On the 25th March, at 14:57GMT, the world stopped for 27 minutes and 54 seconds. No one noticed at first. Those that eventually did were ordered to keep quiet.
There was no sudden jolt, no collapsing into unconsciousness, no transition into utter darkness and back again. Nothing.
For everyone, time had appeared to pass as normal, one second moving uneventfully into the next. Birds flew, people talked, the wind and the rain blew and fell respectively - nothing had occurred to indicate that anything untoward or unexpected had happened to the inhabitants of the Earth. Only those who looked beyond our planet and its ring of constantly chattering satellites now found that the rest of the universe told a different story.
NASA and related space agencies noticed first. Signals to ongoing missions beyond those in orbit around the Earth were all off by almost 30 minutes. Frantic investigation revealed that the same time discrepancy was occurring for all incoming signals. Naturally they came to the conclusion that the problem must therefore lay not with these external elements, but with the computers on Earth. But this led to a bigger question - one computer glitch was possible, but all of the various space agency’s computers across the globe showing the same failure at exactly the same time? Naturally, a virus or a sophisticated global hacking attack was the next obvious answer. An international team to investigate such a large, well-coordinated cyber-attack was being discussed when the first calls of alarm came in from confused and concerned astronomers, and the true significance of what had actually happened became known.
Using data retrieved from telescopic arrays at Jodrell Bank, Palo Alto, Mount Pleasant and others across the world, confirmed against existing stellar records and computational models of the local galaxy and beyond, it became apparent that for twenty seven minutes and fifty four seconds the Earth had somehow been out of sync with the rest of known time and space. In essence, the world as we knew it had winked out of existence during this period, and then returned as if nothing had happened.
For all intents and purposes during that short window of time, we had ceased to be. (Read more...)
The streets, roads and dusty lanes of Colombia have been fertile territory for myths and legends since before the arrival of the Spaniards. Tales of 'La Patasola', a one-legged wailing banshee that forever sought her child, and of 'El Duende', a backwards-footed goblin that led travelers to their doom, nibbled at the corners of journeymen's ease for centuries. Although these stories mainly troubled those living in or passing through rural areas, the growth of cities brought with it a new breed of urban legend rooted in the primal distrust we still harbor, somewhere deep inside, of modern technology.
An example of this is the phantom bus that allegedly roams the city's streets at night. Supposedly, young women who board it alone are found mutilated in overgrown outlying fields a few days later, a frozen look of abject terror illustrating the moment of their last, tormented breath.
That being said, given that you're certainly not a young woman (at least not last time you checked) and that it's 5:30 on a Tuesday afternoon, phantom buses and handicapped gremlins are the last thing on your mind. You've been using Bogota's public transportation system for over two decades, and your greatest concern is that traffic levels have become all but unmanageable since the latest mayor took office. However, home is about 80 blocks away, so your only choice is to wait until the right bus comes along. Walking would certainly take longer than putting up with any traffic jam.
When the bus displaying the route sign you're hoping for shows up, its advertised fare is 200 pesos lower than the standard going rate these days. This usually indicates that the vehicle in question is older and a bit more uncomfortable than most, but no bus rider in the history of the city has ever given a damn about that. Folks that consider themselves richer and "above" this mode of transportation pay seven times as much to get around by cab, and statistically expose themselves to a higher chance of being mugged or robbed. More power to them, right?
Never one to avoid seeking further discounts, you ask the wizened driver if he'll let you on for a thousand. The wrinkled, musty-looking man's eyes never leave the road as he silently takes your bill and slides it in the purse hanging from the bony gear stick. Satisfied, you turn your attention to the cabin; what would make this ride ideal would be an empty seat. (Read more...)
Usual crap at the meeting so you didn't miss anything. District heads are giving the go-ahead on that math program. Nobody saw that coming, right? Thirty kids to a classroom, no time to work with any of them individually, Career Ladders busywork in addition to grading classwork and putting together lesson plans and progress reports, and now first thing after Christmas Break we'll also have to organize songs and dance routines and plays and crafts that'll help teach our kids math. This job was so much fun in the eighties. What the hell happened?
And this Sandra Barnes crap on top of all that. Sixth grade is already short one teacher without George getting the boot, and all for giving a female student a congratulatory pat on the back, which I WITNESSED as a harmless gesture. Yes, Judy brought it up again, and the district jackasses were dodgier than last time. You, me, Judy and Al are probably the only ones in the district that know he didn't molest her. Not sure Sandra even knows anymore with how her parents carry on. But you'd think they'd listen to me at least! What the hell, I've only been here fifteen years. What do I know? Hear George's wife is divorcing him? She actually believes the allegations! I'd say "good riddance" if she wasn't taking the house with her.
His last day today, by the way. Throwing him a farewell party tonight at Judy's place. He'd be real happy if you came. He's in awful shape. Seen how pale he is now? He'll probably never teach again (by choice, I mean -- he's had it at this point, and I don't blame him). He's pretty short with a lot of people, especially Wright and Stratton. Seems to have it in for Babs Dunnewick, the new music teacher. Caught him tossing dirty looks her way in the lounge. Was she the one that fingered him?
Just another pleasant day at Aspenvale Elementary!
Saw yet another example of what a terrific sportsman Jerry is: Wesley sprained his ankle running for second base, and Jerry was first in line to help him hobble to the nurse. Always pats the other boys on the back after a game and congratulates them for their performances. See why George liked him so much. Thought he was just a timid eighth-grader that couldn't make eye contact. He transforms when he puts on a jersey.
Stop by my room when you got a minute and tell me about your class presentations. Colton was telling me all about his at recess.
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