TIDINGS FOR Y’ALL • by Gordon Pinckheard

I should’ve read the small print. Slowing down ageing sounds like a good idea, right? I was in my prime, and staying that way forever would be great. I took the deal. Aeons isn’t that different from forever, is it?

But the Grim Reaper works by Universal Time; we will still meet sometime in the next hundred years. The deal was that I would live for nearly an eternity — in my subjective time. Put those two together, and I’m living fast.

So now, a UTC minute to those I left behind feels like weeks, months or years to me. People appear as statues, and I can run in and out and around them. The statues might see me as a flickering form if I move very, very slowly; maybe they think they’re seeing ghosts.

Being by myself in a frozen world is no barrel of laughs; not what I was looking for, wanted. I was pleased to find I wasn’t alone. There were others. They sought recruits; I said I’d help. And they had a cure for boredom.

I found another to take the offer, to live an eternity.

I wrote a note, laid it on the bedside table of the impressive sleeping statue. A real Adonis! He’d never look better. I kept the offer simple, the same as the one I got. Did I tell the truth? Not all of it. Do I regret it? No, we need another pair of hands.

There’s a cure for boredom; it’s called work. And there’s an employer for those who can zip around the statues. Most of our time, we create, produce. Then we have our scheduled distribution, getting the toys out to the children.

Live forever, working as one of Santa’s elves. Who’d sign up for that? Me, I did.

Gordon Pinckheard lives in County Kerry, Ireland. Retired from a working life spent writing computer programs and technical documents, now freed of constraints and encouraged by Thursday Night Writers (Tralee), he can write anything he likes to entertain himself and — hopefully — others. In addition to Every Day Fiction, his stories have been previously published by Daily Science Fiction, Gemini, Page & Spine, Allegory, Flash Fiction Magazine, and Cabinet of Heed.

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