there was a very large clock. It was a clock tower, really, the kind
that towers over the buildings around it and has gears inside that
would make lovely traffic circles. With how tall the clock tower
was, I suppose it wasn’t entirely surprising that a house could fit
may seem surprising was that anyone wanted to live there at all. The
clock chimed loudly every hour from sun up to sun down. The
neighboring buildings were well insulated, but the poor pedestrians
near the tower when it chimed usually complained that their ears rang
for at least an hour afterward.
was ten times worse inside the tower. The sound echoed off the walls
and multiplied until even the gears started to vibrate and hum.
Living inside the clock tower would be dangerous, unless you were
willing to leave for a short time every hour.
So, why did anyone want to live there? Rent was cheap. Very, very cheap. Since the people in the house kept an eye on the clock, they lived there for free.
rent in the middle of the city? The Smith family was willing to
overlook a few minor problems. Plus, there were no annoying
neighbors, or any neighbors at all, and rats and pigeons never stayed
long. Neither did any annoying guests.
inside the clock tower gave their parties and get-togethers a
definite time limit. Everyone learned to be punctual, very punctual.
No one overstayed their welcome twice if they stayed behind when
their hosts ran out the door, down the stairs, and across the street
before the clock started to chime.
so all was going quite well for the Smith family in the clock tower,
until one day, their mostly quiet life was interrupted by a visitor
who didn’t mind the noise at all. They had the misfortune to be
haunted by a ghost who decided that he could almost feel the
vibrations when the clock chimed. As a ghost, he missed being able
to feel things, so he decided to stay.
the hourly chiming, the ghost chattered endlessly about all the
things he missed about being alive. He was a lonely ghost, and was
delighted to find a new audience that only ran away from him once an
hour. The poor Smith family wasn’t sure that they could handle this
the rent was better than cheap. Free rent in the middle of the city
is nearly impossible to find. And the ghost wasn’t unfriendly. He
was just noisy and glowed in the dark.
got used to the ghost. After a while, his endless tales became
mostly background noise. He never stopped to listen to replies, so
he had no idea that no one was listening to him, either. The way he
glowed in the dark was fine too, kind of like a large, person-shaped
things weren’t quite back to normal. Fewer people came to visit. A
noisy ghost was a bit too much on top of the hourly evacuations. The
Smiths mostly didn’t mind.
was until the ghost invited all his friends to move in, too. That
was much less fine. One ghost didn’t make that much noise or glow
excessively. A houseful? Not so great.
though they didn’t really take up any space, the house felt crowded.
The noise level was constantly at a dull roar. The house was lit up
by the equivalent of a set of stadium lights.
you have ever tried to sleep while attending a football game and
sitting in the stands of the team that was winning, you understand
the difficulties they were facing. The Smith family decided to hold
a family meeting.
They invited the ghosts, as they would likely be attending anyway. Some of the ghosts stopped talking as the Smiths sat down at the table. Mr. Smith cleared his throat. “We would like to talk about an important problem. This house is much too noisy and too bright.” The few quiet ghosts shrugged and started talking again.
you think we could vacuum them up?” the smallest Smith child asked.
“I saw an ad for a vacuum that could vacuum up anything.”
Smiths had no carpet, so they didn’t have a vacuum. But, Mr. Smith
thought it was worth a try. The next time they ran out to avoid the
clock chiming, they bought the vacuum from the ad.
really could vacuum up everything.
their house was back to as normal as a house inside a clock can be,
they buried the vacuum in a graveyard late at night. They said
several prayers over the grave, just in case. And they returned home
to a quiet, empty house.
they lived happily ever after, rent free and ghost free. The End.