The Sock Drawer Anomaly by Reffster

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"Declan Maxwell Jones!"

Dec looked up in alarm.

"I'm coming to inspect that room of yours, right now," his mother's voice continued from downstairs, "and if it's not completely spotless, then I'm going to sell a non-essential bit of you for medical experiments."

Dec swallowed, dropped his book, and looked around in despair. What he saw wasn't good. In fact it was so far from good that even bad might be generous. A room in a house that had been in an earthquake and then a landslide and which had then been looted and then stampeded through by a herd of rabid wildebeests might be messier. A bit. But it would be close.

Where had the time gone? His mother had given him an hour to tidy his room and he'd intended to spend the time cleaning, he really had. It was just that the first thing he'd picked up had been his old battered copy of The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, which he was re-reading for about the zillionth time, and that little part of his brain which for some reason he hadn't learned to ignore yet, had whispered seductively to him, "Go on – a couple of pages won't hurt. You've got plenty of time."

And he'd had plenty of time, only that had been about fifty-nine and a half minutes ago, and now he didn't. He now had something like ten seconds - ten seconds into which he had to cram an hour's worth of cleaning. He leapt off his bed and began shoveling piles of dirty laundry under it.

"And if I find anything stuffed under your bed, I'll make it an essential bit," called his mother, displaying one of those astonishing but seriously annoying flashes of mind-reading she seemed to be capable of at the most inappropriate times. Dec started reefing clothes back out again, wondered briefly why he seemed to have more than he'd started with, and then remembered with a sinking feeling that last week's laundry was still under there as well. His shoulders slumped in defeat. With his under-the-bed fallback off limits and about five seconds left, things were looking pretty grim.

His mother knocked. "OK Dec, open up. Let's see what that floor of yours looks like. It's been so long, I've forgotten."

"Coming, Mum," he replied, getting dejectedly to his feet. He took a step towards the door, but as his mother hadn't been kidding about his floor going missing, he inadvertently stepped onto his skateboard, or at least onto his biology textbook, which was sitting on top of his skateboard, which had also gone MIA, just shortly after the floor had.

The skateboard went sailing across the room and cannoned into Dec's waste-paper basket, a basket into which he had, via a combination of determination, spatial orientation, brute force and extreme laziness, managed to cram approximately six times its intended capacity of rubbish. In sudden clear proof that Newton's third law of thermodynamics can sometimes be delayed, but never broken, a fountain of paper, chocolate wrappers and other bits of junk cascaded out of the basket with an equal but opposite force to that which Dec had crammed them in with.

Dec, meanwhile, went flying back in the opposite direction to the skateboard. He crashed into his desk, sending books, magazines and other assorted paraphernalia flying. He bounced off the desk, struggling to regain his balance as a pair of jeans, two shirts and a dog leash wrapped around his legs, and clutched desperately at his bookcase. Big mistake. The bookcase was big and solid and looked immovable, but was so overstuffed with books that it was dangerously top-heavy. It swayed ominously and then slowly, ponderously, began to fall. Desperately, Dec tried to lunge out of the way, but the knee-high tide of junk lapping around his legs tripped him. He tumbled to the floor and could only look up in horror as the bookcase's massive bulk accelerated towards him. He closed his eyes and braced for the impact.

For a second nothing happened. Then for another second, nothing kept on happening. Several more nothing filled seconds crept by. The small part of Dec's brain which wasn't consumed with terror began to wonder what was going on. He wondered if he should open his eyes. On the one hand nothing was happening while they were closed, and compared to the something that had been about to happen, nothing seemed like a good option. On the other hand, vision was quite a useful attribute and he was probably going to have to open his eyes again sometime.

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