Eric wondered whether the clock’s stopping had taken place in broad daylight, or whether the hands had ceased their relentless turning in the London night, unremarked by human eyes.
His day swallowed him whole, the passing thoughts faded into the background. Two weeks later, on his first day back to work from his annual summer holiday, the ever-still hands locked at just before twenty to three caught his eye straight away. He reached his office, shut the door and picked up the phone.
“Yes, hello. Your clock doesn’t seem to be working. Did you know about it?”
Eric liked order, above all things. On putting the receiver back in its cradle, he felt satisfied at having alerted the management to the problem.
On his way home, he opened the Evening Standard, settling down to read. At the bottom of page 7, a news item caught his eye and his satisfaction disappeared, replaced by a strange empty feeling.
“Hotel clock winder dies on duty”
Still, at least he had helped them find the poor old man.