Tick tock goes the clock

Image copyright: Sandra Crook

Image copyright: Sandra Crook

“Synchronise watches.”

Those years in special army units had taught him the importance of time and timing.

“Time – it’s a matter of life and death.”

They checked their watches, their phones.

The taxi arrived. “On schedule,” he said.

The airport was bustling. Some delays. Not their flight. They checked the departure boards – all those hours and minutes.

Him in his wheelchair – first on the plane, but last off. He fretted, checked his wrist.

At baggage collection, they adjusted their watches – forward by one hour – this is Berne, not Bolton.

The smartly dressed driver held up his sign – “Dignitas”.


Written in response to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ seductive weekly 100 word writing challenge. Find it here.

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61 Responses to Tick tock goes the clock

  1. Lori Carlson says:

    Oh no, such a sad story. I had to read it twice to get the full essence of it, but that is often a good thing. The layers in this are so well done!

  2. Margaret says:

    I love it when you get to the end of the story and have to go back and re-read – all the layers of meaning become clear. This is great.

  3. Both beautiful and moving. Great story.

  4. erinleary says:

    I had to read to find out what the sign meant. I understand now it was his final journey. You did it justice with your story.

  5. mickwynn2013 says:

    Very powerful. Time is omnipotent but fortunately most of us live in bliss not knowing how much we have left

  6. I too had to look up “Dignitas” Euthanasia is not legal in the US either. It is a very personal and moral choice. However, since I support Abortion rights I also support ones right to choose death. It is sad and tragic and should not be taken lightly, but sometimes necessary.

  7. Dee says:

    Yes, we have had quite a few debates here about euthanasia and will for a long time to come I think. Powerful story Patrick, well done.

  8. rgayer55 says:

    I’ve always been a procrastinator and the greatest achievement in that realm is being late to your own funeral. Don’t bother synchronizing your watches.

  9. Dale says:

    Don’t you just love it when you get your readers to look up a word? This was wonderful, Patrick. We all have to go some day and if we can actually organise it… well… is that always so bad?

  10. Jan Brown says:

    Very well done. I must admit, I had to look up Dignitas. Seems the hourglass makes many of us think about time running out.

  11. mjlstories says:

    Chilling story – well done. Birth is chancy and unpredictable, as is life. I think death should be too – but others would disagree.

  12. emmylgant says:

    You set up the ultimate ending very well, with a heart stopping bang. Great story

  13. liz young says:

    Oh, that was a shock. I liked the way you threaded time though the whole story.

  14. gahlearner says:

    This breaks my heart a little. Controlled and disciplined to the very end. Euthanasia is illegal in Germany, too, and with a reason. I’m undecided. While a painless, dignified end would be what I wanted, too, I think this also puts a huge burden on doctors. A heavy subject, well presented. C: perfectly misleading from possible military mission to family outing to this. Great punchline.

  15. jellico84 says:

    Beautifully captured.

  16. elmowrites says:

    I can’t imagine the emotions that accompany a trip like this. You succeeded in showing us the man, rather focusing on the situation. Nicely done.
    If it makes any difference, I knew something was up from the beginning, but you had me guessing about where they were going. I thought maybe it would turn out to be a stag party. How wrong can I be?

  17. Carolyn Page says:

    I believe it would take a well ordered mind to be in control of one’s end. Certainly he fits the bill.
    Sad yet dignified.

  18. Had to look up the last word, then it all came together. A lot of impact, great job!

  19. I had to google Dignitas.. somehow you capture the man with his sense of always being in control…and I do agree with your comment… there is something strange with a service like this being a so profitable.

  20. The older I get, and closer to death, the more I favor this kind of escape. I’m a planner too.

  21. Sandra says:

    Killer last line. So very well done, Patrick.

  22. Oh – I actually made an out loud sound on the last line – glad I wasn’t reading in public! Very well done.

  23. Good story, Patrick. Some people have to be in control. I imagine he did well in the army. Well done. —- Suzanne

  24. I like quiet stories that leave a powerful impact. Great story, Patrick!

  25. ceayr says:

    Excellent piece, Patrick, with ‘killer’ punch line.
    A sad possibility for many of us, I think.

  26. Dear Patrick,

    He’s a man who has always been on a tight schedule. It’s only natural he’d schedule his own death. I’ll admit to looking up “Dignitas.” Tightly, well ordered story served up with a side of chills.



    • Big debates here about euthanasia. Not legal in the UK but the law turns a blind eye to Switzerland. Dignitas is brand leader. And makes plenty of profit, no doubt.
      Now there’s a thought.

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