While attempting to broaden their studies on the ill effects to the body of changing the time, trivial though an hour may seem, researchers with San Narciso County’s Office of Health and Human Services (OHHS) stumbled on a rare, unprecedented phenomenon that they claim is exclusive to the town.
"For the first time in our annual assessment, we incorporated the population of Hobo Gardens," explained Dr. Hilarus Lustig, chief psychologist for the OHHS.
Hobo Gardens is the county's dedicated, "extro-urban" transient community, which intersects the Vineland freeway on-ramp near the North Viaduct area -- the ownership of which San Narciso continues to dispute.
"What we discovered was reality shattering," Lustig said. "An entire community of people, who once had jobs and families, trapped in a perpetual 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 25, 1987."
Researchers struggled to gather coherent details about the origins of the situation, but pieced together, through insane and ranting interviews, that the problem began with a cocaine and whiskey fueled orgy involving a clique of bankers at a costume party.
Heavily dosed on drugs and booze, one of the bankers at the 1987 Halloween themed soiree overhead on the television to set the clock back an hour.
"So at two am, the time was changed to one," Lustig remarked. "But then when the clock reached two again, another of the intoxicated bankers set it back. Again. This process ostensibly continued for months, until the group was forcibly evicted from the premise."
The psychological toll on the minds of the bankers, Lustig believes, is impossible to ascertain without further study.
"Can you imagine watching the sun rise and set, the seasons change, your body age, and your job and family disappear as your mind convinces itself that only an hour has elapsed? And that the hour will never end?" Lustig pondered. "Many of those with whom we spoke were certain they had died and gone to hell. Which for a bunch of young, reckless, drug-addled bankers wouldn't be a surprising moral epiphany."
According to Abel Wharfinger, the dean of History at San Narciso College, the idea of time vortices, dating back to the eighteenth century, "are not only common but troubling. There's enough historical evidence to show that whenever the time table is altered by an event, whether manmade or otherwise, it shakes people to both their spiritual and psychological cores. As one example, historians will never quite escape the paranoia created during the Eleven Missing Days of '52."
Wharfinger’s reference chronicles the 1752 Gregorian "Calendar Reform," which cut 11 days from the calendar by an act of Parliament to better align dating conventions with new measurements of the earth's spin and orbit, undertaken by astronomers.
"Charles Mason, of the Mason-Dixon land surveying duo, recorded the fantastic and haunting event in his journals," Wharfinger explained.
"According to Mason, people caught in the time vortex wandered a strange limbo as a 'vast Hive of Ghosts not quite vanish'd into Futurity' for 11 days. During this period, Mason claimed to have discovered a band of Pygmies who had set up plantations outside of corporeal chronology, effectively removing themselves from independent time. But he also warned that, for reasons unknown, these Pygmies would continue to chase us across the borders of a 'doubly occupied time.' This conspiracy, shared by many students of history, spawned a great deal of spiritual dread, which has endured to this day."
Dr. Lustig, however, adamantly refuses to accept that these "time convicts," as he refers to the Hobo Gardens group, have fallen victim to the appearance of a preternatural time vortex.
"In my medical opinion," Lustig said, "they're just a bunch of strung-out morons. And because they're all bankers, it's not likely anyone is going to tell them to stop dickering with this hour in their metaphysical clocks. Better in a transient commune than writing predatory loans, I would imagine."
2013. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. See disclaimers.