TERRY’S BIG WATCH, Part One: A Child’s Horror Story
(Not for children)
My friend Terry has a BIG WATCH. It stares at me from his wrist and scares the livin’ bejeesus outta me. Even though Terry is a big guy, it even looks big on his big wrist, it’s that BIG. TERRY’S BIG WATCH shows up in my dreams. Well, not my dreams, my nightmares! Because any dream that includes TERRY’S BIG WATCH is frightening as hell. TERRY’S BIG WATCH has a big bell inside that goes off every night at midnight and every day at noon. Stupid watch can’t even tell the difference between twelve midnight and twelve noon. But it is BIG, I must admit that.
TERRY’S BIG WATCH is as big as the moon, the full moon that is, not that skinny punk moon that lies back in its Lazyboy chair and smokes Gauloises. For you kids, those are French cigarettes. I once had a dream that TERRY’S BIG WATCH learned to smoke French cigarettes. It would sneak into the bathroom when Terry was asleep and light up. Then it started sending signals to the moon out the window. TERRY’S BIG WATCH has two hands so it sent its signals in semaphore. At 12:50 a.m., it sent U. At 2:45, it sent R. At 5:45, it sent B, and at 6:20, TERRY’S BIG WATCH sent G. TERRY’S BIG WATCH sat on the toilet in the bathroom and smirked. U R B G. Ha, ha. U Are BiG. Everybody thinks I’m big but that moon is really big. Then TERRY’S BIG WATCH went back to bed, stinking of smoke.
The next night, when TERRY’S BIG WATCH sat on the toilet smoking his Gauloises, he looked up at the moon. The moon must have five hands, TERRY’S BIG WATCH thought, because it’s signaling a PENTAGRAM. A Pentagram!? That’s the sign of Satan! TERRY’S BIG WATCH hurried back to bed immediately and never smoked Gauloises again. So now TERRY’S BIG WATCH knows what it’s like to be frightened. But it’s SO BIG, it still scares me.
TERRY’S BIG WATCH, Part Two: The Second Week of Creation
On the 8th day, God created TERRY’S BIG WATCH and said to Himself, ‘It’s about Time.’ He saw that it was Good, well pretty Good anyway, well maybe just okay, but it was definitely BIG.
On the 9th day, God created a donut. Staring at it, He said to Himself, ‘It looks good enough to eat,’ so that’s what He did and it was very Good.
On the 10th day, God created a stripper named Marcia and He said to Himself, ‘I’ve really done it this time,’ and He gave her a little push and she spun around the pole, and God said, ‘Hey, this is really Good!’
On the 11th day, God created a library book that was exactly twelve days overdue and He asked Himself, ‘How did I do that? Well, anyway, it’s still Good.’
On the 12th day, God created a library, returned the book and paid the fine, having also created a librarian and several quarters with His own head on them, and they too were Good.
On the 13th day, God received a call from the librarian who told Him His quarters were no good and God asked Himself, ‘What have I started?’ and He realized that it was a Good question. Looking at TERRY’S BIG WATCH, He said, ‘Time for a rest again’ and it was Good. He smiled to Himself, ‘Another Good week.’
TERRY’S BIG WATCH, Part Three: The Third Week of Creation
At the start of His third week, God sat with His chin resting on his fist. He checked TERRY’S BIG WATCH, like a frying pan on his wrist, and decided to get started.
“This week,” He said to no one in particular, “I’m only going to create things that are striped. I don’t know why. Do I need a reason?”
He started with a zebra but wasn’t happy with the result. It’s Good, He thought, but not Good enough.
So he tried a tiger and said, “Wow – I love the colour – that’s really Good.”
Then He made a barber pole and announced, “From now on, all barber poles will be striped. Do I need a reason?” He thought He might call Marcia the stripper in to twirl around the pole but thought better of it. “No, that’s Good enough.”
Then He created a painting by Mondrian – but he wasn’t happy with the stripes going one way and tried stripes the other way and then He realized it wasn’t striped anymore. “Well, still Good.”
He checked TERRY’S BIG WATCH. “Better hurry, week’s getting on.”
He then made himself a pair of striped pants, and had to create a mirror to see how they looked on Him. When He checked in the mirror, he decided the mirror counted as something striped, at least momentarily, so he saved himself some work. But when he saw the striped pants in the mirror, he gasped. “Gack! I look like a sixties hippie. Not so Good.”
