Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Time( 11/15/12)
| TITLE: You do the Crime--You'll do the Time |
By Beth LaBuff
| ~ 1st Place |
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As I wait, my vision encompasses the gray-scale concrete and dull metal in this monochromatic hallway. Illumination of the space is accomplished by recessed fluorescent lighting. “Monochromatic and fluorescent,” thirteen and eleven letters respectively. I have an obsession with words that contain over ten letters. At this moment, I’m glad that an obsession isn’t considered a disorder. It’s because of a disorder called kleptomania, eleven letters, that I’m here awaiting trial.
I’d never had an encounter with the law. Then, in my junior year at the university, my quantum physics professor introduced us to the concept of time-travel. I began spending evenings and weekends postulating and contriving a machine that could transport me through time. One year and five months after that initial concept’s fusion with my brain, I took my first journey back in time to the year 1975. Time-travel fascination escalated into obsession number two.
It was that time-travel obsession that gave rise to my kleptomania. With each excursion into the past, I had a yearning to acquire a souvenir, a proof that I’d traveled through time. So, I stole an item that was contained in the exit portal in the past. I became adept at time-travel. It nurtured my addiction. I could grab an item and return before two seconds passed on a cesium atomic clock. My disorder is kleptomania, and I have it bad . . . inordinately bad.
Passage through time became possible with the invention of the clothes dryer. It was the static build-up of tumbling clothes that became the means of my passage. The clothes dryer, located in millions of homes, was the exit portal. I could travel back through time to a date as early as the 1940’s. Some evenings, I made two or three trips, always bringing back one souvenir from each trip. I never stole more than one item at each stop; even kleptomaniacs have their own code of ethics.
On the fateful day of my arrest, the police awaited my return. As I exited the time machine, I was ordered to “Drop the sock!” I complied; they shackled my wrists. The dropped anklet was taken as evidence.
I decide to focus my thoughts elsewhere; now I fear that is a mistake as I find myself pondering the brobdingnagian pile of evidence that will be shown to the judge. Brobdingnagian, fourteen letters, means immense, enormous. I have the book Gulliver’s Travels to thank for that word. It will be that homage to my addiction, that rival of Mr. Everest that will convict me. My pile of sins is comprised of knee-highs, white bobbysocks, crew socks, toe socks in rainbow colors, and I can’t even allow my thoughts to dwell on all the argyle socks in that heap or I’ll break out in a cold-sweat.
Trepidation—the word contains eleven symbols from the Roman alphabet that describes my current emotional state. My crime spree has ended. I’m remorseful over my pilfering ways. Legal counsel assures me that rehabilitation is possible. The populace will once again be safe from the dither that’s induced when they remove a singleton sock from their dryers. I am in custody, ultimately awaiting incarceration—thirteen letters.
The cesium atomic clock in the hallway displays 10:00:00. The courtroom doors open. . .
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