If she remains very still, the pain is almost tolerable. She cannot move a limb, however, as even the slightest twitch sets off a shockwave that travels throughout her entire body. Periodically, she touches the ring on the third finger of her right hand. How long has it been since she received the news? She glances at the calendar in front of her and sees that it’s October 9th. Then, she glances at the grandfather clock and notices that it’s 2:37 p.m. and twenty-three seconds. That means it’s been one day, fourteen hours, thirty-two minutes, and eight seconds since the police had first knocked on her door.
She stops and thinks. Is it actually October 9th or is it October 10th? Saturday or Sunday? She can’t remember, so she flips on the television to FOX. There is no NFL football game on, which means it’s October 9th. So, one day, fourteen hours, thirty-two minutes, and eight, no twenty-two seconds now since the police had first knocked on her door. She touches the onyx ring on the third finger of her right hand to her lips and bursts into tears.
“Damn it, Josephine. If you don’t stop clawing the couch, I’m gonna put you in a kitty time-out!” Leslie Chang threatened, raising her voice a notch or two. Josephine, a black polydactyl cat who weighed all of six pounds, sniffed once before deliberately slicing into the already tattered couch. Then she stared at Leslie with enormous green eyes as if to say, “What are you going to do about it, bitch?” Leslie marched over to the cat, scooped her up in one hand and stomped to the master bedroom where she unceremoniously dumped the cat on the bed and slammed the door shut. Josephine immediately started yowling at the top of her lungs; she had strong lungs for such a petite cat. Leslie put up with it for exactly three minutes and forty-five seconds before opening the door. Josephine’s tail bristled as she brushed past Leslie—her ears were deliberately pointed backwards at her human to display her displeasure.
“Oh, all right,” Leslie muttered, stomping her way to the kitchen. She could never hold a mad for very long, especially not at her cat. She opened the fridge and pulled out a bite of wild Alaskan salmon that she bought from the co-op just for Josephine. In a flash, Josephine was happily munching, her pique gone. Leslie glanced at her watch before pulling her cell phone out of her jeans. Her boyfriend, John, should have been home from the gym two hours and thirty-three minutes ago, and she was beginning to worry. She saw that she missed a text from him fifty seven minutes and twelve seconds earlier. It said: “Meeting an “old friend”. I’ll be home in an hour or two. Don’t wait up.” Leslie frowned. Instead of feeling relieved, she was a bit disturbed. John was closemouthed about his life prior to moving to the Cities a year, five months, and twenty-three days earlier, and she knew little-to-nothing about his old friends.