The Day little Timmy stopped the world.
Flash fiction story = less than 600 words.
Indeed it is probably unfair to lay the blame on little Timmy Rothschild simply because it was his birthday. In reality, the blame could more fairly be laid at the feet of his mother, if only she could have been expected to know. After all, it was she who in her rush omitted to position the fifth candle in place on top of the birthday cake. You see, little Timmy was turning 5 that day, not 4.
In retrospect, and really only if Mrs. Rothschild could have been expected to know, and of course, at the time, none of us could have been expected to know, but nevertheless in retrospect, it would have been a hell of a lot better for everyone if she were not to have noticed the omitted candle. For her to have continued on into the lounge room without returning to the kitchen. Sure, a short period of embarrassment would probably have ensued for little Timmy. Perhaps it may even have been a life scarring moment. And of course no one would have wanted that. But, all of us left today would attest to that being a far better option than the global disaster that took place instead. Even Timmy’s mother. If she had survived. Perhaps even, little Timmy. If he were yet old enough to understand.
For you see, at presicely four minutes past one on the 28th day of March 2006 AEST, in order for the world to continue to spin, it was absolutely essential that the singing of “Happy Birthday” had commenced to be sung to little Timmy Rothschild.
The gathering at Anika Lorenstein’s 84th birthday celebration in Switerland had done their part, clocking in at three minutes, ten seconds past the hour (AEST), to take over from 10 ten year old Mohammed Imran in Bangladesh, (2 minutes 45 seconds past, AEST). All it needed was for little Timmy’s party to pick up the baton and be singing before Anika’s party had stopped. And then, the ever thinning coverage of the singing of “Happy Birthday” on March 28th would have been averted. And the world would have continued to turn. Well, at least for another year.
If only she hadn’t forgotten that 5th candle!
But alas, what good is there dwelling on the past? For how could any of us had known? All we can do is be thankful that Mary Tanner, in all that horrible worldwide devastation that took place in the ensuing seconds following little Timmy’s no show, gathered the young lifeless body of her 3 year old daughter Laura in her arms and gently sang “Happy Birthday” to her, for even in her death it was still her birthday. And the world started to turn again.
Yes. All we can do now is look forward and continue the resurrection of human civilization, if not as we once new it, then as close as we can remember. And we can plan ahead to avert any such future disasters. With planned pregnancies. And well timed births. And ensure there are no slip ups. No omitted candles. To ensure that “Happy Birthday” is being sung on each and every day, indeed each and every second, of every day, of every year, somewhere, in order for the world to continue to turn.
Of course, none of this will change the fact that people will continue to blame poor little Timmy Rothschild for what happened. It was after all his birthday. And thus, the 28th of March will continue to be known as the day little Timmy stopped the world.