Nov. 12th, 2011

I freely admit that there are days when I need a drink. I suppose this is indicative of a problem with alcohol. I take some comfort in knowing that those days are rare, so I am at the very least a high-functional drunk.

So on a Sunday when I absolutely could not start the lawn mower, mere hours after my water heater mysteriously stopped working, and I felt the need to drink beer in the company of friends, or at least other sympathetic high-functional drunks, I didn't resist. I hopped in the car and drove over to _The_Stopped_Clock_, my favorite bar. It's a quirky little place that serves as a haven for any number of strange characters, most of whom happen to be time travelers.

_The_Stopped_Clock_ is strange in that it's not always in its usual location. There have been plenty of times when I have driven by and looked for that familiar burnt-out neon sign, the 'O's shaped like clock faces, and I can't find it. I look between the hardware store and the warehouse for its nondescript screen front door but it's simply not there. Interestingly, it's always there when I want a drink, something that Edgar has never been able to adequately explain to me.

Edgar is _The_Stopped_Clock_'s omnipresent bartender. He never seems to get a day off and nobody ever works his shifts. When I ask him about his hours, Edgar frowns and points to the sign over the bar that reads 'HOUR' IS A FOUR LETTER WORD. Units of time are verboten in _The_Stopped_Clock_, one of the few rules that is strictly enforced. For the most part, in that curious bar, anything else goes.

Edgar nodded as I pushed open the door and began pulling me a beer off the tap. A bunch of regulars were there – no surprise, not even on a Sunday afternoon; I could swear some people live in the place. Retro Retro's eyes lit up as I approached his table.

"Andy!" he exclaimed happily. "You're just in time!"

"Oh, no," I said. "Not another bowling competition?"

"No, no, no," said the scruffy veteran time traveler hastily. "Nothing like that. We're having a party, and we need to pick up the cake. Tell me," said Retro Retro, gripping my upper arm firmly and steering me away from the table, "tell me: as a native of this time period, are you in possession of an apparatus known colloquially as a 'car'?"

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