The Control Room

Parliament Clock

“Father,” the grunt at the computer console said, “The work day is about to begin in the Eastern Time Zone. Your orders?”

Ned adjusted his glasses and smiled as wide as his taut, wrinkly skin would allow. “Let’s see, let’s see… ah, trying to make it through the day in a good mood so you can get home and spend time with your family? I don’t think so! Slow it down!”

The grunt at the computer input a few commands into the console. “All done. Early indications are that people are already dragging their feet.”

“Excellent,” Ned said. “What else have you got for me?”

“Well, we’ve got a birthday party kicking off in London. Shall I run interference?”

“Do I want you to run interference?” Ned ran his fingers through his long white beard. “Do I want you to run interference? Hmm. Hmm. Of course I want you to run interference! Speed that up! I want that party to be over before they know it.”

The grunt clicked away at the keyboard. “Okay. That party should be speeding up.”

“Excellent. Can we check in on the Eastern Time Zone?”

“Yes, Father, it looks as though people are miserable.”

“Wonderful!” Ned cackled. “Can we pipe in audio?”

The grunt turned a dial on the console and a man’s voice came over the speakers. “I can’t believe it’s only eight thirty. I thought at least an hour had passed, but when I looked up at the clock only ten minutes had passed. This day is going to drag and drag and drag and drag. This sucks.”

Ned doubled over and wailed with delight. “What about the party? Please give me audio.”

A few twists of the dial and another voice came through the speakers. “Aw, man, I can’t believe it’s time to get going already. I don’t know where the time went. I did have a lot of fun even if it was short.”

“So wonderful. So wonderful and juicy,” Ned said. “What else do you have for me?”

The grunt scanned the screens. “Well, there’s a woman who is trying to work out, mow the lawn, take her mother out to breakfast and pay some bills all before noon. Should I let it slide?”

“Absolutely not. Not on my watch. She only gets enough to do two of those activities. Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir, and before we continue do I have time to run to the bathroom?”

Ned look down at the minion. “Normally you get three minutes to run to the bathroom. With the negative multiplier added, you’re down to two minutes and five seconds. Subtract the time I’ve been talking and you’re down to one minute fifty-nine seconds. Fifty-eight. Fifty-seven…”

The grunt jumped out of his seat and ran out of the control room.

photo by: Aldaron

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