Friday, December 28, 2012

FFF: A Brand New Year

Every Friday Kurt posts a new flash fiction story. In this week's installment, we celebrate the New Year...

A Brand New Year
Word Count: 596

Hawkins floated into the office on a cloud of personal ambition. Sawyer knew the look well—he’d seen it destroyed many times.

“Boss,” said Hawkins, “I want to run an idea past you.”

“Okay,” said Sawyer.

“Every December we make a new year,” said Hawkins, “but it’s basically the same year as the old year. Well, this time, I want us to make a brand new year.”

Sawyer raised an eyebrow. “We stick with the old design because it works,” he said.

“Does it really?” asked Hawkins. “I mean, the last four months are named after numbers that they don’t correspond with. And what’s the deal with February?”

“People are used to the old system,” said Sawyer.

“I know,” said Hawkins, “and you’re probably going to think I’m crazy, but hear me out. I’ve put a lot of thought into this, and I think it’s really going to work.”

“Okay,” said Sawyer. He almost said “Fire away,” but he’d learned over the years that new employees got nervous when he casually tossed around the word “fire.”

“I think we can make something really special,” said Hawkins. “A total re-design. First, we get rid of July and August; we’re going to have ten months. This way, the last four months, their names will make sense again.”

Hawkins was staring at Sawyer with a wide grin, waiting for a reaction apparently. “Go on,” said Sawyer.

“Okay,” said Hawkins. “Fewer months will leave us with a glut of days. We pad out all the months to five weeks and one day standard. That will leave us with five extra days, which we can place strategically to align with holidays. Or we can add one to every other month, starting with Duober.”

“Duober?” asked Sawyer.

“Right,” said Hawkins. “See, the last four months are already named after numbers, so we rename the first six to match. Unober, Duober, Tresember, Quattuober, Quinqember, and Sextober. Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re probably thinking What about birthdays?” He paused for emphasis.

“Okay,” said Sawyer, “What about birthdays?”

“We can port them straight over from the old system using the Julian date. We’ll have to figure out what to do with Leap Day babies, but they’re used to birthday weirdness so I’m sure they’ll cope. And, after a few years, people will get the hang of it. And anyone born under the new system will be raised with it, so they won’t have any trouble, of course.”

“Of course,” said Sawyer.

“We can re-arrange holidays somewhat. We can move Thanksgiving to the fifth Thursday of November. Julian Dates can be a guide, but we might want to keep Christmas where it is, just for convenience. And there are still a few other details to hammer out.”

Sawyer stood. “What about Jewish holidays? Easter? Do you have any idea how hard it is to place Passover or Easter on a Gregorian calendar?”

“Well, the principles remain the same,” said Hawkins. “Sunday after the full moon after the equinox.”

“What about the Zodiac? There are a lot of things tied to the twelve-month year. You can’t reinvent the wheel just because a few spokes are off-center.”

“I know,” said Hawkins. “But I just thought… Why not make improvements? The transition will be tough, but don’t we owe it to the world to make things better if we can? Let’s shake things ups. What do you say?”

Sawyer chewed his tongue for a second. “What the hell,” he said. “Starting Unober first, we’re on the new system! Happy Brand New Year, everyone!”

Edited by Carolyn Abram.

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