by Eric J. Krause
Nothing was as boring as waiting when he forgot to bring anything to do. Most waiting areas had magazines, but never what he wanted to read. And the television was always set on daytime crap. No thanks. Yet here he was, at the dealership, getting new front and rear brakes, with the book he'd meant to bring sitting on the kitchen counter at home. Someone left that morning's paper, so he at least got to check out the sports and comics, but after that he had nothing. Less than nothing, really, as the Wilber Montegue Show blasted on the boob tube. What could be worse than listening to trailer trash whores argue with their baby-daddies about his half-dozen other baby-mamas? Pathetic.
He was so bored he found himself wandering over to the vending machines. Usually he avoided these peddlers of over-sugared carbonated drinks and stale, too salty snack "treats," but desperate times called for desperate measures. Besides, he wasn't going to buy, just browse a bit.
Just as he suspected. Junk. Nothing but junk. But wait. What was that between the raspberry soda and the lemon flavored sports drink? Liquid Time? Was that one of those energy drinks that the kids were so crazy about? He glanced around to make sure he wasn't blocking anybody's way, then put his attention back on the can.
"Is there never enough time in your day? Are you constantly wishing for an extra hour or two? Then just a sip will do you right. Liquid Time!"
He never fell for snazzy advertising. Not usually. Maybe today it was because he was bored. Or maybe he simply met his match. Did he believe the claim, even for a second? No, of course not, but he had to admit it was great ad copy.
His hand slid into his pocket, found the five necessary quarters, and slid them home. The mechanical ledge rose, accepted the can, and tipped it to the delivery door. He reached in and grasped his prize.
He turned the can over in his hand. No further writing was on it except one line on the back. "Warning: Drink no more than a sip at a time."
Laying it on a little thick, weren't they? He chuckled and popped the top. Was that glittery steam that rose from the inside? Nah, he was seeing things. He sniffed the liquid and found it had a citrusy odor. Smelled good.
He took a sip. Nothing spectacular, but it wasn't without its charm. He looked around to see how he'd pass some more time, and gasped. Everything in the waiting room had stopped. The television looked like it had been paused, the hands of the big clock on the far wall had quit, and all the people looked like they were competing in an intense game of freeze tag.
A quick tour through the rest of the building proved it wasn't only the waiting room. Nothing and nobody shifted to even take a breath. He unconsciously took another sip of his Liquid Time.
Wait! He reread the can. It wasn't just clever copy. It actually worked! And if what it said was correct, each sip stopped time for an hour or two. And he'd taken two sips.
Ah, crap! He was already bored out of his skull, and now the time warp wouldn't catch up with him for another two to four hours. It could be helpful in other situations, that was for sure, but not right now. He sighed and wandered back over to the vending machines. Maybe they had a package of time accelerating cheese doodles.