Thursday, March 11, 2010
Time Slips By - #FridayFlash
Chronos threw up his hands in disgust.
"I can't find it anywhere."
Death surveyed the small mountain of printouts that Chronos was crawling through on the floor, hoping that the rumpled pieces were no longer important.
"What are you looking for, old friend?"
"You lost a whole year?" Death eyed his friend with concern. Chronos turned and glared at him.
"I know what you're thinking, but it's just a paper thing."
"Of course." Death decided that the kitchen might be a safer place to be at the moment and went rummaging through the cupboards for some peanuts. When he returned, the situation hadn't improved any.
"Why don't you ask the Fates for a copy?"
Chronos sighed. "I was saving that as a last resort."
"A stitch in time…" Death popped a peanut in the air.
"Good morning Atropos. It's nice to speak with you." Chronos gave her a weak smile, sweat running down the back of his neck.
"Don't flatter me, Chronos. Every time you contact me on this infernal contraption, I know that you've screwed up the timeline. What did you lose this time?" She tapped a giant pair of scissors on the vidscreen. He was glad he hadn't sought her out in person.
"I seem to have misplaced 1986 in my records and I was wondering if you could send me a copy?"
She swung around without answering him and enlarged the tapestry in the background. The weaves and colors shifted backwards at a dizzying rate, finally coming to rest on one section. Atropos punched a button, glared and then snipped her scissors in a menacing fashion before breaking the connection.
"That went rather well, don't you think?" Death walked back over to the desk, slapping Time on the shoulder.
"How do you figure?" Chronos mopped his forehead with the sleeve of his robe, leaving a large wet spot.
"Well, you're still here, for one thing."
"Oh. When you put it that way, I guess so. All I have left to find now is June of 1972."
"It's not on your 1972 report?"
"No. Do you remember anything about that month?"
Death rubbed his jawbone, finally shaking his skull. "Sorry, dude. Why don't we just travel back and have a look?"
"It's not the best way—"
"Would you rather call Atropos back?"
Chronos leapt to his feet. "Are you ready to go?"
The strobe lights made seeing a bit difficult. Death and Chronos stood at the back of a packed auditorium, squinting at the empty stage. The curtain rose to the tunes of School's Out.
"I'd forgotten how well you handled the sticks," Chronos murmured.
"Look at you, with that long hair and playing bass!" Death tapped his phalanges in time to the music.
"I'm going to find out why we don't remember any of this."
Chronos turned his hourglass and stopped time for the mortals before striding towards the stage. Their earlier selves quit playing, puzzled as to the interruption. Alice Cooper spun towards them instead of freezing in time. He grinned and shifted into his preferred shape, conjuring a cigar while he waited. Lucien.
"Hello, boys. What brings you from the future?"
"Why are you messing with our memories, Evil One? And, while we're at it, why are you impersonating Alice Cooper?" Chronos was appalled that Lucien would bend the timeline like this.
"I played drums for Alice Cooper? How cool is that, dude?" Death walked over to talk to himself, leaving Time to engage in a battle of wits with Lucien.
"Look," Lucien said. "Alice needed a rest and I said I'd cover for him for a few weeks. He didn't want anybody to know."
"That does not include Immortals." Chronos stood firm, mashing his finger into Lucien's chest for emphasis. "You know you can't do that. Give us our memories back."
"No need to get physical, Chronos." He swirled his cigar three times counterclockwise.
The memories flooded back; the lights, screaming fans, groupies… Chronos blushed. What a wild month they'd had.
"Thank you. Sorry about poking you. I've had a rough day."
"Had to call Atropos again, huh?" Lucien shuddered and looked sympathetic.
Chronos waited until Lucien changed back before starting the flow of time again. He and Death stayed for the concert, each reliving the moment in time. Afterwards, they stopped for a snack before returning home.
"Do you miss that kind of life?" Chronos watched his friend drumming on the table between tosses of M&Ms into an eye socket.
"Not really. Now that I remember, it was fun at the time but I wouldn't want a steady diet of it. After all, who'd want to end up looking like Keith Richards?"
Chronos laughed. "You did play some killer drums, as I remember."
"You weren't so bad on the guitar yourself. You did have some timing issues though, as I recall." Death dropped his jaw and swung his arm around his friend. "Let's get back to our own time and pull out the Parcheesi board, old man."
©2010 Laura Eno