Aunt Rita

Aunt Rita

A Story by Scott Durham

She is a surprise, that Rita. Not a classy broad, but just enough for the city of El Cajon.

Sitting timeless, there she is. The old clock my mother got for being on the school-board all those years, it sits in the corner and moves not. The mechanisms inside have all rusted open, there is no time tell on this clock. Good as it is, the clock that used to be working where this one died, told a time that my mother lived in, so I keep the dead clock as if it had stored up all those days of her life. If by magic I can fix the clock and set the time loose again, I might remember better what she was in my life more than I do now. 
She kept a nice house, she fed me regular, and I was a disappointment to her subtly voiced expectations. I never made Altar Boy, I never made a good Boy Scout, I was always running from one lie or another, and I traded allegiances among a group of friends who watched me, in circuit, betray each one as I moved down the line. I was a dark seed, a bad deuce, however you slice it: I liked trouble. 
It's not that I wanted attention, I was just always trying to see how far I could go when I was in a passion. 
My main crimes are mostly quiet, hidden little burglaries that show up on paper, but never real enough to affect a search through the neighborhood. I was perhaps the lowest paid cat-burglar when you factor in the time spent looting and lifting and divide into the actual loot and lift I currently sat with. I was a failure as a regular person, and as an underground pirate.
That clock. Worthless f*****g clock!
My mother would like it if I were to repair that damn thing, though to me it seems there would be a trillion dollar invoice for such a feat. The truth is that the entire clock could be replaced for a few hundred dollars, and I know this, but I want these exact parts to drive the clock, the new parts won't remember the time or space that was shared with dear Ma.
I could always try to get back on at the festivals, if it weren't for my fear of becoming a full-blown carny, I would go to work full time there but I know I would never get out. I'm not smart enough, and I lack the discipline it might take to survive the rigors of that depth of working poverty. It bordered on slavery, the festivals. 
The world I knew when she were alive, t'was easier and more complete. Now, in the absence of her intrusions I find myself wandering. Wandering more aimless than I had prior which could qualify me for the laziest b*****d ever born. 
Consoling myself that the clock might only need a battery, I looked into the back panel.
I wonder why Ma never looked in here...
Noting that the clock is much too large for a burglar to ever carry out, speaking from experience, I could take solace that there it would always sit for me. The clock is a piece of junk, it was junk when it was brand new, but she loved that damn clock. 
The news on TV cannot distract me, I will inspect this clock. There is a slot for several "D" batteries, but there is a plug also. I filled the batteries back up fresh, and turned the face of the clock back to me. It was moving again, but not in seconds, it was clipping three seconds per movement. Upon further investigation, I saw a few spots that were ripe and ready for a spray of WD-40 and lovingly applied the lube to them. 
The turning peg in the back has a function that I cannot ascertain, but I will turn that damn thing and see what happens.
It makes the seconds line up right. I must see what the proper time is, so I can adjust this baby back into full honors. Reporting the accurate time is a clock's highest calling, it the only calling actually. 
And now that this clock has been restored to working order, is there a sign of that woman?
 Were she waiting behind the curtains and loaves, sheepishly procuring silence to avoid the sight of her ghost?
No, in the mirror of truth, I know she can not appear. She is gone, as it were. But that hope of reunion lived in the breath of that moment, when those wires jiggled and the clock came to life. 
Maybe fixing the clock didn't bring Mom back, but it did let me have the feeling that she could come back. I can't wait for that clock to break again. 

© 2015 Scott Durham

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Scott Durham
Short enough?

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Added on July 15, 2015
Last Updated on August 2, 2015


Scott Durham
Scott Durham

Phoenix, AZ

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