Borrowed Time

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by Antonio D. Sommerio

  Borrowed Time

  Copyright © 2008, 2018 by Antonio Sommerio

  All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.

  This book is a work of fiction and the characters in this book are not intended to portray real people. Names, characters, places, and events are products of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

  ISBN (Print Edition): 978-1-54393-007-8

  ISBN (eBook Edition): 978-1-54393-008-5


  John A. Watt


  Maxine H. Gordon

  Table of Contents

  The Meeting

  Shopkeeper Ernest


  The Reunion

  "Special Features"

  Gift or Curse?

  Fit as a Fiddle

  Back to Reality




  The Rescue?



  To Serve and Protect

  The Fine Print

  A Delightful Distraction

  The Decision

  Saving Stanley Burgress

  When it Rains it Pours


  Seven Months Later

  Author's Note


  About the Author

  Jacob Parnell would start his day as he did every morning. He would wake to the faint, but distinct sound of his wristwatch alarm and ready for yet another day. As his eyes began to focus he had but one thing on his mind, it was always on his mind. He pulled back the wine-colored satin sheets and turned toward his nightstand. After a brief pause, he opened a drawer and grabbed a picture frame that lay face down inside. With a long and drawn sigh, he turned it over and stared while rubbing his face with his other hand. His eyes glistened bright, so bright that they appeared glassy, as if tears would soon proceed.

  The picture displayed perfection to say the least, a beautiful coffee complexioned woman with a smile that could warm a small room. Her eyes were bright and honest, her hair dark catching the light perfectly. His hand began to shake as he gently traced his finger around her lips, remembering the warmth and softness, that was her kiss. Jacob placed the picture back in the drawer closing it slowly. He turned his attention back to his watch and after picking it up and viewing the time, got out of bed.

  Jacob was in great shape nearing his fortieth birthday. He didn’t smoke, exercised regularly, and enjoyed an occasional chase to nab a taxi. His light-brown hair had yet to show even the slightest signs of graying. His only vice would be that of an occasional drink which if left alone with enough time to think, could end in a night of tears and drunken self-pity. Other than that, there really wasn’t too much left to Jacob. He wasn’t into social media or high-tech gadgetry and worked as a financial executive for a research firm not too far from his home. Money wasn’t an issue as Jacob had very simple tastes. With more than enough room in his small but quaint one-bedroom condo, Jacob kept things strictly organized making what space he had seem massive.

  He had a simple routine that he stuck with, having specified amounts of time to shower, eat, shave, and finally dress before he left for work. As he stepped out of the washroom, something struck him as odd today. His next-door neighbor Sheryl had a similar routine. Like clockwork whenever he was done showering, he would always be greeted by the wonderful smell of maple-flavored bacon cooking and the best coffee brewing that money could buy (or so it seemed). In Jacob’s mind, he had no time for such luxuries and besides the wonderful scent was as close to having as he’d needed. But today was different, there wasn’t anything. Had she taken a day off from work? he thought. Was she ok? Then again what business of his was it to ponder at all? With that last thought, Jacob finished dressing, grabbed his watch from the nightstand, and headed out the front door.

  As Jacob trotted down his front steps, he began to notice more activity than normal. The streets were full of people going about their daily routine, newspapers underarm, hailing cabs, running for buses, etc. As he found a vacant taxi and got in, he looked at his watch one final time validating his timeliness.

  “Where to this morning?” the voice of the cab driver was fast and direct.

  “Pinkerton Tower, are you familiar?” asked Jacob. A quick nod given, and the driver pulled off.

  Jacob stared aimlessly out of the cab’s window, his thoughts scattered. Something had him very uneasy today, but he just couldn’t place his finger on it. Soon his thoughts (or lack thereof) were interrupted by the taxi coming to a screeching halt. Jacob leaned closer toward the window and peered upward at the office building, confirming he was at his correct destination.

  As he entered the building, he was flooded with the usual “good mornings” before reaching the elevator. This morning the peculiarities just wouldn’t cease as Jacob entered an empty elevator. But upon exiting, peculiar quickly shaped into fear as he noticed several cubicles filled and desks comfortably catering to those who sat behind them. Either a lot of people had shown up for work early this morning or, the unthinkable, he was late!! Jacob’s walk through the office quickly turned into a panicking gallop as he headed toward the end of the hall bursting through two wooden doors.

  Jacob was greeted by plenty of confused glares as he entered the meeting room. “And here he is now to give everyone a more in depth view at our numbers thus far.” The voice was that of his boss and CEO of the company Mr. Pinkerton himself. As he spoke, he motioned with his hand out toward Jacob as if presenting him to the rest of the board members. Stunned and motionless Jacob could do nothing more than stare at the clock in the meeting room. This had to be impossible, impractical even.

  “Jacob, the numbers please.” pleaded Pinkerton, while simultaneously startling Jacob. On his way to be seated, Jacob stumbled over various chairs and other obstructions, not for one moment taking his eyes off the clock. He cleared his throat as he sat and opened his briefcase containing one lone folder and multiple printed packets, one for each member. By now, the entire room had begun to stare at the clock in wonderment at what fascination it held for Jacob as he furnished each member with the appropriate packet.

