Mark Fraser: Day Three Hundred and Fifty Nine – Dice, Part II

Posted on December 25, 2011 by


I’ve scheduled this post for Christmas Day, although I’m not going to post anything particularly festive. Part two of Dice. Enjoy. And Merry Christmas everyone!

Edward finished consuming lunch at 13.03 giving him enough time to go over the Edinburgh accounts before heading back to the office. He had noticed that table space in the café had become sparse, so was not entirely surprised when a young lady asked if she could join him at his table.

“Excuse me, do you mind if I sit here?”
“Not at all. Please, go right ahead.”

In Mr Ivins’ opinion, the woman that had taken the seat across from him was particularly pretty. He attempted to pay her close attention without making it seem like his eyes were straying from his computer. Her attire was a rag tag mix of blues and greens and reds, clothes seemingly chosen at random, he thought, with no sense of coordination between colours or patterns. Her long dark green overcoat had a warm, Christmassy quality and her red scarf did nothing to dispel this feeling. She rounded off this unordered mix of clothing with a blue hat which had a bird shaped broach attached to it. Analysis complete, the Edinburgh accounts demanded his attention and he looked back at his laptop. It was 13.07 and he had merely 20 minutes before he must be back at his desk. He could afford no further distraction, mentally chided himself for this and also for looking at another woman when he was a happily married man of 15 years. No, no, this kind of disorder could not do, he thought.

“You don’t happen to have the time, do you?”

Edward was aghast, surely this woman had a time keeping device? Even mobile phones have clocks on them. What was the meaning of this? How could one live their life asking others for the time?

“Er, yes. It’s 13.07. Oh no, it’s 13.08 now. My apologies.”
“Thanks. I guess I should buy a watch one of these days…”

Irvins smiled at her; that would definitely be a good idea.


He returned to his work, yet at the back of his mind he could not escape the thought of someone existing without a time piece. It was quite the distraction, and Irvins could restrain himself no longer. He had to ask;

“Excuse me, Mrs…”
“Miss, actually.”

She tilted her head and gave him a warm smile. He noticed her soft blue eyes were beautifully framed by two streaks of blond hair which protruded from underneath either side of her hat.

“Er, yes. Miss. Sorry. How do you-“
“I don’t like that old, do I?”

She let out a silvery laugh which seemed to shimmer in the air, the kind of laugh that could get a woman into a lot of trouble in a library.

“No, no. No. Not at all. No! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you.”
“Oh, it’s fine. It doesn’t happen often, so I’ll let it slide this time.”

The girl held on to the “fi” in “fine” for a while, extending it a little as if it were a tick. She smiled again as Edward blushed. He wasn’t used to her forward nature.

“I’m Ariadne, by the way.”
“Edward. Edward Irvins.”
“It’s nice to meet you Edward. You were saying?”
“Ah, yes. Sorry. I was just wondering…how do you get by without a watch? Don’t you have a phone which keeps the time?”
“Nah, I don’t have a phone. I don’t like the idea of someone being able to contact me whenever or wherever I am.”
“That seems fair, but if you don’t own a watch-“
“I know what you’re going to say – how am I ever on time? It’s not like I don’t own a clock or anything. Plus there are clocks everywhere, I just make sure I leave one place in plenty of time so that I can get to where I want to go in enough time.”
“But…what do you do if you’re running late due to unforeseen circumstances. Like if the bus is late or something, wouldn’t it be handy to have a phone in case of emergencies?”
“Yeah, maybe, but I’ve been fine so far.”

Ariadne’s smile acted like a full stop, almost as like punctuation that ended the conversation. Ivins was still confused and the thought of a schedule-less life was one he could not comprehend.

Posted in: Mark Fraser