Justin Skolnick lives and works in Portland.

Compensating for Lost Time

Originally posted to justin.revision8.com on in Waverly, Iowa

December Junior year I bought a clock, had my six foot roommate hang it above the closets. He unscrewed an old outlet for a hook. Collin is fascinated by timepieces. Hourglasses appear in much of his artwork. This, and his height, rendered him fit to hang the new clock.

Collin tends to provoke gravity’s spite. Once he placed my tiny plastic Francis atop the dowel his tomato plant was trained around — monk upon a pillar. Poor Francesco tumbled and lost his head.

So fell my six dollar plastic wall clock to the carpeted concrete seven feet below, frame severed, still ticking as when it hung, second hand revolving despite the dangling hour and minute. These I reset and the clock resumed time.

Forward one year. It occupied the floor of my living room, strained by an aging battery, showing unreal hours two months. When she returned I placed it top the sink recharged and time reset. It spun around its dial for days until ten to ten one night it elected to not proceed.

Sunday we returned from three hundred miles of Interstate around three, afternoon. Once through the door, my clock speaks first: “Hello, it’s 6:30.” Jenn and I are baffled.

The seconds spin, propel the minute hand around in kind. But perpetually — each morning, noon, and eve — the hour is six.

For one, I cannot wake by it, thus I tend to avoid consulting it — though I’m too lazy to fix the damn thing. And some sunny morning I may awake to boil water for tea when the things chimes, “Gee whiz, I don’t know what got into me,” each part functioning like when it was new.