Overt or subtle, time change changes us all.
| DEATH BY TIME CHANGE|
Word Count: 849
According to her iPhone screen, the time was 7:00 am.
"You can't prove it by me," Mary said as she reached over to hit the stop button. Her eyebrows scrunching into the bridge of her nose, she flicked on the lamp beside her and added, "I'll never get used the flipping change in time. And why should I?"
"Wha . . .?" Lying beside her, Mary's husband, Steve, raised his head off the pillow, eyes useless as a possum's at noontime. Neck swiveling on his shoulders, he spied his wife of thirty years perched on the edge of the bed, back toward him. "Honey? Is everything all right? It's still the middle of the night."
"That's it," she said. "I'm done. Being a writer, I know how to research, and research I will. When I find the moronic so-and-so who came up with the brilliant idea of Daylight Savings Time, I'm going to out the sorry sunnovagun!"
Her bare feet hit the tile floor and she grimaced. "Get out of bed, Steve. It's 7:00 am, no matter what the sun says."
"Uh, the sun isn't talking, Mary. It's still dark outside."
Mary slowly made her way to the bathroom, still muttering to herself. "I'm not the only one in this country who abhors the biannual time change," she spewed. "Am I?"
"Are you what?"
"Oh, just forget it if you can't keep up, Steve!"
Steve sat up and twisted his hips, letting his legs dangle off the bed for a few moments before sliding off. "What are you going on about, Mary?" he asked.
"I keep waiting for a candidate, any candidate, to bring up this nonsense during campaign season," she spat after slamming the toothpaste tube onto the counter beside the sink. "I don't care who it is or which party he or she belongs to--the first one to promise an end to Daylight Savings Time is the candidate I vote for in the next elections. Period!"
The Smiths had planned their picnic high on the mountain top overlooking Pecan Valley long before learning the time change would be their companion for the day. Steve thought nothing of the revelation. He would be happy as long as Mary brought along her triple chocolate brownies for dessert. Mary was a different story. Every time the time changed, but especially when they lost an hour, Mary's normally sunny disposition wandered off for a few days, leaving a quick-tempered shrew to take its place.
"I will never understand you, Steve!" she panted as she trudged after her long-legged husband, making their way up the trail leading to their favorite spot. "Nothing ever bothers you, does it?"
"You brought the brownies, right?" He stopped so suddenly she almost ran into him.
Mary squeezed her eyes closed, then opened them back up and silently moved around him.
"But you did, though. Right Mary?"
Throwing the blanket she had hauled up the mountain onto the ground in front of her, Mary bent over, planting her hands on her hips, struggling to catch her breath.
"Mary? You did bring the brownies. Right?"
Without saying a word, Mary grabbed the ice chest from Steve, threw it down in front of him, and snatched open the cover. There they lay, right where she had placed them earlier. Stacked on top of everything else so they would not be squished, Mary's award-winning brownies beckoned to her as though they were sirens summoning sailors.
Steve's mouth started to water the minute she jerked the gallon-sized bag out of the cooler.
"Life is good," he murmured affectionately, moving toward them, hands out.
"Life was good," she growled as she smashed the bag between her palms, pounding the layers of chocolatey bliss until they resembled a bag of used coffee grounds. Her scorching eyes never left his as an evil sneer escaped her lips.
Unable to contain his anger, Steve rushed Mary, his six-foot-two frame knocking her five-foot-eight figure off her feet. As the back of her head hit the grass, her size nine foot heaved upward, striking him squarely between the legs. With both hands grabbing his crotch, he was unable to prevent his body from ramming into hers with the full force of his two-hundred-and-forty-pound bulk.
In less time than it took to turn off the alarm that morning, Mary's lifeless body lay sandwiched between the grass and her dead husband, the blade from the butcher knife she had unwittingly loosed from its confines skewering them together.
Newlyweds, Anson Jones and his wife, Sherry, stumbled upon the scene an hour or so later. Choosing to ignore the clock, their picnic plans had simply slipped to a later time. It was Sunday, after all, not a regular workday. Sherry, an off-duty deputy, called her boss.
"Sheriff, it's that time again," she said, sadly shaking her head. "Yeah, that's right. Judging from the crime scene it looks like a clear case of death by time change.
"I sure wish some politician would figure it out," said Sheriff Hayes. "Them things are worse than full moons."