I can get you a toe by 3 o’ clock this afternoon. With nail polish.

Tomorrow at 10 AM is the big earthquake drill that we’ve known about for weeks.

This morning, the boss told me to source and procure fifty miniature clocks on keychains that she could distribute to all staff tomorrow. The miniature clocks, preferably digital models with a solar panel, and maybe those kind that project the time on to a surface, but in no case should any of them cost more than one dollar each, would then be collected back from all the staff at the end of the day.

I asked why people couldn’t just check the time on their cell phones. She said that in an actual emergency, the cell phone towers might be down and then no one’s cell phone would work. I said the cell phone tower signal had no effect on a phone’s internal clock mechanism and she said, “I don’t want to hear what I don’t want to hear”.

I asked why we couldn’t tell people this afternoon that they were responsible for bringing a timepiece to work in the morning, but that suggestion was met with a stony silence.

All morning, I made these desperate phone calls to office supply houses, hardware stores, novelty shops, trophy engravers and just about everyone else in town in order to locate some tiny clocks. One of the staff called me around noon and said he’d located 40 miniature clocks on keychains at the 99-Cent Store. Although we’d be short by ten, I told him to go ahead and get them.

Those 40 miniature clocks on keychains turned out to be 31 mantel clocks. I didn’t even ask.

31 clocks playing Westminster chimes every quarter hour! In my office!!

I think I should call in sick tomorrow.


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