Un

As I expected, the sun finished setting in the east, drawing light down into itself.

So appearances would inform you, if you saw it. From my short and unhappy survey (leading question: “What the hell is going on?”), I knew that none around me (which was just one person, my spouse) professed to see what I saw. You can call it (as I did, trying to elaborate to her) an eastern sunset, but I knew it was the sunrise going backward.

That’s the expression that drew a brisk, dismissive head shake from my wife when I uttered it. Then she executed the ‘I’m-going-to-avoid-the-crazy’ scurry. Except, she walked backwards and did it before I spoke.

Let’s back up (ha, ha, yeah).

Yesterday morning, in our home office, still on pandemic sheltering, I’d noticed things. Temperatures were falling; my wife undressed from her exercise class and returned to her nightwear. The cat walked to his kibble bowl and dropped food from mouth to bowl, and then walked out backwards. “What the hell?”

The computer’s clock was reversing, as was my Fitbit. Breaking news comments vanished from FB, and then the news went away.

I put pieces together through tests. The day was progressing backwards. I could speak correctly and be understood when I was in the same room with my wife. But everything I heard when she wasn’t around was backwards. People and cars went backwards, as did birds, cats and dogs, and squirrels. I couldn’t shout, “Look, look,” and point things out to her. That cause and effect wasn’t working.

Terrified, helplessly, I ‘un-ate’ my oatmeal and un-made my breakfast.

Need I tell you about my toilet experiences?

It was a long, long night.

Then I got up from going to bed, sucked up my spit and toothpaste, and experienced once more the revulsion of un-urinating. Finishing, I spied a man in my bathroom mirror.

I would say that I shit myself, but that’s no longer how life functioned.

Whirling, I gawked at this tall, pale man in a green bathrobe with blue pinstripes. Clean-shaven, his black hair sprang in every direction. One hand held a glass mug with, I guessed, had beer in it, from its sudsy amber effervescence. The other hand was in his robe pocket.

“Oh, there you are, finally.” Putting his mug down on the bathroom counter, he glanced about and pulled a revolted look. “Jesus, the bathroom, are you kidding? Why couldn’t you have been asleep?”

“Who are you?”

“I’m Un. Sorry about my attire but we don’t need to dress. I usually don’t, so consider yourself fortunate. I had company over and dressed for them.”

Stunned and silent, I stared at him. Dozens of questions and comments exercised my brain but none found the exit.

Looking at me, Un said, “You’re gonna attract flies. Close your mouth. Now, my name is Un. I’m here to fix you. People have something called chronoceptors. You’re a people so you have them. They’re teeny, tiny things, small as atoms. They’re part of your nervous system. Sometimes they get inflamed and stop working right, which screws with your time flow perception.”

Un had produced a white and blue stick and looked at it as he talked to me. On my end, I said, “What?” I wasn’t giving a good representation of myself.

Un said, “It’s not that uncommon. We usually catch it immediately, but sometimes we miss it. Usually, when we do, the afflicted go nuts or kill themselves. Call yourself lucky, cause that didn’t happen to you.”

“What?”

Un jabbed the white and blue thing into me. As I yelped and attempted to jump back, he cackled. “This is going to sting.”

It was stinging to the point that I was about to scream. Everything felt like it was on fire.

Then it stopped and I was alone, well, alone except for my cat. He was standing at the door, gazing at me. I was dripping sweat, but that’s all that I noticed about myself.

Did it really happen?

I don’t know.

I admit, though, I felt very relieved when I took a normal pee.

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