six-thirty-three. It was easy, there was only one hand to like. This required
half the energy of liking a time with, say, two hands, and Wycomb was not, of
habit, a man who preffered things that required a great deal of energy to things
that did not. And even if it had required energy to like six-thirty-three, it
would have held some merit in his mind. The clock had a much thicker minute
hand than hour hand. Wycomb liked to imagine people being horribly confused by
this, thinking perhaps that it was, say, four-thirty-three, and they were simply
unable to see the hour hand right now. Or they might simply think they were
delusional. This was not as appealing to Wycomb, who liked deception more than
delusion, but seemed to entertain Elp to no end. Elp was one of several voices
orbiting Wycomb's consciousness. And Elp, sadly, was insane.
The voices orbiting Elp's consciousness were relayed to Wycomb, via
Elp, on an all too frequent basis. Since Elp was insane, this was distracting.
Elp contended that it was in fact Wycomb who was insane, and his voices the
annoyance, not the other way around. As Wycomb forcefully asserted in rebuttal,
the fact that Elp was one of those voices cost him a certain amount of
Since it was six-thirty-three, Wycomb decided he was hungry. Hours of staring
at a computer screen dulled the actual perception of being hungry, but years of
experience dictated that at this point in the day, if he went out and presented
himself with food, he would become hungry, and probably eat it. More to the
point, if he did not address the situation actively, he would begin to
hallucinate. Elp, in strong consensus with other interested parties, suggested
this would be a Bad Thing.
At this point it will be useful to know several new things about Wycomb. Wycomb
is single. Wycomb has three masters degrees (in economics, computer science,
and anthropology), but works at a cyber cafe specializing in discrete parking
and quiet workrooms. And Wycomb is unable to percieve smells. He is 27 years old.
Elp, apparently, was much older. He seemed to remember quite clearly certain
events surrounding the fall of the Tang Dynasty. And yet his chief interests at
the time seem to have been centered on skateboarding. The meaning of this was
unclear to Wycomb, but he had decided to roll with it. When questioned about
his past Elp had been known to cite specific passages of literature reinforcing
his points, and yet when Wycomb followed up, it rapidly became clear that no
such works existed now or ever. Elp was, you see, quite mad. Wycomb happily
pointed this out to him, and chortled with accomplishment from his desk in the
cafe. Nearby partrons were alarmed, but not in great position to complain.
Praying against blackmail is busy work.
Blackmail or no, Wendy's was open late, so Wycomb stepped outside, and
considered walking to the drive-through on his way to the car. The absurdity of
this overwhelmed him. What good would walking do him this early in the morning,
when Wendy's wouldn't even be open for another hour. Laughing at his own folly,
Wycomb got into the car and drove down the block to park in the Wendy's lot and
wait out the hour.