Tick-Tock Tick-Tock (+ Free Short Story)
What's that ticking?
If you visit a certain gallery of The British Museum, you'll hear a lot of ticking. There's a permanent exhibition devoted to clocks that gets a little noisy but, for some unknown reason, my visits to those rooms have stayed with me in the five years since my last trip to London.
I've previously published a short story set in the clock room, but I found myself back there in Max when Valerie visits for a private meeting with someone. Despite its public location, that room remains a great place to have a secret meeting because it's not all that popular.
And yet . . . Watching the development of clocks through the ages and seeing the ornate timepieces alongside the merely functional is an important lesson in a museum full of important lessons.
The only true aim of a clock is to tell the time. Whatever we dress the clock up in or however we present that central aim, it's still only a form of window dressing for the ultimate goal of displaying the time. We want the window dressing, sure, but we could live without it.
That's the case with most things in life, although please don't think I'm suggesting we forego the pretty things like the books on our shelves or collectible figurines. I'm just reminding myself that the window dressing doesn't have to exist for the timepiece to be accurate - take that in whatever way you wish.
Here's a brief snippet from the scene in Max set in The British Museum:
They were near the main staircase now, so it was natural for them to descend to the atrium. Valerie deliberately hooked their arms together as they walked, marvelling at how much lighter and airier it was down here compared to the claustrophobic galleries full of ticking clocks and enthusiastic tourists. The atrium felt like the eye of a storm, if such an eye came adorned in brilliant white.
Max is currently available on pre-order at the special launch price of 99p/ $0.99 over on Amazon. It will be released on 28 March 2022.
PS. If you want to read that short story I mentioned earlier, you can download it for free using this link. It's called 'Cuckoo and Quail'.