Kronos Got Drunk – Part One
Time is inconsiderate.
I had been staring at my computer screen for three hours. I hated everything.
“Time is inconsiderate.” I mouthed the words slowly. A wonderful place to start, if I say so myself. But it is only a start. I could not, for the life of me, remember what happens next.
“Maybe it was a time traveler,” I thought, and thumped the keys.
“Time is inconsiderate — unless you are a handsome time traveler, in which case, time is irrelevant.” Backspace, backspace, backspace. “…in which case, time is your servant.” Backspace.
“Time is a resource — a precious resource,” I think to myself. This story is due in less than 12 hours, and all I’ve done is say a few things about time; shame I’m not writing for the magazine.
Then my phone rang.
“Bill!? It was my publisher. “How’s that story coming? Has the hero saved the day, yet?” He laughed at his own joke. My publisher is an ass.
“Not quite yet,” I said. “Still working out the kinks.” I thought for a moment. “Say … you wouldn’t happen to remember the protagonist’s name, would you?” The voice on the other end laughed.
“Come on, Bill! I see plenty of stories a day, you know that! Like hell I remember your protagonist’s name!” He chuckled. “Good one, Bill.” The line clicked.
“Time is inconsiderate — especially when your publisher is a blood-sucking ass.” Backspace. “…unless you’re a blood-sucking vampire like me.” No, that definitely wasn’t how it went.
I sighed and looked to the floor on my left. A neatly swept pile of ashes looked back at me. A pile of ashes made last night, when, in a moment of drunken brilliance, my friends and I had taken it upon ourselves to see if there were tiny, miniature files inside my external hard drive by taking it apart. When no miniature files were found, we burned the hard drive as a form of protest against inexplicable technological wizardry. It is a delightful coincidence that my external hard drive also happened to be my writing hard drive. The gloriously disappointing little metal box that contained everything I had ever written; burnt to ashes. I was sure there was something poetic about that, but I was too hungover to think what. All I wanted now was to remember what the hell this story was about.
“Time is inconsiderate — and I’m a drunken idiot.” Backspace.
Why couldn’t I remember my own story? Certainly I couldn’t recall the exact words because they were lying next to me in a pile of burnt metal, but the story itself?
I called one of the friends who had helped me vanquish the evil technology.
“Bill!” He sounded nervous. “Hey, buddy! What, uh … what’s going on?”
“I’m calling about last night.”
“Ok,” said Steve. Now he sounded really nervous.
“You don’t perchance happen to remember if we backed up anything from the hard drive before we destroyed it … do you?”
“Any details would be helpful. I’m kind of in a jam here.”
The other end was silent for a moment, and then, “What hard drive, man?”
I pretended to laugh. “Ah, come on man! I know we were hammered but nobody was that bad.”
“Dude, we haven’t hung out in like a month.”
“Very funny. Do you remember any hard drive backing or not?”
“Are you alright, Billy?”
“Of course I am! Well, no! I don’t know! I lost my book when we burned the hard drive and I can’t remember a single thing about it. Just this one sentence but it’s not even the opening one. Can you help me out or not?”
“I’m sorry, Billy; I can’t help you. I definitely wasn’t there. Sure you aren’t getting me confused with someone else?”
I hung up the phone. Steve had been there; I was certain of it. I was certain of it because someone was there with a hook nose and a lip ring — Steve has a hook nose and a lip ring.
I tried calling Alex; he’d been there, for sure.
“Sorry, man — last time we hung out was New Year’s.”
Dave, Mat, Tim; none of them were at my house last night.
I looked at my computer screen. Ten hours ’til deadline.
“Time is inconsiderate.”
“You’re damn right, it is!” I shouted.
Time traveling makes for messy plot lines, so I decided to go with the vampire thing instead. I spent the next 10 hours beating my keyboard to a pulp. I sent the book to my publisher.
“This isn’t how I remember it going at all,” said my publisher on the phone.
“Me neither,” I said flatly.
He laughed, “Good one, Bill!” *click*
The publishers were happy; I was not. It wasn’t because of the hard drive — most of what was on there already had been published. It was because of the story — the story that was supposed to be published this week, but was being replaced by something I slopped together in 10 frantic hours.
“Time is inconsiderate.” Why was that the only thing I could remember? How did I spend months building an outline, characters, subplots — painstakingly put them together — and remember nothing but one (albeit a good one) sentence? And who the hell was at my house last night?
I let out a heavy sigh and headed for bed. As I stood up, a small piece of paper fell out of my lap. I picked it up.
“If you can read this, that’s very good news. Terribly sorry about this memory loss nuisance. Will contact you in the morning and explain. Sleep well. – P.” At the bottom of the note, in very small letters, it read, “P.S. Just so I know — if you can read this, maybe put a check mark on the back.”
And, because I am an author who writes about gods, magic, mythology, fantasy and adventure — primarily to satisfy my wavering belief that ‘there’s more to life than death and taxes’ — and because I was curious, I put a check mark on the back.
more by ISAAC GOLLE
photograph by Negative Space