Time To Move On


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3. Day Three: Conscientious Objector

You could have sworn it was the crack of dawn on a Sunday morning. Churchgoers in bed and birds waking up in the droopy August trees, fluttering freshly into the elusive chill left over from night. The faces of the digital clocks were dumb and featureless and the analog ones hung their hands in exhaustion. 6:30. 6:30. You'd be startled to realize that, somewhere above the blue-gray cloud that hugged the earth, the sun was marking the time at a burning 1:00 PM. Someone in Nevada was squinting at it with rosy cheeked resentment. Someone in Tuvalu was watching it rise.

The water had gone down. It hung in brackish suspension between desks in the elementary school, which was downhill from the church. The House of the Lord had been sliced like a sheet cake by a falling tree, but the water was already evaporating from the basement steps. Linoleum pulled like worried foreheads on kitchen floors for miles around.

You'd thought it was a bird, that trilling echoing downtown. You'd even looked up once or twice expecting to see the sharp glint of a wing, but without your noticing the sound had settled into a mechanical rhythm, the suggestion of many hammers against many rocks. The lull in the bird-sound was what made you pause. A lapse in the morbid stillness, a little glimpse of human eccentricity, had broken through where everyone else had up and left. It was coming from behind the florist's house.

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