Cynthia J. McGean
Excerpt from Clockface
a short story
by Cynthia J. McGean

	On my thirty-ninth birthday, an eight-foot-tall nightmare boogied out of my closet and into my bedroom. It had an enormous, flat, clockface head that bobbled back and forth on its grotesque, undersized torso. Numbers floated across its pale white face like bits of breakfast cereal in a bowl of milk while gleaming lead-crystal eyes flashed on and off above a button nose. It leapt out into the daylight wiggling its puny arms and legs like a costumed character at Disneyland.
    Once I got over the shock, I couldn’t help laughing. “Nice one,” I said to the universe at large. I mean, hell, let’s give the devil his due - or the goddess, or the cosmic forces, or whatever floats your particular spiritual boat. Childless woman nearing 40 meets a gigantic clock? It was either a great joke or just pathetic.
    Mind you, I hadn’t even been thinking about having kids or turning 40 or any of it. Just the opposite. After my fairly directionless twenties, life had finally taken off. So what was this freaking clock doing blocking my way?
You have to understand. I’m a practical woman. My furniture is laid out in straight lines. My walls are clean and simple. Headlights burn out on the car, I get ‘em fixed. I’m unhappy with my bank, I complain. I don’t have time for nonsense. And a giant clock monster qualifies as nonsense.
    Besides, I was late for work. I figured if I just ignored the thing, it would disappear. So I tried to walk out the door, only Clockface wouldn’t move. I tried pushing it out of the way. No luck. I faked left, then right, but wherever I turned, it shimmied over to block my path. The damn thing demanded a confrontation.
    “Fine!” I announced. “You wanna play that way? Bring it on!” I grabbed my briefcase in one hand and my favorite leather belt in the other and I faced off with it, waving my dress-for- success weapons and screaming, “You want a piece of me? Huh?” I snapped the belt to bring home my point.
    Clockface lowered its head and charged me. Charged me! Damn thing butted me right in the stomach! Laid me out flat. I doubled over from the pain.
Clockface shot its arms in the air as if it had just scored a touch-down, and did a little samba dance. Then it pulled a chair right up into the doorway, kicked back and lit a cigarette. End of Round One. Advantage, Clockface.
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CLOCKFACE copyright 2009 Cynthia J. McGean.  Revised 2011.  All rights reserved.