The Nutshell

The Nutshell is a creative collective under the government of Holly-Rose and Hannah-Rose with ODD and SPONTANEOUS tamperings by Logie-Bear; made up of writers, musicians, and artists. Here teacups are rife and insanity is always technicoloured.
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Beloved Squirrel
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Registration date : 2008-04-11

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PostSubject: 5 minutes   5 minutes Icon_minitimeThu 12 Feb 2009 - 4:01

5 minutes

Dad glanced up from the road to his stopwatch and turned to me with an excited grin. “Five minutes! You’ve been driving on the road perfectly for five minutes! How does it feel eh?”

I turned and grinned back.

I awoke with a start as sweat dripped from every pore, sliding around my eyes. Once the world had come into focuse the clock read 5:03am. No time to go back to sleep now. Stumbling out of bed to the window, the floor tiles were cold against my bare feet. When I moved the curtains aside a blast of sound and noise erupted and poured into my apartment with an icy blast.

Life in the city. Great.

The morning ablutions took place and the clock read 6:10am. Time to get breakfast. The carpet was a brief respite of warmth that was stolen by the kitchen floor. Why was everything so damn cold? I was out of milk and I had no bread left. My options were to eat raw cornflakes, choke myself on dry muesli, or go out for breakfast before work. Considering I was in the mood for a hot breakfast, the latter seemed the best option.

Picking up my watch and wallet on the way to the front door, the picture of my family caught my eye. While it had always been there, my dream about Dad struck a chord in my heart and I missed them. I missed them all.

The elevator didn’t offer much hope for humanity. Human waste of various kinds, either biological or painted adorned the walls. I didn’t live in an upmarket area, nor was it downtown; I guess you get creeps everywhere. With a solid ‘thunk’, the elevator stopped at the level 2 car park.

My car was parked where it always was. We didn’t get allocated car parks, but we may as well have. Everyone parked in their own little area so no one would interfere with anyone else’s plans. I hardly ever saw anyone else who lived in the same building as me. Occasionally I wasn’t alone in the elevator but eye contact is a quickly dying tradition. My car, however, met my eye with an inanimate wink.

I love this car. My Dad bought it for me when I first got my license. The bright red paint was peeling around the edges, the paintjob interrupted with acne of rust but it still looked great to me. The door popped open and I sat in the seat and took a deep breath.

The motor purred into life and the car showed it’s true, unpeeling self. The stopwatch hung from the rearview mirror. I started the watch and began to pull out of the car park.


The stopwatch read 3 minutes. Traffic was flowing. This was not good. I would have to find a park within the next minute or so. I spotted a park next to the McDonalds clinging on to the side of a block like a greasy barnacle. My stomach churned at the thought but the stopwatch beeped. With a sigh, I pulled into the park.

An overly confident and happy young lady served me a salad with a disdainful look. It was either the fact I was ordering something that took effort to make and wasn’t sitting and rotting on the warming shelf, or because they still had last months hamburger patties to dispose of somehow. With cardboard lettuce in tow, I moved to the horrible seating. It seems humankind is not ready for back support as the gaudy red stools suggested. Sprouting from the floor like creepy mushrooms, I tried to decide which was worse; the décor or the ‘food’.

With my cynicism in full roar, I ate my salad grudgingly. My watch beeped, I would be late for work.

I abandoned my salad at the table and ran to my car. Resetting the stopwatch, I pulled out. I work only ten minutes from my apartment block but it may have well been twenty minutes away with the delays and traffic.

The stopwatch beeped. I was only 2 minutes away from work. The display read 4 minutes 20 seconds and counting up. I had to make a move quickly. There were no parks anywhere nearby and work loomed above me. I decided, stupidly, to push my limits. 4 minutes 50 seconds.

I was close. I could taste victory. My car space was 500 meters in front of me. The stopwatch’s alarm beeped down. I was 100 meters away when the stopwatch hit 5 minutes.


The policeman tapped on the window. My neck ached, like it had been snapped. It hadn't but it hurt as much. A brief glimpse in the rearview mirror showed bruising on my forehead and it began throbbing. My lip was cut and I had a black eye. What a great start to the day.

