This really, really, fucking sucks.
I rolled over again and looked at the clock. 23:13. Great. Just fucking great.
I rolled away so my back faced the clock. I hated that thing. “REQUIRED BY LAW IN EVERY BUILDING,” that’s what the bottom of it said. And it looked like shit, so it wasn’t like it fit in everywhere.
You know, I’ve done my research in my sleepless nights: there used to be a time when clocks had numbers all the way around, and words on clock faces were a joke. In a way, they were right and wrong.
I stared at the wall for a while then looked at the clock again. 23:15. How… Just… Whatever.
The word “Sleep” that stretched longways four times between 22 and 6 seemed to taunt me. I’d been an insomniac for years now, so it was almost a personal insult. Like a command it was giving me that I could not follow. It didn’t help that the 6am alarm felt like the punishment for my disobedience.
My mind drifted to finding a black market baby clock somewhere. Since babies can’t sleep through the night, they designed a clock you could adjust the alarm on in a number of ways. Once the death rate started to outdo the birth rate, the government got a lot more lax towards new parents, even with their strict clock system.
That’s the problem with a black market clock: the government is overwhelmingly strict. If I had one, the fine was around $100,000. I’d done a lot of research when I was supposed to be sleeping.
I kept rolling over and over, trying to get remotely comfortable. Back before the clock legislation, I could have spent time online, talking to people or playing games. Now, the internet shuts off at 21:00 local time so everyone has to go to bed. I had books around here somewhere, but I never felt like reading. Even if I did, lights out was 22:00. And lights out meant all technology but air conditioning and refrigerators.
And the fuckin’ clocks.
You know, even if the internet was up and running, there’d be no one to talk to. Everyone had gotten so used to the clock system that there weren’t any people who would get online past 21:00 anyway. It was a pain in the ass all around.
Great. I guess I’m not sleeping if I’m going down this path.
I sat up and rubbed my eyes, hoping that might make me feel a little more tired through some back-asswards logic. It never worked.
All my life was planned around the clocks. Road trips were interrupted because the car would automatically pull into a nearby restaurant at 12:15 and wouldn’t turn on after 21:00. Nothing was planned that could interfere with 12:15 or 18:15. I once heard that live music events were popular, but they haven’t taken place in decades because some senator decided that this legislation “for the health of the nation” was worth a destruction of personal freedom (really, he was just happy that his next few reelections were paid for up-front).
I had considered leaving the country, but that wouldn’t work. Half of the EU was considering changing to the clock system, as well as Canada, Australia, and basically any country I could go to without having to learn another language.
I yawned deeply and settled back into bed. Regardless of my opinions, it was how things were. I had to live with that.
I rolled over to look at the clock again. The last thing I saw as my eyes drew closed was the clock, shining 23:30 at my face.
Drew Schackmann is a contributing writer for Gutai-Pravda Assembly. You can contact him on Twitter.
© 2015; David “Drew” Schackmann, Jr.