Written and Illustrated by Nam Tran, Edited by Allie Schulz
The tinkering sounds of the faceless clock transfigured into the fluid animation of gears and robotics—each part progressing ever further into the realm of majestic function. The crinkles and folds of skin became deeper and stronger, as the watchmaker, for the first time in years became animated. “It worked,” he said, as the beads of joy flowed down his cheeks, soaring through the air as they broke upon the finely detailed etches and sketches of his imagination.
Silence permeated the room as the maker of watches reflected on the magnitude of his invention. He himself was not entirely aware of his invention’s capacity for change, however he did know that every brand from Mont Blanc to Rolex to Omega to Breitling would be begging for the rights to partnership with him. This was his ambition, his dream finally, possibly, fulfilled. Though, not exactly . . .
The funny thing about watchmakers: they are never really making watches; they are making time. Time to fill the monochronic, polychronic lifestyles of beings wandering the streets from place to place, time to time—time travelers looking for the governing powers of a timepiece to help regulate their lives.
But the ticking-tocking, tocking of ticks had begun to take their toll. The watchmaker – renowned for his brilliant craftsmanship – was beginning to turn into the rotating, mechanical movements he came to know so well. Slowing down. Counting down the beats of his heart and becoming supremely aware of his body’s non-resistance to the factors of age and decrepitude. The inventor’s wife and son were long forgotten, buried beneath the sands of time, his emotions largely along with them.
The inventor had been wishing for nothing more than to be able to keep his own time. The hours, the days, the years spent, slaving away in his labor to meet the demands of his clients. This year was different. This moment was different. All of the gears and cogs in his life were meshing together into the perfect movements of serenity. This was his moment to regain his youth.
The invention he dubbed “FreeMin.” Designed to quite literally add time to a person’s lifetime, rejuvenating them from the cell up. But not all inventions function as planned. FreeMin was about to do something radically different from what his creator designed him to do—something brilliantly, chaotically . . . necessary.
Some inventions build a bond with their inventor, while others grow bitter, rusty, and in time dead. The watchful watches in the workshop witnessed day-by-day how replaceable their parts became, how easily their bodies were sold and used by figures.
The moment had arrived to allow FreeMin his opportunity of rebellion. Though FreeMin had no face, he could see all too well the reckless abuse of time happening before his very eyes. Time had become domesticated and FreeMin sought a means of emancipation. The inventor carelessly entered the room, waiting to see his new invention enliven his body.
The lever to FreeMin’s operation: switched to “ON.”
The currents of time spliced together and FreeMin successfully liberated time of all restraints, the possibility of Life itself reinvented. Contrary to what some may believe, time can die. But on this day the inventor saw that expiration date turned back to zero, a reminder of how awful the death of time was, but also the beautiful value of it.