While the clocks tocked

The wind chimes outside the window protested melodiously as the November wind continued to crash them against each other. The white-haired bearded man pried open his laptop and started to type, as the clock on the left ticked on the backbeat of the clock on the right.

“I should rage against this insane world and the psychopaths trying to ruin it and run it,” the old man said, not at all as ashamed of describing himself in the third person as he should be. “The problem is, I’m in a good mood. I should be tired and dragging myself to bed, but I don’t feel like sleeping. Not yet.”

What was he waiting for? He started at the stuffed snowman smiling down at him behind sunglasses and considered the question. What, indeed, was he waiting for?

“Don’t know, don’t care,” he finally decided. “Tired of waiting. Here I go.”

But go where, he wondered?

“Does it matter? A body in motion tends to stay in motion, and so this body needs to keep moving, don’t you think?” he cried, to no one in particular because no one in particular was the only other person in the room — the only other person, that is, unless you consider a 16-month-old dog a person.

This day had, in fact, marked the 16-month anniversary of the dog’s birth, so she was a few hours into the 17th month of her life. She lay in an adequate imitation of a bear rug on the floor just outside the office where he typed furiously into the night.

“There you go again with the rage and the ‘furiously,’” he muttered. “I’m not angry at all, although by all rights maybe I should be. The problem is, the only person I should be angry at is myself.”

He pondered the years he thought about saving money toward retirement but always had something else to spend his money on. He thought about his youthful resolution never to buy anything on credit and the pride he felt when he finally dug out of the monstrous hole of debt that had laid him low for literal decades.

“Yeah, but was I smart enough to roll the monthly debt payments into monthly savings payment once the cards were paid off? Nooooo,” he groaned. “I was such an idiot.”

Still, however, he could not bring himself to get angry or bemoan his fate.

“I’m in too good a mood. So sue me,” he said to no one in particular, who continued not to respond.

He looked back up at the snowman again. “You got a problem, Frosty? Why you looking at me like that?”

The snowman smiled back ominously.

“Never, ever call me Frosty again,” it said.

“Ooooh, I’m scared,” the old man said, not at all afraid, although something nagged at him that he ought to be.

All of a sudden, he lost his train of thought, yawned, and considered the time.

“You know, maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to get some sleep after all,” he said.

Somewhere in the house, a cat meowed. The wind chimes rang all night. And the snowman kept smiling.

Published by WarrenBluhm

Wordsmith and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with his wife, two golden retrievers, Dejah and Summer, and Blackberry, an insistent cat. Author of It's Going to Be All Right, Echoes of Freedom Past, Full, Refuse to be Afraid, Gladness is Infectious, 24 flashes, How to Play a Blue Guitar, Myke Phoenix: The Complete Novelettes, A Bridge at Crossroads, The Imaginary Bomb, A Scream of Consciousness, and The Imaginary Revolution.

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