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The following contains mild profanity and euphemisms. Reader discretion is advised.

—how would I write if All the Time in the World showed up, uninvited, and offered herself to me? Would I push her away, saying, “Sorry, no time”? Argue in defense of not enough?

This is why I don’t…
This is why I can’t…
This is why I haven’t…

Or would I truly hear her name, All the Time in the World? See her where she stands before me, berry-blushed and naked, legs apart, arms open, a smile playing on lips that make me want to…

Make me want to
Make me want to
Make me want to

…rush. Her lips, slightly open, and all the rest of her make me want to rush. The hammer of my accelerating heartbeat gives my urgency away, while the hair on my arms and other vital parts rise.

All the Time in the World moves closer. I can smell the sandalwood and cedar musk of her. A breeze picks up from somewhere to my left and lifts the corkscrew curls of her reddish-brown hair. The slope of her collarbone, a pair of apostrophes above two cherry pips on sundaes take me back to banana splits at Woolworths with Shirl Hedlock where I finally worked up the nerve to ask her out, and then her family moved to West Chester, and I never saw the east-west chest of Shirl Hedlock again.

All the Time in the World wrapped her arms around me. I’m aware of being inconsistent in my tenses. Does she know I’m tense? Present, past and future are balling up in my head like the pungent rolling prize of a scarab. Maybe the hard-working dynastic bugs of old were trying to impress scarab pharaohs, Nefertiti queen beetles, competing for the biggest—shit! If I don’t get serious about my writing soon—

“No, no, no, screw serious! You’re doing fine.”

All the Time in the World pokes my sweaty diaphragm with a cocked finger, and I tip like a bowling pin, like a bottle of milk left on the porch in a sudden squall, onto the bed where I’d been lying and thinking and lying to myself, “I will never write again.” Now, All the Time in the World is lying on top of me, and while I’m having trouble remembering what comes after exhale, lush, ripe pomegranate prose starts pouring out…


Author’s Note: While debates with no hope of solution at their present level of thinking zing across the airwaves, dividing us in disillusioned heaps of politics, religion, sex and how we orient our sex, a fertility god walks the earth. His name is Tom Robbins. The American novelist, author of Jitterbug Perfume and Skinny Legs and All, among others, navigates a fine, humourous, invigorating line between all of our insanities. For forty-plus years, Robbins has been penning phrases that are seemingly innocuous, setting them in scenarios so absurd you feel like you’ve found a piece of meteorite or the Meaning of Life. The phrase that got me sprinting to my keyboard this a.m. comes from Tom’s 1971 novel (his first) Another Roadside Attraction. “The uncomfortableness of associations” doesn’t sound like much, I know. As with all Robbins’s work, you have to be there—but only if you want to. In the tradition of the best gods and goddesses, he doesn’t seem to give a flying rip one way or the other.

© Elaine Stirling, 2013