Tuesday

Tuesday punched her fists together. She enjoyed the sound of the leather gloves smacking into one another, the way the padding gave way just so. Ideally, she would have gone bare-fist, but you weren’t allowed to these days.

Tuesday was about to punch a planet in the face, and people were worried she might bruise her knuckles.

There were a few logistical problems with punching a planet in the face, and the right sort of protection wasn’t one of them. Indeed, she’d read that gloves were actually more harmful, because it meant you punched harder. Without the gloves, you were more worried about hurting yourself.

Tuesday wasn’t worried about hurting herself.

She was about to punch a planet in the face.

The first proper problem was working out which part of the planet was its face. The whole world had come together to decide this, and their conclusion was Doncaster.

So, here she was, testing her new boxing gloves in the town centre, while everyone else tried to ignore her.

The second problem with punching a planet in the face was where to do it from. Space seemed out of the question, as well as a bit of a form-filling nightmare. The moon was just stupid. And so, she was stood in the doorway of Wimpy.

The doorway of Wimpy was deemed to be the tip of the planet’s nose.

And she wanted to punch the planet so hard in the face that she broke its nose.

She took a deep breath, lifted her fist, and smacked it as hard she she could into the wobbly concrete slab in the doorway of Wimpy in Doncaster.

Nothing much happened at first.

There was the large stab of pain up her arm of course, but she’d been expecting that, and to be honest, it wasn’t as bad as she had feared.

Somewhere a crow squawked.

Somewhere else a dog cocked its leg against a tree.

Then came the rumbling. It was subtle to begin with. No one really knew what it was. Some stopped and cocked their heads, as if listening for an elusive noise, and some even bent down and touched the ground. No one was sure, until the rumbling grew deeper.

It shook the buildings, exploding window panes. It shook the trees, causing an early on-set Autumn. It shook the waters so much that it looked like the oceans were boiling.

The rumbling began to coalesce into something more tangible. It took on a rhythm. It took on a cadence.

Tuesday smiled.

She knew what was happening.

The planet was speaking.

She listened carefully.

It said three words, and never spoke again.

“I deserved that.”

Monday

Monday didn’t like Tuesday.

She wasn’t all that keen on Thursday either for that matter. Friday was heinous, and Saturday and Sunday could just fuck off.

That’s why she’d built the machine.

Because Wednesday was just about the only day worth experiencing. She knew a lot of people didn’t like Wednesdays, what with it being the furthest point from the weekend, and she didn’t much care for that opinion. Wednesdays had a certain smell about them, a certain way of carrying themselves, and an ambience that suggested just a hint of ennui that she actually enjoyed. Hump Day was to be celebrated.

Monday hadn’t thought much about Mondays.

Mondays were just there to be wandered through.

Maybe if she’d thought about it a bit more, the world might not have ended.

As it was, she plugged the machine in and pressed a few buttons. They were old-fashioned buttons that clicked and clunked, switches that flipped, and faders that resisted when you slid them. Servos whined as they span up to speed, and gears crunched pleasingly from within.

Monday sat down and hugged her coffee mug in her hands. Not long now, she thought, as she blew the steam from the cup. Something was nagging at the back of her mind, and it wasn’t the want of a Hobnob.

The countdown began, and reached zero in the requisite number of steps.

Three seconds later, and it would never have happened.

But happen it did.

Sparks spat from the machine, and a ball of light burst forth, circumnavigating the planet in less time that it took her vision to return.

And as she blinked, she realised her mistake.

The machine was built to create a perpetual Wednesday.

But it was only Tuesday.

Monday panicked.

Now it was going to be a perpetual Tuesday. Endless people tsking that it was only Tuesday, and roll on the weekend. Endless jokes asking whether it was wine o’clock yet. Endless Tacos.

And worse.

There were no more Wednesdays.

The machine had no undo function. She couldn’t just press Ctrl+Z.

How could she have mixed up her days?

It was because she had come into the lab on Sunday wasn’t it? Because she wanted to have the machine ready on time? It had thrown her whole week out.

She couldn’t have foreseen the repercussions, even then. It was impossible to know what a perpetual Tuesday would do to the world. There was no way to predict the trees would become walking death machines.

The coffee mug clinked loudly as she put it down on the desk.

There really was only one thing for it now.

Tacos.

 

A Great Storm

It’s the thirtieth anniversary of The Great Storm today. It puts me in mind of a time I was in a storm. Not the Great one. Just a storm.

I was living in Plymouth at the time, and I’d been visiting friends across town. The wind had been picking up for a few hours, and it was getting late, so it was time to head home.

Wandering out, I was struck by the force of the wind, and it was propelling me forward, holding me back, or tossing me sideways, depending on which direction I was heading. It wasn’t raining, and the wind actually felt rather warm, even as it blew debris around that could easily have smacked me in the head.

And yet, I felt rather elated.

Comfortable almost.

It should have been scary. It should have been dramatic. Yet, it was peaceful, even as I wandered down an alley that was funnelling the wind even faster. I was almost tempted to lift my coat over my head and use it as a sail, like I used to as a child. I didn’t though, because even though I was having a nice time, I realised that might throw me into Cornwall.

It’s a hard feeling to describe, other than maybe it felt like coming home after a long absence.

It was only later that I learned my Dad was in Plymouth that night too. He had been sailing, and they’d been forced into harbour to avoid the winds. This was before mobile phones, so there was no way of knowing this, but I do wonder if him being nearby somehow engendered the whole comfortable feeling.

 

The Opening Of My Next Novel

At the risk of showing off my underwear, here’s the first two hundred words of my next book.

It was time to die.

She hadn’t had an idea in the longest while, and so it was time to die.

Plus, the clock had stopped.

It used to tick, she knew that. And she knew it because she had made it. She had made a lot of things in her lifetime, too many to count. She even knew, somewhere in the back of her decaying mind, that she had invented something big once. Something so huge that it had taken its toll, and reduced her to the wisp of a memory of what she had once been.

For now, it was hard enough to recall the last thing she had made, let alone the major thing.

Her wrinkled hand pressed against the cool window pane, as yellow with age as her skin, and her failing eyes squinted to see beyond the dirt. The beach outside used to be purple, not this vague grey mauve weak soup colour. The giant planet on the horizon once sparkled as it reflected the hollow sun back at her tiny lost moon.

They had forgotten it was here. They had forgotten she was here. And she had forgotten that they had forgotten. How she knew she had forgotten this, she had forgotten.

She’d even forgotten her name.

It might have been Derek.