1742. A chiming tale

Conceptia had this thing about ten o’clock. She had a clock that chimed, and one day, just as she discovered her cat had died, the clock chimed ten. After that she couldn’t bear for the clock to chime ten and, of course, it would do so twice a day.

She took the clock to a clockmaker and asked if he could remove one of the chimes when it hit ten, so that it simply chimed nine instead. He said it might be possible. Just leave the clock with him and he’d see what he could do.

The clockmaker phoned Conceptia to say the clock was ready to be picked up. Her request had been achieved! Conceptia took the clock home. (Perhaps it should be pointed out that the reason Conceptia kept the clock at all was because it had been her late dearly-loved grandmother’s clock).

The first time that ten o’clock arrived Conceptia listened (and counted) with relief. It chimed nine times only! But come one o’clock and, although it chimed just the once, Conceptia thought that nine plus one equals ten. And two plus eight. And three plus seven. And four plus six. And five plus five. The only safe numbers that didn’t reek of sad cat memories were eleven and twelve. Then Conceptia thought that the one missing chime at ten o’clock if removed from eleven in fact equals ten. And for it to miss the tenth chime twice in a day meant twelve minus two.

Every chime of the clock throughout the day reminded Conceptia of her dead cat. Even though she now had another cat, called Fluffy, she still missed Muggins terribly.

Things came to a head when the clock fell off the shelf in an earthquake and shattered to pieces. (It was only a minor earthquake but enough for the clock to wriggle off its shelf).

When it is said that “things came to a head” it did so literally. The falling clock landed on Conceptia’s head just as she was bending down to pat Fluffy. As the saying now goes for a person a bit hard up for common sense: They’re one chime short of ten o’clock.

35 thoughts on “1742. A chiming tale

  1. badfinger20

    Excellent Bruce… I will have to use this now along with…Your cornbread is not done in the middle, a brick short of a load, Not the brightest light in the harbor, and not the sharpest tool in the shed.

    I may not be the brightest bulb in the box but…If you ever package all of your short stories in a book…I’ll buy it, Bruce…that I’m serious about.

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. Bruce Post author

      Personally I feel like a nutcase in search of fruit cake. Thanks for the kind comment. I worry that all of the stories would unfortunately take a tome of several thousand pages. I thought of putting out a series of small books- say 50 stories each – that could be put in waiting rooms – e.g. at the doctor’s or dentist’s or any appointment waiting room. The problem is, I don’t actually know how to go about doing it!

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      1. badfinger20

        I like that one…that is in the arsenal now.

        Yes it probably would be a coffee table book come to think of it because of the sheer volume.

        That is a great idea and a good way to get them out. It’s the same spot new bands are stuck in. They can record an album…thats the easy part…it’s the physical product and distribution.
        Ebooks I would think wouldn’t be hard but getting paid for them probably would be.

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    1. Bruce Post author

      The only person I’ve ever sent anything to was to send my novel to a big time publisher in New York. He phoned me four times and kept the MS on his desk for 8 weeks. I was so excited that I’ve never sent anything to anyone else. And besides, these days they look at how many followers one has on Facebook – an I don’t belong to Facebook, or Twitter, or Linkedin or any of the others.

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. observationblogger

        Yeh, you must have been thrilled with the publisher’s interest. So why didn’t that pan out? Is it because you weren’t on social media?
        I bookmarked your novel ‘A Passing Shower’ to read. Ideally I would like to read it on an e-reader (PDF compliant and mobi) since I do not like reading long passages on the computer screen.

        Liked by 1 person

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        1. Bruce Post author

          The publisher in the end said that he didn’t know how to market it! It was a bit “different” although he would’ve done it if he could find a co-publisher, i.e. another publishing company so the to of them join resources for the publication.
          The chapters are quite short. There is a pdf version online – link on the novel page somewhere.

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  2. umashankar

    Now that is a haunting, if beautiful lesson from the story. The predicament of the protagonist reminded me of the plight of a character from a surrealist story, which is why I am hugely relieved at her swift passing.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Bruce Post author

      It’s funny you say that about a surrealist story. When I started to write this I thought I would post a week of surreal stories – a sort of Salvador Dali Week. But nothing came to fruition and I returned to a state of firm reality.

      Liked by 1 person

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        1. Bruce Post author

          There’s a story by Jorge Luis Borges in his collection of stories called “Ficciones” in which the man condemned to death the next morning spends the night before imaging everything horrible about it knowing that the future is never what we imagine.

          Liked by 1 person

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                1. Bruce Post author

                  I’m not sure – it’s pretty bizarre. The man to be executed prays that he will finish his novel, and after the firing squad pulls the triggers the bullets are frozen in the air (along with a bumble bee) while he finishes the novel in his head. When he finishes-WHOOMP!

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