  “As Mr. Pinkerton said previously, our Annual Revenue has tripled since last year. If you would like a more in depth insight on key areas, feel free to contact me individually. I know I can speak for all of us when I say the company couldn’t be doing better at this time, thank you.”

  At Jacob’s last words, Mr. Pinkerton stared at him as if waiting for him to continue. Jacob however just stood motionless, his eyes still fixed upon the company’s clock. “That will be all gentlemen.” Pinkerton continued, with his hands spread apart. With the eagerness of schoolchildren awaiting a dismissal bell, the men sprang from their seats and exited the meeting room.

  By this time, Jacob had switched his attention from the clock to his watch as he held it in his hand tapping at it vigorously his with his finger.

  “I’m not sure if that’s the way to go about fixing it.” Pinkerton mumbled as he sat down next to Jacob.

  “I am truly—”

  “It’s alright Jacob,” interrupted Pinkerton. “Of the time you’ve spent with this company, I can only recall you being late once within the last ten years, and that day is today.” His words were comforting to Jacob as he spoke with a voice that only could be described as that of a great philosopher. He then placed
his hand on Jacob’s shoulder. “So, what do you think is wrong with the do-dad, has it stopped?” he asked while peering over at the device.

  “No, it just seemed to have slowed down somehow. I guess it’s just time to let it go… besides I would never be able to carry on its’ legacy.” Surprised, Mr. Pinkerton looked over at Jacob and replied, “And that would be because?”

  “Because I have no son and probably never will.”

  “Well if that be the case than it’s by choice, your choice!” grumbled Pinkerton. “You have spoken highly of that timepiece of yours over the years and correct me if I’m wrong; it has been in your family since your grandfather. So, who are you to say when that legacy should end?” Jacob stood to his feet as if to dismiss himself. “Listen to me Jacob, not as your boss but as a friend of ten years. It will come a point and time in your life when you will have to let Theresa go. She would have wanted your happiness overall and frankly this isn’t it.” Jacob stood before his boss motionless; Pinkerton’s words had definitely struck a chord. “There’s a watchmaker that runs a shop not too far from here on Broad Street. He is… an eccentric fellow but don’t let that scare you away, he does excellent work. Tell him I sent you and you’ll have that baby fixed in no time!” Jacob nodded as he stood up for a second time and walked toward the door. A hand landed on his shoulder once more as he exited the room. “I didn’t mean to get out of line about Theresa Jacob. I didn’t mean to over step those boundaries,” said Pinkerton.

  “It’s alright,” Jacob replied. “I truly believe that maybe that was something I needed to hear. It couldn’t have come from a better friend, sir.” Furnishing Pinkerton with a brief but sincere smile, Jacob left closing the door softly behind him.

  The morning’s once sunny skies now bared a vicious and sulking gray as rain began to fall heavily. Again, Jacob found himself trotting to a destination with his lone folder as companion, and now useless umbrella. But soon after, with battering rain overhead and puddles beneath, he’d arrived at what seemed to be the shop his superior suggested.

  Seeming completely out of place amongst the much newer and finer structures, the shop appeared ready for retirement long before now. Jacob paused a moment, carefully examining the old decrepit building before proceeding. His eyes followed cracked paint chips giving way to the pounding raindrops falling helplessly to the ground. They were finally relieved and free of the oppression that was the building itself. The entire structure seemed the least bit safe or stable as if at any given moment the whole thing would collapse, leaving a pile of ugly rubble. It was an eyesore to the businesses surrounding it to say the least, and with that last thought Jacob grabbed the brass door handle and entered.

  With a nail-biting squeak, the door gave way followed by the sound of clanking bells warning the shop owner he had a visitor. As he stepped in, the door shut creepily behind Jacob cuing the thunder and lightning outside in perfect timing. Jacob looked outside uneasily and cleared his throat as to announce his presence. “I will be with you momentarily you may look around till then.” spoke an old and jittery voice from an undisclosed location. Jacob paused but for a moment then stepped forward and peered over into a glass counter.

  Whilst the counter was that of a modern jewelry store, its contents had to be hundreds of years old. All classic time pieces (much older than Jacob’s) had been beautifully restored. Jacob leaned closer toward the counter turning his head to hear the faint ticking produced by the wonderfully primitive, but extravagant devices.

  “So, what can I do for you on this glorious day?” Jacob nearly left his skin as the shop owner seemed to have appeared from nowhere and was standing now behind the counter right in front of him.

  Jacob starred for a short time without replying. The old man seemed to have been as old as the store itself. Short and stumpy he was, with a hump in his back and a few white hairs atop his shiny head. His face appeared sunk in as if being pulled by some unknown force behind his head. He looked at Jacob attentively through his small round spectacles then spoke once more.

