It’s the last Friday of the year, which is hard to believe. Thanks to the #fridayflash community for helping me keep up the writing, at least sporadically, during my Evolutionary Year.
TIME IS MONEY
Henry couldn’t see what all the fuss was about time, but he was bound and determined to find some. Being only five years old, there were many subjects on which he’d only scratched the surface, but he’d heard lots about time.
He knew, for instance, that time was quick, and that, if you weren’t careful, it would pass you by without your ever realizing it. He figured if he could launch a surprise attack, he’d have a good shot at catching it. He wasn’t sure how long he spent crouched between the potted ficus tree and the sofa, but his entire left leg fell asleep, and his mom started calling him for dinner. He would try again tomorrow.
He’d also heard that time flies, so he spent the next day up in the branches of a tree with his slingshot, on the lookout for flying time. All he saw were sparrows and the occasional airplane flying high above, but he never saw anything that looked liketime.
Henry began to suspect that time was much sneakier than he’d given it credit for. Perhaps it was hiding right under his nose all this time. He ransacked the living room, pulling the cushions off the sofa, curling up the rug, and digging in the dirt that held the ficus tree. When his mom came in and saw what he’d done, she yelled, “Henry, I don’t have time for this!” Which, he thought, was exactly the point. But he knew better than to say anything at a time like this.
That night, before his parents came in to tuck him into bed, Henry had a long timeout, which gave him time to think. As his eyes drooped, one last thought surfaced: “Time is money.” It was something he’d heard one of his father’s friends say one time, when they’d all been over playing games with black and red cards, and having drinks Henry wasn’t allowed to taste.
His eyes flew open and drifted to his piggy bank. He’d been saving for a big boy bike, but maybe this was more important. By the time his parents came in to tuck him into bed, he’d made his decision. They entered to find him on the floor with the rubber disk from the bottom popped out and the pig’s contents spilled on the floor.
“What are you doing, Henry?” his father asked.
“I tried to find more time,” he said, “but it was hard. I couldn’t do it.”
His parents looked perplexed, and Henry knew they didn’t understand. He sighed and gathered the few bills and coins from the floor.
“You and Mom are always saying you don’t have time and that you wish you could find more.” He saw his parents exchange a look, but he didn’t understand what it meant. “I looked for it everywhere, but I don’t really know what it looks like, I guess. But anyway, I remembered that time is money, so I thought this might help.”
He handed them what amounted to his life’s savings. His mom looked like she might cry, and Henry began to fear that he’d really messed up this time.
“Am I in trouble?” he asked.
His parents shook their heads, and his mom scooped him into her arms.
“Not at all, darling,” she said. “You’re the best boy in the whole world.”
He nestled his head into that space between his mom’s shoulder and neck, and his dad wrapped his arms around the two of them. He loved it when they did that.
As they tucked him into bed, he couldn’t help but feel the problem still hadn’t been solved.
“Maybe if we all hunt for time tomorrow, we’ll have better luck,” Henry said.
“I bet you’re right,” his dad said. “But for now, it’s time for bed.”
Henry didn’t have the energy to protest. He yawned, and his parents took turns kissing him on the forehead.
“Good night, sweet boy,” his mother said.
“Good night, son,” said his father.
Henry closed his eyes and soon dreamt of clocks and wings and skies.