elincia: (voyager)
Nessa ([personal profile] elincia) wrote on October 24th, 2009 at 11:14 pm
before i forget to do this
Something I submitted to a writing showcase earlier this week. Thought I might as well put it up for reference.

Percy Windsor was a very meticulous boy.

While some people may consider meticulous as merely neat, Percy was the epitome of the word. He never went anywhere without a watch on his wrist. He planned out every single thing he would do during the day, going so far as to construct a schedule for himself every day, memorizing it the night before and then executing it. It didn’t take him long – the practice was integrated into his life so greatly that he could do it in minutes – but it often confused people he met.

He was not anti-social or stuck-up; he just had a very strict method of doing things. If people didn’t understand, he was not willing to explain. That was all.

The construction of a daily schedule had started long ago, when he was a child. His father, the CEO of a large conglomerate, had told him that the key to success was organization. “If you leave things to chance, they will not go the way you want,” he had said. “Take matters into your own hands and you will become successful.”

The world revolved around organized action; that was Percy’s belief.


“Shall I take tomorrow’s schedule, young master?” Wilfred had faithfully served Percy since the latter had been but an infant, doting on his needs and wants. One of his routine duties was to help Percy memorize the next day’s schedule, although schedules didn’t change often between days.

Percy handed over a typed sheet of paper. Taking it with a bow, Wilfred quickly scanned its contents. It was the usual: wake up, brush teeth, wash face, greet parents, eat toast with jam, put on black loafers, et cetera.

“What path are you taking to school tomorrow?” the butler asked.

“The park. As usual.”

“The first person you will be greeting?”

“Marcus or Alex, depending on who I see first.”

And so the questions went on. Each day was a similar pattern, though the questions and answers varied. Percy never answered incorrectly. This repetition of action gave stability to his life, something concrete, something to hold on to against change.

7:14 AM-7:27 AM: Walk through park to school.

The park was a beehive of chaos. Percy only found solace in the fact that it was constantly chaos.

He did, however, enjoy his daily dosage of clean, fresh air, which he also knew was good for his health. Along with air, it gave him some exercise, even though he also allotted himself half an hour daily for a job. So he tried to get along with the irregularities of nature.

People were another story, he thought, as he took his usual cobblestone path through the neatly lined trees and patches of grass. People had schedules – school, work, clubs, societies – and despite the most chaotic of people, it was natural for people to seek some level of regularity, or so he saw it.

He didn’t understand those chaotic people.

Passing from one cobblestone path to the next, he met the usual people he ran into: the jogging woman in her hot pink suit; the businessman striding by, swinging his suitcase with gusto; the lady with her baby stroller was a recent addition, but constant since then nonetheless.

Percy knew that his path turned around a corner to meet an empty park bench, where he would take a seat and meditate for a small while before moving on toward school. He approached the bench and was about to take a seat –

- and saw an old man, complete with frazzled nutty professor hair, sitting right where he always sat.

It was an abnormality.

Percy checked his watch, saw that it was 7:17 AM, and stopped at the next park bench instead, but the scenery was vastly different. He felt uneasy all day.

7:17 AM-7:18 AM: Sit down on park bench after going off first path.

He saw the old man again the next day, at 7:17 AM, at the same bench, disrupting his path again. Mentally, Percy made a note to shift his sitting area in tomorrow’s schedule.


“The usual Friday schedule, sir?” Wilfred asked his young charge. Over the past few days Percy had seemed visibly irked at something when he came home. Usually nothing fazed the boy and his structured day, so something must have happened.

“I’ll be sitting at another park bench tomorrow, Wilfred.”

“Is that all, young master?”

The young Windsor paused. “Yes, Wilfred, that is all.”

Wilfred didn’t say anything, but he nodded. Some things were not meant to be asked.

7:18 AM-7:19 AM: Sit down on second park bench after going off first path.

Armed with his newly edited schedule, which was engraved in his mind, Percy headed off to school that Friday as usual. He walked along the same cobblestone path, met the same jogging woman and businessman and lady with a stroller, observed the same kind of regularity in human action as well as the same kind of natural chaos as expected. As long as it didn’t affect him, Percy was perfectly accepting of others’ lack of constance.

He just didn’t quite comprehend it.

Percy rounded the corner, expecting to see the old man sitting on the bench that was formerly his meditating abode –

- but that man wasn’t there.

Puzzled, he checked his watch – it was 7:17 AM. He continued on with his plan, going to the following bench in order to meditate. But for the rest of the day, the man’s absence confused him.

7:14 AM-7:27 AM: Walk through park to school. Watch out for old man.

