The other problem with damaging Countdown (besides the fact that it pisses him off) is that it brings out Sophie. And it appears she’s starting to level up.



More below!




That Moment of Indeterminate Time In Which Everything Happens


I wanted Sophie to have some sort of invocation for these “frozen moment” bullet-time sequences. So I dredged into Google trying to find out if anyone had ever come up with a name for that feeling you get when shit is really hitting the fan and time seems to slow to a crawl. It’s a common enough experience. I ended up discovering the Greek word kairos which has a number of definitions, such as “The Supreme Moment” (woo-woo!) or “a time lapse, a moment of indeterminate time in which everything happens.”

Works for me. And it looks good in rune-type lettering.

Sure happened to me once, in my teenage years. I was speeding the family sedan past a lumbering truck on a divided highway, when a car waiting to cross the highway decided to pull out, stop at the concrete divider, and wait for the traffic coming the other way to clear. Because I was accelerating faster than the truck, I had been hidden from the other driver and he had assumed my lane was clear. So I’m doing sixty and suddenly there’s another car pulling right out in front of me. Concrete divider to my left and a truck to my right. I had nowhere to go. Mashed the brake but there wasn’t even enough room. I was going to die.

It seemed to take forever.

I remember being very calm. Very reflective; almost philosophical. Somewhere off in the distance I was vaguely aware of tires screeching and the car ahead of me, slowing to a stop in my lane at right angles, the driver not even looking at me, but looking at the traffic coming the other way. And I was thinking: Shit. I’m going to die. Man, what a bummer. I had plans. I wanted to go places. To do things. To bone my best friend’s sister. Important stuff.

And then there was a hell of a lot of noise and glass flying everywhere and pain in both my wrists from locking up on the steering wheel (which did not stop me one iota.) You have to understand that in my day, seat belts were optional. Most people didn’t bother with them. But as it happened, they’d recently showed that ghastly Signal 30 safety film in my school; the one showing mutilated corpses being pulled out of cars because they hadn’t been wearing seat belts. So that morning, I’d decided to actually buckle in. And because of that, I lived.

The other car (a big Lincoln) had been seriously crushed, but in the rear compartment, which was empty. So nobody died or was even seriously hurt, but both cars were totalled. My first reaction after all the noise had subsided was to run away. Just run and run and run until it wouldn’t have happened and everything would be okay again.

What I wouldn’t give for a Hulu-style “10-second rewind” button on life.

I was shaking so hard from the adrenaline rush that all I could do was pry myself out of the wreckage and go sit on the curb. Various emergency people showed up and one of them must have called my father, because before I knew it, he was there, just standing in front of me with his hands in his pockets, looking at the ruined cars and then down at me.

“Well,” he said. “I guess it’s about time you learned how to deal with insurance companies.”

To this day, I still think that was a cool, fatherly line. I liked it so much I later on used it myself. Twice. Once with each son, when they totalled cars. And we all of us did learn how to deal with insurance companies.

But yeah, that Kairos moment. Time slowing to a crawl. Sure I was going to die.

But lo and behold, I lived.

Almost made up for never getting to bone my buddy’s sister.

— Bob out