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There Was No Friday

by Luc Reid

This story did not appear on Friday, June 26th. In a sense, it never appeared.

For me I bet it was about the same as it was for you ... I went to bed on Thursday, but woke up on Saturday. It wasn't a Rip Van Winkle kind of thing: Friday was just missing. Specifically, someone had taken it.

This wasn't the kind of problem we usually dealt with at the Department of Time Misallocation. It was a relaxed job, usually, punctuated with coffee breaks and donuts. Every day we'd get a few cases of stolen moments, someone would lose an evening to drinking, and every fall there was always a flood of hapless dorks who didn't remember what they had done with the hour of Daylight Savings Time they had saved in spring. It was never anything serious. Time isn't really lost, after all: it's just used. A little cognitive restructuring generally takes care of everything.

But this was different, because in that week there was no Friday. Someone had diverted the entire day, so paychecks had been missed, schedules had been ruptured, and millions of senior citizens were stuck with an extra day's worth of prescription pills they didn't know what to do with. It was a horrible theft, a breathtaking theft, an inexplicable and uninvestigatable impossibility. We spent months on it, actually, and between the feverish work pace and the lack of donuts, most of us lost between two and eight pounds. That was all the good that ever came out of it, though. When we closed the case for good a year after the fact, we'd gotten no closer than we'd been that mind-slapping Saturday morning.

If that had been all, if it had been one crazy incident, we could have put it behind us--but we know it will happen again. We don't know when, or who, or how, but someone's shown the way, and now everyone's thinking about it: what they would do with it, an entire day to themselves, stolen and available for use at any time. It was like hiding a djinni in a backpack, like folding a summer meadow into the closet in the spare room. It was a little like eating the sun. What could you do with a stolen, unblemished day? Or more to the point: what couldn't you?

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