01 March 2013

#fridayflash: rotation

Cheryl startled awake, jostling the bed. Beside her, Mark lifted his head off the pillow and raised his eyebrows.

"Sorry," she said. "I thought it was Monday for a second."

"Not yet," Mark said, wrapping an arm over her. "Twenty more minutes."

"So long as the baby doesn't wake up."


"Where are you going tomorrow, anyhow?"

"Um..... Monday... Monday is Sydney."

"Ooooh, nice, bring some sunshine back for me."

Mark kissed her shoulder. A thin wail rose from the nursery.

"So much for twenty more minutes," said Cheryl, sliding off the bed and pushing her feet into her slippers.

"I'll start breakfast," said Mark, sitting up.

Five minutes later, Cheryl entered the kitchen with baby Jeremy on one hip. Mark had set the table and was pushing pieces of bacon around the frying pan.

"Look at that sunset," said Cheryl. "I thought with the shift last night that we'd be right into evening now."

"Not yet," said Mark. "The days are getting longer too, lucky for us. I wouldn't want to be in South America right now. Going to be a while before they see the sun again. Mind if I turn on the radio?"

"I'll get it," said Cheryl, stretching out an arm to turn the kitchen set on.

"And at the chime, it's 7:30 in the morning, all over the world," said the announcer. "Remember folks, we're on global time now. Hope you all set your clocks back twenty minutes before you went to bed last night."

Mark snorted. "Right, like anyone has a manually-set clock anymore. It's like my grandfather always said, 'there's an app for that.'"

"What is an app, anyhow?"

"Short for appliance, I think. You know. A package."

"Ah. How's Jeremy's pablum doing?"

"Almost ready."

Cheryl kept the baby distracted playing peek-a-boo until the food was ready. The radio announcer mentioned global time every time he came on the air.

"Ugh," said Cheryl, pretending to steal Jeremy's nose. "It's been six months already. Surely everyone's used to moving their clocks ahead twenty minutes every Saturday night."

"Anyone who works is," said Mark, putting the food on the table and handing Cheryl a bowl of pablum. "I bet there's still a lot of retired stiffs out there who are calling this Saturday night. Or whatever day we'd be on using the old multiple time zones. We just need to get groceries today, right?"

"Right. I was thinking of 'porting to Seattle, shop the Pike Place market. They'll still get three or four hours of sunlight there. Then we can come back here for lunch and it'll be dark here, so Jeremy'll go down for his nap better."

"Makes sense," said Mark, taking a bite of toast. "So long as the place isn't completely choked with people."

"Why don't we go as soon as we're done eating, and leave the dishes 'til we get back?"

"Might work."

Cheryl added milk and sugar to her coffee and took a sip. "Before I forget again... your Mum called yesterday while you were at Frank's. She wants us to go there for dinner."

"What, tonight? I know you're still on mat leave, but I have to work tomorrow."

"It's this big local festival. The first bottles of wine are ready from last autumn's harvest or something."

"Seattle and Provence in one day — is Jeremy going to be up to all that travelling?"

"If he gets his nap in between we should be all right. Global time, five PM is five PM no matter where you are."

"So long as we don't stay too late."

"Well, some of us have to get to bed early," said Cheryl, steering a spoonful of pablum into Jeremy's mouth. "Don't we?" The baby laughed. "You didn't have any other plans, did you?"

Mark shrugged. "Just house stuff. Don't need a lunch tomorrow, they're bringing in sandwiches." He splashed some hot sauce on his eggs. "Okay, Seattle, then back here, then France. Sounds like a nice Sunday."


  1. Time zones freak me out, so in a way global time would suit me.

    I liked the fear of Monday line and the was they're so matter of fact about teleporting. People were once excited by aircraft and cars, and central heating!

    1. You mean like you get bad jet lag, or...?

      I wish people would get more excited about aircraft, cars, and especially central heating -- they might appreciate them more.

  2. Interesting concept golbal time and being able to teleport to do your shopping where the sun is still shining. ^_^ You create some interesting worlds Katherine. ^_^

    1. Glad it was interesting! A certain number of people live like this today -- not the teleportation part, but the world-manipulation part.

  3. for all the futuristic drive of instant travel & unified time zones, the rhythms of a newborn baby still cannot be regulated and undermine all the best laid plans for use of time!

    marc nash

  4. ... by which I meant to add it's usually the woman who bears the brunt of the disturbed timeline not the man and depressingly that seems to be the case in this future scenario!

    1. I wondered if anyone would spot that... at first I had an older child that could pipe up and provide their own opinions, but then I remembered I did that with the last teleportation story.

    2. Should add though, at least Mark tends to breakfast and doesn't leave Cheryl to do everything!

  5. This was much quieter fiction than I'd expected. I figured the baby would be an Eldritch beast of some kind. Instead the whole notion of home life was downright cute!

    1. LOL nah, the Eldritch beasts are in the knitting witch ninja world...

  6. I suppose instant transport would eventually necessitate some kind of global time. But Marc's right, babies & small children will continue to sleep on their own schedules!

    So, who's the lucky ones who don't have to change their time at all?

    1. Nobody -- the whole world falls back 20 minutes every Saturday night. I picked that because it takes somewhere around a year and a half to run through the whole 24 hours of a cycle. That way no-one winds up in perpetual darknes, at least in theory -- I wouldn't want to live near the poles in a time-keeping scheme like this.

  7. I often wondered what would happen if everyone was on the same time zone! Really cute sci fi family story.


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