by Tim Kenneally
Jimmy Withers rose from bed to face another day, looked in the mirror, and sighed.
Appraising his reflection, he saw the ever-expanding waistline. The hairline retreating like a Frenchman in the heat of battle. The jowls advancing like a horde of barbarians with no regard for decency whatsoever. The bags hanging under his eyes like overripe fruit ready to drop from a tree.
Time, he realized, had not been kind to him. It had been downright cruel.
Time had treated him so badly, in fact, that he could not forgive it. His blood surged with the need for revenge.
“God damn it, time,” Jimmy said to his reflection. “I’ve had enough of your abuse.”
And that’s when Jimmy Withers decided: He would hunt down and kill time for what it had done to him.
Throwing on his clothes, Jimmy ran outside, his heart pumping in anticipation of destroying his tormentor.
Reaching the front door, he bounded down the stairs in search of his quarry.
He looked left. He looked right. But he could not find the time.
Jimmy Withers rushed down the street. In his haste, he bumped into a stranger who was idly standing on the corner, lazily whistling.
“Watch out, friend,” the stranger said.
“Excuse me,” Jimmy said apologetically. Puzzled by the man’s relaxed demeanor, he asked, “What are you doing, standing on the street corner anyway?”
“Just biding time,” the stranger answered.
“TIME?!!!?” Jimmy said. “You’ve got the time?”
“Sure,” the stranger replied.
Jimmy’s pulse raced as the stranger reached into his pocket and pulled out…
His phone. The stranger glanced down and told Jimmy, “It’s 10:33.”
“No, man!” Jimmy yelled. “Do you HAVE the TIME?”
“For what?” the stranger replied.
“I’m going to kill it!” Jimmy said.
“Big deal. I’m killing time. Everyone’s killing time,” the stranger said.
“No, you don’t understand,” Jimmy explained. “I’m really going to kill time. I’m going to WASTE it!”
“Wasting time doesn’t sound like a good idea,” the stranger said. “Can’t you spare it?”
“No,” Jimmy insisted. “I cannot spare the time!”
The stranger peered down at his phone again.
“Wow,” he said. “Just look at the time.”
“What?!!?” Jimmy yelped. “Where? Where?”
Jimmy looked left. He looked right.
But he saw nothing. Time, it seemed, had slipped away from him.
“Looks like time ran out,” the stranger said.
“Shit,” Jimmy seethed. “Where did the time go?”
Pushing the stranger aside, Jimmy continued running. And running. But as hard as he tried, he could not keep track of time.
The search went on. For decades. Time and time again, time flew.
Finally, Jimmy’s time came. But he didn’t see it coming. Because time snuck up on him.
“Gotcha,” time said as Jimmy drew his last breath. “Looks like TIME killed YOU.”