain:

. . . and another one gone . . . and another one gone . . . another one bites the dust . . .

A woman in purple scrubs with spiked hair opened the door to the waiting room and smiled apologetically.

“Sophia . . . sorry for the wait.  We’ll get you started on your chemotherapy in just a few more minutes.”

Great.  More time to kill . . .

As if it wasn’t already in short enough supply.

* * * * *

Poets & Writers Prompt:  Write a story in which one of the following objects triggers a flashback: a child’s keyboard, a bag of Werther’s Original Caramels, a taxidermied animal, a bar of lavender soap, or an old travel brochure.