Charlie’s Room: The Clock

Isaac shuffled his feet as he walked to his car. Work had been crazy today. He was so tired. Perhaps it was a night to pick up pizza on the way home? That sounded nice.

He started to turn his key in the lock when he realized that the doors were already unlocked. That was really strange. He looked under the car and through the windows. No one was hiding and nothing was missing. However, there was a clock sitting innocently on the passenger seat that hadn’t been there before.

Isaac had parked in front of that shady antique shop. He looked over at it with narrow eyes. It was closed and the windows were dark. Ah well, what harm could a clock do? And this one was such a cheerful shade of blue. It would be perfect for Charlie’s room.

Still feeling slightly suspicious, he checked it over carefully when he arrived home. It didn’t have hidden compartments or hidden teeth, but it did need new batteries. He had some in his desk drawer. First, he needed to find the coupons and go pick up some pizza.

He returned home half an hour later. He left the pizza in the kitchen and dug through his desk drawer. He took the batteries to Charlie’s room.   It just took a moment to put the batteries in. Tick tick tick tick tick.   Well, it seemed to work just fine.

Isaac found the little dials for setting the time and turned the clock over.   It was nearly correct. He just had to set it back a half turn or so.   He flicked his wrist and turned it a little too much. Oops.

He was about to fix his mistake when he heard someone come in the front door.   Didn’t Charlie have a swim meet today? Marianne and Charlie shouldn’t be home for at least another hour. He set the clock down and walked out into the hall.

And nearly ran into himself, striding down the hall holding a bright blue clock. “Aaaaah!” his other self said.   Isaac jumped back and clutched at his chest. His other self held the clock in front of himself as a shield.

The clock wasn’t ticking and the time was wrong. “Have you picked up the pizza yet?” Isaac asked.

“What?” his other self said.

“I think the clock sent me back in time. I just set the time after I picked up the pizza,” Isaac explained.

His other self set the clock down and backed away from it. “I haven’t picked up the pizza yet. Is it safe for you to talk to me? Won’t that mess up time or something?”

“It wasn’t on purpose and it’s too late now. What should we do?” Isaac asked.

“Well, how far in the future are you from?” Past Isaac asked.

“About an hour,” Isaac said.

“Then let’s go pick up the pizza. You can explain on the way. And wait in the car. Do you know where the coupons are?” Past Isaac said.

So, Isaac and Past Isaac went and picked up the pizza while Isaac explained.   And then waited in the car while Past Isaac went into the shop.

“Do you think if I mess up setting the clock too there will be three of us?” Past Isaac asked. He put the pizza on the kitchen counter.

“If you don’t, will there be a time paradox?” Isaac asked.

“Maybe I just won’t remember any of this,” Past Isaac said.

“What if I put the time back to the correct time and just finished my journey,” Isaac said. “I think that could work.” They walked down the hall and stared at the cheerful blue clock on the floor.

“Maybe. It’s all a little strange,” Past Isaac said.

“Should we give the clock to Great-Aunt Bethyl and her friends?” Isaac asked.

“Is it safe to have anyone messing around with time travel?” Past Isaac asked.

“You’re right,” Isaac said. “Do we have a big enough shoe box?”

“Yes, the one for boots that Marianne used for the craft paint. It’s on the garage shelf,” Past Isaac said.

“I’ll transfer the paint to one of those clear storage containers from the kitchen,”Isaac said.

“Much better for storing the paint anyways,” Past Isaac said. “You can see what’s in the box.” Reluctantly, they went into Charlie’s room.

“Off I go then. Does this mean I’ll never see you again?” Isaac asked.

“I am you,” Past Isaac said.

“Sort of. You’re me without the coming back in time which won’t happen now,” Isaac said.

“I’m still not sure how that works,” Past Isaac said.

“I wonder if this is what it’s like to have a twin. I always wanted a brother, you know,” Isaac said.

“I know.” Past Isaac said. “If I’m still around to remember this, I’ll miss you.”

“I’ll miss you too,” Isaac said. He gave himself a quick hug, and then he picked up the clock. “Goodbye,” he said. He twisted the knob carefully. Past Isaac disappeared.

Isaac sadly removed the batteries from the clock. He switched over the paint and packed the clock away carefully.   He taped up the box and used a marker to label it “Articles on Stormwater Management and Watershed Protection”.

He stored the box in the far corner of his closet shelf and left his room with a sigh. Pizza and an early bedtime tonight. Today had been a crazy day.