Apparently my car had suddenly stopped in the middle of traffic and caused the car behind me to rear end me, throwing my head forward against the steering wheel. The other driver was fine and seemed embarrassed about the whole situation. I couldn’t tell who he blamed from his expression. He was hard to read. The Policeman clearly thought I was nuts but thought the damage to my car and my face was enough justice for the situation. The other driver simply waved me away when I went to ask for his insurance details. “Let’s just deal with our own problems, shall we?”

Those words either had more meaning before they left his mouth or once they had reached my ear, but they certainly struck home. Looking at my car, his words added insult to crippling injury – my car had grown shorter by a quarter of a meter. Fucking great.


I walked into work half an hour late. I was greeted with looks of pity from my fellow cubicle rats – not because of my obvious physical injuries but because of what I was about to receive from our petrifying overlord – Margaret.

Margaret should’ve been dead. She was one of those people who had graduated from the simple method of counting age by candles to carbon dating. Worst of all was she was fat. I’m not talking normal leftover weight from the holidays fat but massive. If she weren’t such a repulsive being, they would have milked several Discovery Channel specials out of her swelled, putrid flesh. Unfortunately for us; she had always been fat and her years as an underdog fueled her with the rage that turned her cheeks purple and sent ripples throughout her bulk.

You could hear her coming by the wake of silence she left behind her. Weekend stories being hushed with the sound of suddenly shuffled paper and nonchalant typing. I swear my mind added Jurassic Park footsteps to her approach. I followed the example of my colleagues and started typing.

The silence was deafening until I heard the signature “ahem” behind me. To the untrained and blind listener, Margaret’s throat clearing sounded cute, like a puppy’s first yelp but with experience you would learn that the puppy was actually being strangled and drowned in fake sugar and pink syrup.

“Running late are we?” Margaret asked me in her most insincere and sugarcoated voice. I could smell the doughnuts screaming from within her.

“Yes, I had a traffic accident, I apologize Margaret” I replied, swiveling in my office chair. She seemed almost shocked when she saw my face. For an instant I saw actual emotion, as if there was a real person stuck inside a giant angry fat-suit. She almost regained her composure – “Be more careful next time. It’s very easy to lose someone special in such accidents”. And with a candy-floss puff she left me in a slack-jawed state.

I checked my vital signs. My head was there; painful but still attached. My heart was beating but my head was in a flurry. Had Margaret just shown actual human emotion? Was there more to her than two dimensions of pure bitch?

The office rats turned back to their computers, just as dazed as I was.


I worked a 12 hour shift. It kept me busy. It filled my life up. The car smiled as I approached but I knew it was just trying to make me feel better.

I was sick of this, sick of work, sick of life, sick of being afraid. Sick of being stuck in the same 2 square kilometers. My life had been controlled by my phobias for 10 years. An entire decade. It was time for me to take the reigns.
I got into the car, started the engine purring and put on my seatbelt. I looked at the stopwatch. It glared at me as it swung to and fro menacingly. I returned the glare. “Fuck you!” I said as I reset the timer. The milliseconds started hurtling forwards and I pulled out of the office and onto the motorway.

2 minutes. I was approaching the off ramp which would take me back to where I used to live.

3 minutes. Getting closer and closer. I was driving as fast as I could, trying to escape the grips of time.

4 minutes, I was welcomed to the town by a sign blurred by my speed

4 minutes, 30 seconds. I could see the hill. Where it all began.

4 minutes, 40 seconds. I saw the white cross, stuck to the fence. Mum still put flowers by it every Saturday.

4 minutes, 55 seconds. I was doing it! I was escaping!

Dad glanced up from the road to his stopwatch and turned to me with an excited grin. “Five minutes! You’ve been driving on the road perfectly for five minutes! How does it feel eh?”
“It’s great dad! It feels so free!” I glanced back to him, saw the excited grin on his face as he shared his true passion with me. Father passing on to son.

His grin faded and he looked past me.

“Son! Look ou-

I snapped out of it, looked where my dad was looking in my memory. I tried to regain control in time but it was too late.

The stopwatch beeped.

5 minutes.

Logan Here! Logan there! Logan over there!

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