|F. A Mad Tea-Party
2. "The Mad Hatter" – Forever stuck in time! Write a story (or short poem) where your character is always stuck at 6 p.m. (<1000 words or < 31 lines)
The Mad Tailor
“What time is it?” asked the Author.
Euripides, the Phoenician tailor, extracted a large gold watch from his waistcoat pocket and consulted it. “It’s six o’clock,” he declared.
“Morning or evening?”
“Evening of course,” said Euripides. “It might be difficult to tell here in my store, but it has been growing darker for a couple of hours now. It must be evening.”
“Makes sense,” opined the author. “Where did you get the watch?”
“Funny you should ask that,” replied the tailor. “It was only three days ago that a fellow named Mascarponi gave it to me in payment for a suit I’d made for him. He claimed to be a bit short (although he looked tall enough to me) and offered me the watch instead.”
“You got scammed,” said the author. “I’ve heard of that Mascarponi guy and he’s nothing but a con artist. How could a watch be worth as much as a new suit? Why, I reckon you could pick up a piece of junk like that for no more than twenty drachma. And that ain’t gonna get you a suit worth wearing.”
The tailor grinned. “Ah, but this isn’t any old watch. It’s magic.”
“Magic? How is it magic?” the author scoffed.
Euripides dangled the watch on its chain, allowing it to turn slowly before the author’s eyes. “This watch,” he said, “can halt time. Mascarponi told me so and I know it’s true because I’ve tried it. And that’s gotta be worth a lot more than a suit.”
“You’ve tried it? How did you do that?”
“Easy,” replied the tailor. “I announced to the watch what time I wanted it to be and then pressed this little button, here.” He indicated a tiny button that the author hadn’t noticed before.
“So what time did you choose?” asked the author.
“Six o’clock,” came the answer.
“But you told me it’s six o’clock now,” protested the author. “Bit of a coincidence that it’s the same time, isn’t it?”
The tailor withdrew the watch and tucked it back in his pocket. “Well, that’s the problem. It’s six o’clock because that’s what time the watch says it is. But I never did find out how to get time moving again. Mascarponi forgot to tell me about that. Until I find that out, it seems I’m stuck at six o’clock, like the watch.”
“Have you tried pushing the button again?” asked the author.
“Of course I have. Doesn’t do anything.”
“Well, how about telling it another time and then pushing the button?”
The tailor shook his head. “And then I’d still be stuck, but in another time.”
“Hmm, I see what you mean,” mused the author. He sat thinking for a while, then rose from his chair and made preparations to leave.
“Sorry that I can’t help with your problem, Euripides, but I have to return to my lodgings, you know.”
The tailor nodded gloomily. “It’s okay,” he said. “I got me into this mess and it’s up to me to find a way out.”
The author walked towards the door but turned around as his hand touched the handle. “I’ll tell you one thing, Euripides, old man. Your watch is just broken. It broke when you pushed the button. I’m afraid you got scammed.”
He opened the door and left.
Word Count: 547