With one hand on the pink paper and the other absorbedly weaving the dull-pointed, teeth-shredded yellow pencil in and out of his two-and-a-half month grown-out mop of prematurely ashen hair, Frederick Price contemplated the existence of time in relation to space: time being the end of his summer vacation and space being the fully furnished two-bedroom apartment containing the scratched and splitting beech wood computer desk at which he currently sat, contemplating. Frederick’s was a mind full of intelligent inner monologue and useless sliced-off corners of four years’ worth of university core subject matter. His four loves were mathematics, his white Persian cat Zeno of Elea, Marian MacInnis and escargots, in that very order. The thought of any of these things at any time of day or night could almost always produce a chilling, powerful shiver deep in the colon of Frederick Price. At this moment in time, while time and space were occupying the electric sparks and sputters of his brain, the earth was inevitably and helplessly spinning on its axis, facing the sun with one side of its swollen belly, yet at an angle which could only scarcely warm the fifty-three year old building stubbornly rooted in the town of Diamond Ridge, the very one which sheltered Frederick Price.
Frederick intimately knew two things: mathematics and Zeno of Elea. Intimately knowing these things, he was not at all surprised when Zeno of Elea interrupted his complex inward philosophical debate as it was coming to a constructive mental flux because he knew in the pit of his soul, or his colon, that Zeno had been eyeing him from the slightly cracked doorway for approximately six minutes and twenty-five seconds. Zeno of Elea sauntered in, tail swaying, and gracefully leaped onto the desk, curious and jealous of Frederick’s mind being somewhere he wasn’t and determined to put a halt to the distasteful state of affairs. Frederick absently, though affectionately, stroked the old cat, now concentrating on his purpose at this desk, namely the pink paper. It was an updated timetable for the upcoming school year and a request for teaching staff planning periods. The sheet had, he recognised, been sitting on his desk since the middle of April, but Frederick had hardly noticed the bane, unimportant dyed slice of forest wood amongst the pile of unopened mail and math journals. Certainly the deadline for returning the pink sheet was long past, and the mere thought of bothering with it now bored him to the brink of depression. Anxious to find an opportunity to forget the duty lying impatiently in front of him, he called to Marian in the kitchen for an update on the status of dinner. She shouted back to him in her low and rough voice that he would have to just wait because she sure as hell can’t get supper ready as fast as he always wants it when she’s the only one who bothers to do a damn thing around the house, including the cooking and if he’s so hungry why can’t he get off his old, rusting ass and make himself a sandwich. Frederick lifted Zeno of Elea, still stroking her fur and scratching her chin, and rose from his seat with a mind to get his papers in order for Monday. All staff was required back at the school at half past nine on Monday to prepare their classrooms and their new morning sleeping schedules for the pupils’ return on Thursday. Frederick Price had four hates: the theatre, fat people, Marian MacInnis and teaching, in no particular order. The thought of any of these things at any time of day or night could almost always produce a chilling, powerful shiver deep in the colon of Frederick Price.