God realized it was the last day of the week. He knew the day because TERRY’S BIG WATCH is so big it has a calendar too – not just one of those tacky digital calendars that give one day at a time but one that shows an entire year’s calendar on the face. TERRY’S BIG WATCH is that BIG.
He couldn’t think of anything striped and then he remembered. Striped Bass. “They’re striped, right?” He had all sorts of trouble with his watercolours running in the water but finally got it perfect. “That’s pretty Good.” So he took the striped bass and threw it into the sky where it swam among the stars, happy enough. Doesn’t look right, thought God. Then He smacked Himself in the forehead, nearly knocking Himself out with TERRY’S BIG WATCH. Right, of course, water. What was I thinking. I’ll put it in a lake.
God wiped his hands together. “All done.” He checked TERRY’S BIG WATCH. “Just in time.”
TERRY’S BIG WATCH, Part Four
I saw TERRY’S BIG WATCH again last night. If anything, it’s Bigger. It appears to be growing, like a waxing moon. And it shines brighter than ever. I’m still afraid of it. I used it at the dimly lit restaurant last night to help me read my menu. Just leaned a bit to my right while Terry had his own menu raised and I let TERRY’S BIG WATCH shine its light on the words: llingcod (whatever that is), salmon, pork belly.
Later I realized TERRY’S BIG WATCH had sunburned the right side of my face. Terry wore TERRY’S BIG WATCH like he was carrying an enormous machine on his arm: like the huge front wheel of a penny farthing bicycle, or the steering wheel of a Mack truck, or a frying pan so large it was used on the Western Front to fry eggs for an entire battalion at one time.
It’s still Big, TERRY’S BIG WATCH, and terrifying. It’s as if a hundred Swiss gnomes had poured out of their RV parked on the main square of a southern Italian town, climbed the church tower and disassembled the clock there. The tower clock hadn’t worked in five hundred years, its hands stuck at 11 o’clock (like the letter T in semaphore). But the townsfolk figured the clock was correct twice a day which isn’t too bad, so they never bothered to fix it.
The Swiss gnomes took the future TERRY’S BIG WATCH home to Zurich and reassembled it, but it still didn’t tick. “Junk,” they said. “Crap.” And shipped it off to New York. The Statue of Liberty saw it coming on a ship across the ocean and, being French, had an orgasm. Terry found TERRY’S BIG WATCH at a market on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and when he attached it to his thick wrist – guess what, it began to tick as if it had fallen out of Eternity into Time. That kind of magic always makes my legs shake.
TERRY’S BIG WATCH is still ticking, even when Terry sleeps, so that’s why TERRY’S BIG WATCH is still frightening (and it’s still Big too, or even Bigger maybe.)
TERRY’S BIG WATCH, Part Five
I saw TERRY’S BIG WATCH again last night. It keeps appearing out of the misty night like an apparition of frost, and I think it’s growing. (Terry’s growing too, but that’s another story.) He didn’t wear his butt-less chaps which was very disappointing but he did wear TERRY’S BIG WATCH. There it was, clear as black on white. Not even digital this time but the old analog deal. It had teeth too, like the duck hearts we ate.
Duck hearts; now there’s a subject worth biting into. Listen closely: there’s a duck heart still beating inside TERRY’S BIG WATCH. It’s marinating in Time, like all of us.
Look, there’s a duck passing overhead. I’m feeling empty-hearted. Terry looks at TERRY’S BIG WATCH. It’s one minute to midnight. God has disappeared from this story. It’s well past the first week of creation. Terry checks the calendar on TERRY’S BIG WATCH. The pages keep turning. Maybe it’s the last week of creation. I see a long nap in all our futures.
But, luckily, TERRY’S BIG WATCH always makes me laugh. It’s so damn big. It’s one big laugh, like a ponytail on an old hippy, who keeps spinning like a dervish trying to catch that whip of hair as it passes overhead, like terry’s big watch, in which the hour hand is trying to catch the second hand (or vice-versa) as it spins through Time, faster and faster, but we’re so drunk on duck hearts we don’t know if it’s spinning into the future or the past. We’re all dancing, dancing like Fire Monkeys on Chinese New Year, firecrackers going off in our pants.