Thursday, September 21, 2006

More of "The Time Factory


So you want to know, when time hit the fan, when the turn whirled, when the what when where, when the works went down. Well I’ll tell you. It was Thursday, pay day, when time is money, and money is time. And we stood in line, at 5 to 5, waiting for our per diems. Got to the front and I said “the envelope please.” This was the award ceremony for our meritorious service. I stuffed it in my shirt pocket, stepped quick to the time clock. And punched my card, out of there. Past the guard, through the detector, a quick scan. He says “you’ve been dusted today.” I say “I was down in it.” That was the usual, working with time machinery, sometimes you just get a little dust on you. Micro seconds, nanoseconds, not even the blink of an eye. Nothing to be found. Nothing to report, sir. Out the door. Work was over, business to attend to. (Half ran to the lot, ran to my Accurate “the on-time car” they call them. Some second shifter was pulling in next to me.) Too close to being late. I’m thinking “At that rate, you’ll soon be living in the camps, out of place, and out of time.”

All right, so I had a little business on the side. A few weeks before they had sent me back to the furnaces. Mask on, steel toed shoes, silver suit. Dressed to the hilt. Back in the works, where all turn to the furnace, the ore heated and distilled into 10 foot casks, lifted up on a chain, and the molten time poured into solid slabs. (It’s dangerous, but I loved it.) To see 10,000 years, on fire and smoking and glowing red, a thick liquid. And the hot spray is luminous, and the time heat just comes at you likes its alive. Well the furnaces were turned off though, this time, and starting to cool, and the bosses were none to happy about it. Something had jammed, a gear out of whack, and I was sent in to reconnoiter, to confirm, and to fix, as quick as possible. A time furnace is a simple thing, need be, must be, in the surge of time, nothing can survive; it’s just the fact that sooner or later, in time, with time, something happens. I found the problem in seconds, some hot time had splashed out when the vat was poured and hardened on the gears. Pulled the hammer out of my belt, gave it a whack, and the blob just knocked off, clean as a whistle. Just a pretty little piece of time. Scrap in the works. Well I got the job done quick, giving me a chance to look around at the inside of the furnace. You don’t get a chance to go into the time burn often. So I check out the bricks, turn round and round, and I see something glowing in a little crack. My heart started beating a little quick there, and I knew I shouldn’t but I went ahead and did, reached in with my glove, scraped around the side of the crack with my fingers, cleaning it around the edges, and pulled out a handful of mist. It was time fiber.

So sometimes I can’t sleep at night, and I start to think thoughts, crazy thoughts, about what was here before the time factory when they say the land was covered with trees and what will happen when the factory is gone. But that’s crazy talk because the factory was here always and will be here forever and will rise over the valley like a stone and steel castle until the end of time. But then I’m thinking, will time run out when we’ve bulldozed the hills and mountains and filled in the valley with slag. Or maybe like they say that there will be a new factory that will melt down this one and all of the land and all of the wasteland and we will be in some great furnace as fiery molten time. That’s crazy talk, I’m starting to think like a terrorist. So I turn on the TV. Like once I saw a ten most wanted. And they showed the number one most wanted, that crazy white haired old man. He was saying something so crazy like. “from now on, space by itself, and time by itself, have vanished into mere shadows and only a kind of blend of the two exists in its own right.” But then our president the time keeper, came on. His father was president, his son will be president, and he will keep the clooks in line, the clocks on time, on his time, on our time forever and ever, amen, for all whens. He set the record straight. We will always fight the forever war. We will win the forever war.

So with the fiber, spun time, I figure when the furnace broke down and splashed, a vent opened, the air rushed. It blew the hot drops of time in a finer than fine mist, into wispier than spider webs or the puffs of a dandelion and it somehow collected in the crack and cooled. One in a million, freaked conditions. The bosses say it’s a myth, no ones ever seen it, it’s dangerous, and it’s illegal. The old eyes say seek and you will find. And I had some on the fingers of my glove, cool and sparkling, with almost black invisible glow. I rolled it up in a little tuft and put it in my pocket. Imagine time spun out as fine as can be, take almost no time at all, take one second and heat it and melt it and stretch it out to 100 million years. Imagine arsenic, asbestos, Damascus silk, gold, morphine, belladonna, nitro. Neck it down to a Planck length. Imagine a civilization, rising, thriving falling, the loves and lives and failures and happiness of millions, families and mothers and sons and fathers and daughters, generations of thought and dreams, all melted down to fiery burning surge and then stretched out in a fine gossamer thread towards forever.

It was in my pocket. Time is money, money is time, and this was worth something. But in its being so fine, I would be having just little time on my hands, less than dust, and so make it past the guard.

I pulled up at the club, the lot was full, it was always full, but a spot opened up and the neon sign above blinked NOW, and blinked again NEW reflecting over the chrome and polished vehicles lined up. I paid my fee, and showed my pass, and entered into a room of flashing lights, music, sound, in time. The music was always new, like something you had never heard before, that spoke to you, that sang a name in a song, and you wanted to change your name, be the name, and everyone was the new name and the new now and you drink the time wine and style and your eyes are always full and color and motion and light. And when you were there it was like you were always there and rising and the night would never end. And you want to know, why I, your eye, was there.

Have you ever done a time head when she is doing time. And have her come into her hours as you are coming into her. Like her lips and body have a forever pleasure, and it’s like she is melting into you and the time is oozing out of her skin all over her body onto yours. That is why your eye was there, under the flash and color and sound.

So I am, and always have been, Mr. On Time, and I work for my time, and I do my own time, and so, I do a little business on the side, and search out at the time clubs, but if you are in on the need to know, the what and why and when and where, how it all went down, how it all came down. I can tell you the facts. I can’t tell you the whys, all I can tell you is that …..

I saw her across the room, with her long dark hair and her dark eyes looking straight at me so intense like she was looking right through me and I stared back at her like she was a gypsy vision and it was like in her face time stopped.

I thought she was a time head.
I walked toward her and she did not turn away.
“Do you have enough time for me”
She said “Any where, any place, any time.”
She said “take me to the overlook.”

And we drove there in the night, through the traffic, out into the wasteland, onto a broken road. We got out, climbed over an old stone fence. The ground was black stones and slag, and dust rose up in little patches and the stones crunched underfoot as we walk in the glow of the night clouds. And the stacks in the valley were flaming and the clouds glowed a luminous glow and we stood on slag hill and the air blew warm, with the scent of the smelters like a clear acid.

james honzik

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