  “Benjamin Martin’s, 17th century, I had them modified with the double hinges. They make my work a whole lot easier, see for yourself.” He then took the glasses off handing them to Jacob. Now realizing what the man’s statement meant, Jacob put them on squinting. Magnified for what seemed a thousand times he peered at a pair of tweezers the man held up in front of him. After taking what seemed forever to correctly focus, Jacob could see a tiny gear cut to perfection, which appeared possibly, part of a larger winding mechanism.

  “Now how do you suppose men cut such perfect miniature objects before the time of lasers and other fancy machines?” Jacob looked back at the old man while removing the spectacles preparing to answer. “Carefully, taking great pride and spending countless hours my son,” the shop owner continued before Jacob could speak. “Today people haven’t such time, nor do they care! Wanting results immediately, longing for the development of newer technologies, which will accomplish tasks even faster! Have you ever wondered if people would take more time and live their lives just a bit slower, that maybe they might actually live longer?” Jacob stood saying nothing but in the back of his mind it kind of made sense (or so he thought). “Anyway, I could rant all day, my names’ Ernest. Looking at your bare wrist I would imagine you’re here for a new watch.”

  “I’m Jacob, ah actually I was wondering if you could repair one I have owned for quite some time,” said Jacob finally getting a chance to speak.

  “You are a businessman are you not? Why not just do as they all do and purchase something new? Smart watches are a thing now. I even heard there is a young lady inside you can talk to!”

  “I work for Mr. Pinkerton; he sent me to you,” Jacob replied.

  “So, he did, did he?” Ernest’s voice now spoke with eerie curiosity. “A wise man that boss of yours, eons ahead of his time in my opinion. Well then, let me see this all-important time piece of yours.”

  Jacob carefully reached in his pocket and placed the watch on the counter. Ernest’s eyes opened wide; his tangled snowy eyebrows raised high.

  “Where did you say you got this again?” asked Ernest.

  “It has been in my family for a few generations. If you can fix it, this will be its third restoration,” Jacob looked at Ernest and gave a generous smile as if thanking him already for the work he would complete.

  “So, it shall be you then,” whispered Ernest to himself looking at Jacob.

  “Excuse me?” Jacob replied in a high-pitched voice.

  “Oh, nothing just wondering to myself is all. Seems like you have a coil issue, it’s running a bit slow. Tell you what, not only will I repair this beauty but by the time you get it back, it will be completely restored silver and all!” Ernest’s voice had now gone from a whisper to an almost victorious roar.

  Jacob smiled once more as he replied, “Well then when should I expect completion?”

  “Come back tomorrow and I will have it ready,” said Ernest. Jacob nodded and quickly turned to exit when he stopped and looked back at the old man.

  “Ah, about what time?” he asked.

  Ernest’s expression turned to a sadistic half grin as he replied, “Around 3:46.” Jacob quickly turned all the way around and stepped toward the counter.

  “I’m sorry but what time did you say?” he asked hoping he had heard incorrectly at first. But to no avail, as if pleasured by the way, the numbers rolled off his tongue; the shopkeeper repeated “3:46 p.m.,” Jacob said nothing, quickly turned, and exited the store.

  The sound of rain outside had seemed to grow louder. So loud he could hear nothing else. He didn’t want to go back; he didn’t want to remember. He looked up toward the sky and as the drops fell against his face blinding his vision, he went back once more, back to that fateful day…

  Jacob’s cell phone rang as he scurried down the stairs and opened the garage door. The rain was cold
and relentless further impeding his feeble attempt to make up for lost time.


  “Jacob, baby, where are you? You were supposed to be here over an hour ago!” The voice on the other end was scolding yet concerned. Jacob fumbled for both his car keys and a suitable reply as he positioned himself in the vehicle.

  “Well sweetheart uh, I got sidetracked and I’m running just a little late is all,” his voice spoke in a pleading manner as he exited his driveway.

  “A little late Jacob, you’re always late! Look at what time it is; my appointment is at 4 and it’s 3:46 p.m.! You know how important this thing was for me, for us! Never mind I’ll figure it out myself,” with that the phone went silent.

  “Theresa? Theresa please, just…” Knowing all too well what happened Jacob damned himself while flinging the phone to the back seat of the car.

  As Theresa stepped out of the airport, a taxi pulled in front of her, as if destined.

  “Need a ride miss?” asked the driver. Theresa nodded as she stepped into the car avoiding the rain in hopes of keeping her make-up at least somewhat intact. She gave the driver instructions then took her compact mirror out of her purse. She grabbed her lipstick carefully touching up her already naturally beautiful lips. But before she could place her items back in her purse, she would have to retrieve them from the floor as the driver slammed on his breaks. With a horrible screeching of tires trying to grip and the car’s horn blaring, Theresa held tightly to the back of passenger’s seat of the cab.

  Minutes later, about a mile from the airport another horn was given its fair play as Jacob weaved in and out of traffic before coming to a complete halt altogether. He rolled down his window as a police officer approached his car.

  “You’re gonna have to take another route sir, there’s a pretty bad accident up ahead. We’ve just got here and are working as fast as we can to clear the road.”

  “Is everyone ok? How bad is it?” Jacob asked as he opened his door and stepped out.


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