Clock Zero tells the story of Tom, a Millennial wasting his life chasing Likes on social media until he meets Daniel Drake, a mysterious man with a daring plan to free the world of its social media obsession. Tom is captivated by the premise of a new unplugged world, but is Daniel Drake the good Samaritan he claims to be?
Clock Zero beautifully captures the existentialist struggle of this generation. A master stroke of wit and suspense, Clock Zero sheds light on the dark side of an always-connected world: smartphone addiction, digital self-absorption, global terrorism, and Silicon Valley’s unfettered quest to generate ever more profits at the expense of our humanity.
She stands at the edge of the cliff. Her gaze sheering off into the abyss.
I’m standing ten feet behind her next to the dirt-smothered bullet-riddled olive black Cherokee. The smooth sphere of an M67 clinched firmly in my hand like a hot baseball in a catcher’s glove. I’m eyeing the brass, ring-shaped safety clip like a groom having cold feet under a chuppah, and all I can hear is my own frantic breathing, shallow and loud and unsynchronized.
There’s a gentle breeze in the air, the sun’s hot and round, and shining clear. The sky is endless blue. Timeless and proud.
“You still got time,” I shout.
“Never!” she yells back.
“Listen to me, you don’t have to do this. It’s all my fault.”
“It’s ours,” she shouts back.
“Damn you, Marty. We’re running out of time.”
Ivory plumes of tire smoke emerge from the distant sand dunes like giant cobras charmed by God.
“They’re onto us! Take my car and get out of here,” I yell.
“Just blow the damn thing and let’s get on with it!” she fires back.
I pull the safety clip.
And it feels like pulling a plastic lid from a milk carton. The roaring engines of a dozen Toyota pickup trucks shake the ground under my feet.
They’re close, very close.
She says, “Tom, it’s going to be awesome.”
“It’s so steep, it’ll be like flying.”
I say, “Marty, you’re thinking of angels. This is no post-punk Slowdive. This is Stairway to Heaven on impact kind of dive.” I tell her, “Marty, you know we’re going to die?”
She shrugs. She stands there placid and collected like we’re bungee jumping from a paltry viaduct atop a creek. Nerves of steel.
Here goes nothing! And I release the lever.
The spring throws the striker into the percussion cap, igniting a spark that slowly burns the detonator fuse. I slide the armed grenade into the Jeep. Countdown.
An explosion is basically an act of turning a solid or a liquid into gas. Fast. A single M67 grenade is filled with 6.5 ounces of Composition B, a mixture of RDX and TNT, plus a little paraffin wax. When detonated, the RDX and TNT cocktail turns into nitrogen and carbon monoxide at 22,600 feet per second. Mach 20. Supersonic shockwave. BOOM.
I spring over to Marty’s side.
We’re towering ten thousand feet above Lake Zargon and its five hundred hectares of shimmering turquoise H2O in the sun. The brain stops processing distance at two thousand feet. It all just looks the same from up here, and death never looked so beautiful.
She clenches my hand and tilts her head towards me. Now we’re transfixed. She’s gazing at me, and I‘m lost in the indigo blue ocean of her eyes. Everything’s in slow motion.
At this height the air is razor thin. You get wasted with a gulp of oxygen free air. This is God’s way of giving us one final hangover.
On the house.
I twist my head backward and see the sun reflecting on their fake Ray Bans from behind the crack running across the windshield. I see the ceramic gray barrel of an AK47. Incensed eyes shooting copper-plated steel jacket bullets between my eyes. My heart muscles flex and wane madly. My quad heart valves on overdrive.
A heart can pump 2.3 ounces of blood per beat. The human heart can beat at over 300 beats per minute. This means your heart can pump over five and a half gallons of blood a minute. This is more than four times the blood in your entire body. That’s a shitload of blood to pump in sixty seconds.
I’m turning white.
Beads of sweat roll down my temple and onto my cheek before dripping into the void, leaving drops of sweat in the dirt. My tongue is mountain rugged and dry. Grand Canyon. I taste iron.
Marty’s hair is flapping in the wind and her baby face looks serene and peaceful and beautiful like a newborn baby seeing its mother for the first time.
Marty says those who truly live never truly die.
Their pickup trucks squeal and doors slam shut and their sweat and smell and cries and dust fill the air. They’re so close I can feel the shadows of their guns pierce a hole in my spine.
Marty tugs on my hand. “It’s time,” she says, and all I want to do is shrink into one of the pebbles I’m standing on and hide and cry, and death never looked so real.
Marty bends her knees slightly. I follow suit and we stand like two Olympian synchronized swimmers primed to swan-dive. No spectators, no judges, no medals, no ESPN. We’ll die unknown. Soldiers for the cause. Just like real heroes: Nameless and proud.
And we leap. We leap into the bottomless void and Marty looks at me, her purple and blue hair fluttering and flapping, and says, “We are flying like angels, don’t you see?”
Composition B goes BOOM.
Flash of blinding light.
It’s pitch dark.
My skin feels damp.
I’m awake now, and drenched in my own sweat.
I cringe. Just a nightmare. What I feel now is disappointment. Anticlimax. Letdown.
I check my phone and shut my eyes again. It’s all gone. A Snapchat story.
Why do I only live when I die?