My favorite Twilight Zone character was Mr Henry Bemis from “Time Enough at Last.” The people hating introvert that wanted nothing except to be left alone to his own inner world. Meanwhile, Patrick McNulty from “A Kind of a Stopwatch” was the opposite, desperate to connect to the people around him.
This story finds both personalities in the psyche on one man, Mr. Sandoval Chung. A man stuck between the longing for an unreachable community and the threat of an eternal isolation.
Stuck between two worlds in… the Twilight Zone.
“Very Literally the World’s Foremost Expert on Stopwatch Repair”
By Pete Hsu
On a long bench at a long table in what used to be his favorite coffee shop, Sandy Chung sits with an old stopwatch in his hands. His teeth slightly clenched, he fiddles with its brass case, popping it open. The mechanism inside has fallen apart. With his tiny hands holding tiny watchmaker tools, he removes all the pieces and lays them out on a napkin.
He thumbs through a book titled, Advanced Watch Building and Repair, Volume 7.
“Well actually,” he says, addressing the 12 silent and motionless coffee shop patrons in general, and Howard in particular. “The problem isn’t so much that the pieces are corroded, it’s more to do with the device’s intolerance for ‘after market’ parts. But it seems that as long as the rubies are in good shape…”
Going through the pieces, one at a time, he catalogues them. The arbors, corroded and off their moors. The gears and balance pieces, intact, but old and weathered. Made of gold, they don’t rust, though their fine edges are slipping away.
The bearings however, the rubies, these fine tiny red jewels, are perfect. Smooth, balanced and unworn. Ready to keep time.
“Beautiful,” he says. “Howard. Look how the light reflects.”
Howard does not respond. He stands, tall and lean and formerly vital, on top of a heavy duty four-wheeled dolly. In a frozen pose, he holds his arms out awkwardly, wrapped around an invisible opponent. As if he is a statue sculpted to represent Man’s Wrestling With Himself.