Story Go Round 10/25/2008, #3

Oddman Out

(post-titled by Amber)

Oddman had come in and out of my life like a strange dream, but he changed my waking world inexorably. It all began one night after dinner - my frozen entree having not gone down well, I retired to the recliner, a hodge podge of leftover desserts and half drunk drinks surrounding me like Indian braves on a raid, covering dressers and legrests and chairs. I always prepared for the worst. I was sucking up some chocolate-banana pudding pie with a straw when an odd aroma overtook me, filling the room swiftly and driving the cat from the room. I inhaled deeply, straining to identify it. Immediately I felt light-headed and lethargic, exactly what I had been going for with the sugar and alcohol fest. But the odor eluded my best attempts to classify it, and if anything increased steadily in potency until even I felt inclined to leave the comfort of my recliner and search out the air freshener. But before I could vacate the chair, I spied something sitting staring at me with reflective cat-eyes. It was my Cheshire alarm clock, and it seemed to host a hoard of ill-will and mischief towards me within. "Time for tears!" it hissed, at the top of the hour - but it was programmed to say "time for tea."

I swallowed nervously and struggled to rise from the chair, but my limbs had grown leaden and dull, and no longer obeyed my commands. I felt a breeze waft by me, and the hairs on my arms rose. I wished now that I had gone to bed earlier, and now lay snug in my bed, blissfully unaware, but such wishes did no good, and the term 'easy target' flashed through my mind quickly. "Time for some 'Tears for Fears'"? I said to myself brightly to counter the little fears threatening me from every side. "No," the clock responded in its tinny, microchip voice, "I said it's time for you to cry."

Instantly, I did begin to cry, great blubbering sobs that began to flow in uncomely rivers until the floor became slick. My geisha doll collection took notice and the little ladies lowered themselves from a shelf to commence skating in it. I watched in wonder while they performed great feats of grace and coordination.

My lachrymosity lessened slightly as I stared slack-jawed, when abruptly the skaters fell upon each other with daggers. I gushed anew as the little body parts flew helter skelter about the room, and my clock laughed an odd little tinny laugh before the alarm went off, startling me to my feet. I cowered away from that corner, but was drawn to it nonetheless. Peering into the shadows, I gave a cry when my brand new houseslippers came shuffling out of the dark, bare of inhabitants. They began a brisk soft shoe number in the light cast by the television.

I said to myself "This isn't happening!"

The Cheshire alarm clock responded, "A puzzle and a puddle are almost the same."

Without thinking I replied, "As are a muzzle and a muddle."

"Excellent!" cried the clock. "You have mastered the arrt of finding unintentional patterns in things. This will serve you right. It shall henceforth be your special gift, your unique contribution to the world. You shall be known as 'the odd one'! WIND ME AND DESPAIR!"

Now the corner was empty, my slippers still, my expensive dolls back in their glass curio cabinets, and I wondering what time it was now.

"Time for tea!" the clock uttered blandly.

I named that old clock before going to bed. 'Oddman' I called it, and then it broke the very next day.