Over the next two weeks, Percy’s schedule hardly changed at all, but the old man was here, there and everywhere. One day, he was chasing around the city pigeons; another day, hugging a tree. Some days, he wasn’t even there.

Percy attempted to find a hidden meaning behind this lack of structure, but whatever it was, it seemed to elude him. What benefit was there to random, spur-of-the-moment choice? Wasn’t it a rash decision that caused the tragedy of Passchendaele? Wasn’t it the lack of planned moderation that caused tragedies from driving under influence?

At the same time, he felt like he didn’t understand something. It started to gnaw at him, nudging at him at the peripheral of his conscience. And it wouldn’t go away.


The anxiety, the time Percy spent staring at the computer screen as he printed off schedules that still did not change, the constant furrowed eyebrows; none of these slightly disturbing aberrations escaped Wilfred’s attention.

At first the butler thought it was just a phase, the one that all young boys went through at that age, but he began to worry when Percy hadn’t returned to his usual self after a week. After all, if the young master was in a dilemma, it was his duty to help.

One night, when Percy was once again sitting at his computer screen, Wilfred finally asked, “Young master, what seems to be the matter?”

Percy looked at him, finally tearing his eyes away from the screen, and said, “Wilfred, is there something wrong with organization?”

“Not that I know of, sir.”

“Then why do people not have it sometimes?”

Percy sounded so confused, and yet Wilfred couldn’t give his young charge an answer.

7:18 AM-7:21 AM: Find old man and talk to him.

It was a fine, clear morning, which was lucky for Percy because then he didn’t have to take a ride. Today, after all, was the planned day: he was going to confront the old, frizzy-haired man and ask just what was so much better about chaos.

He walked the usual cobblestone path and saw the hot pink suit, the swinging suitcase and the baby stroller. He reached the usual bench and, luckily for him, the old man was there, just like the first time he saw him. He took a deep breath – after all, he was still a young boy questioning an old man! – and asked, “What are you doing, sir?”

“Just lying on this bench here, admiring the sky,” the man answered, quite nonchalantly.

“But you weren’t doing that yesterday.”

“I didn’t feel like it yesterday. So I did something else.”

“But what about the day before?”

“Well, I feel different every day. So I’ll do whatever I want.”

Percy was completely baffled. After all, he couldn’t understand this need for sheer chaos. “But isn’t there something you have to do? Don’t you have a plan or something? Isn’t making all these decisions last-minute bad for people? Why leave everything to luck?”

“Have you ever heard of the many-worlds interpretation?”

The boy shook his head, looking bewildered. “What does that have to do with it?”

“Well, it’s basically the idea of parallel universes. It says that for every event that could have happened in our past, but didn’t, there exists a universe out there in which it happens. In the same way, events in the future can have many, maybe infinite, outcomes, which each exist in their own universe but branch from the same point in time. For example, there’s a world out there where you don’t talk to me today. Or one where I die and you’re never able to talk to me.” The old man paused. “Perhaps that was a bit morbid, but it gets the point across.”

Percy nodded again. “But I don’t get it – what does that have to do with it?”

“Let’s simplify what this idea is,” the old man said. “No matter how small the chance is, there is the possibility of something completely unexpected happening, something that is beyond your control. It could be something like a car crashing and blocking your path to school, it could be a leaf falling on your nose. If you’re not flexible, if you can’t get used to change, your ability to live in and learn from the space around you is much less. So why plan everything out down to the finest details if you don’t know what will happen?”

The boy looked at the old man on the bench, trying to digest the man’s words. The old man looked at the watch on his wrist.

“I figure I’m only taking up your time, so you’d better go,” he said kindly.

On Percy’s watch, the digits switched to 7:21 AM.


Percy had arrived back on time as usual, had neatly hung his coat up as usual, had carefully set down his bag and his belongings in his room as usual, had checked his email as usual, and had gone to the washroom. As usual.

Wilfred was only happy to see that the tense, annoyed atmosphere surrounding his charge seemed to have lifted; at the very least, Percy was no longer constantly furrowing his eyebrows, which was a good sign.

As the butler sorted out some papers on the young Windsor’s table, hoping to clean it up for him before he started the day’s homework, he noticed a schedule on the desk. It was marked for the following day with details and plans, except for one small section in the morning.

7:14 AM-7:27 AM:

So yeah. Whee. Thanks to all my awesome friends for coming, including [livejournal.com profile] sidevocalist , of course. :D Shall post about life tomorrow when you can probably hear me complain about the lack of GUILTY yet again. Here's to hoping otherwise. >_<
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