“Come on, Jack. Where did you hide that horrible looking grandfather clock?” Janice asks, staring at the spot where it had stood for nearly 30 years in our dusty old house. My grandfather had warned me to wind it every week, otherwise this might happen, but I kinda’ got distracted this week, what with the move and his funeral.
“I didn’t hide it! It just vanished!” I reply confused, wondering if I left the key in the door of the damn glass cabinet before I followed her calls.
How the hell do you lose a grandfather clock?
“Very funny,” she laughs, “did you hide it while I was downstairs making the twins their supper?” she asks, inspecting the room adjacent to the empty space like we are playing hide and seek with the kids.
“Hide it…how the hell would I be able to move that monstrosity? Did you feel how heavy the thing was?” I sigh. “Besides, how do you think I could get it down the staircase on my own?” If I’m honest, I think I gave the key too many turns. I was rushing the procedure a bit, trying to do it so the kids didn’t see me. I heard the springs twang for sure.
“Well it was there a moment ago, Jack, and I haven’t been up here since the removal van pulled into the drive.” She peers out the window, moving aside the yellowing lace curtains to check whether the two guys are still sitting in their cab, “and they’re still outside.”
She stops mid-sentence, turning to me with her smile.
“And where are the twins Jack, it’s all very quiet!”
“They’re okay darling, I left them playing hide and seek in the playroom while I came down to see what you were calling about. They’re probably just messing about.”
“Daniel? Victor?” Janice calls out, but she gets no response.
“Well, wherever it is, you need to move it so the men can take it away.”
I am almost one hundred percent sure I took the key out of the lock before I had left the room, but doubt begins to creep into my thoughts. I don’t think they were watching me as I reset the pendulum swinging in the glass case. I know they get a bit nosey when I’m around the clock, but I did check they weren’t watching…I think.
“Jack, you know I wanted that old thing gone before we moved our furniture inside. Please stop playing games with me. It has to go, sweetheart.” She walks over to me and places a hand on my cheek, smiling softly.
“Look I know he left it to you in his will, but it doesn’t fit with the look of the place anymore. It’s creepy and makes me uncomfortable. I’m not saying it has to go, go. We can put it in storage for now.”
I don’t want to upset her, but I really have no idea where the clock has gone.
“Now go check on the twins for me so I can get them fed and changed for bed, and let’s get that old stuffy clock out of here. I’ll go show the removal men inside.” She blows me a kiss and walks down the stairs again.
The truth is I’m not even sure it is still inside the house anymore. It tends to wander when it’s not being looked after. My grandfather told me that the clock has a mind of its own if it’s neglected. And since his untimely passing last week, I have to be honest, I haven’t wound the time piece up once. That’s why I was giving the springs that extra couple of turns before I went and lost it.
It could be anywhere by now, in any time too.
The playroom door is ajar when I reach for the handle and peer inside, but I see no sign of the twins. They like to hide before suppertime.
“JACK!” Janice is calling from downstairs.
“I’m coming, what is it dear?”
I quickly descend the stairs to the large lobby and see the two large removal men entering the house, carrying the first piece of furniture between them, Janice holding her hands to her face in horror.
“NO…No No no…It has to go out …not in!” She is getting upset now, but the removal men are insistent it comes in.
“Alright Guv, where do you want this thing then?” the first man says, and I look on dumbfounded. “Upstairs?”
Carried between them, laying on its side, is the old Grandfather clock, back from another trip to who only knows where.
“Eh, yes, first floor please.” I reply staring at the familiar face of the man as he nods. Surely not?
“Okay, Vic. You heard the old man, first floor landing.” He says as he passes me with that all too familiar cheeky grin. “Usual spot?”
“Sure thing, Dan.” Replies the second identical man in the dungarees as Janice faints onto the floor.
“Smells nice. What’s for supper, Dad?”