HERE IT COMES, THERE IT GOES
1. I never thought that my clock, my beautiful old clock would make the town laugh at
me, but it did.
One day two strangers came in and sat down. "Welcome to my hotel," I said and told them what they could have to eat. While they ate, I happily counted what they owed me. It was a lot of money.They were just finishing their coffee when they began to argue. 3. "I tell you, James, it cannot be done, " the younger man said. The other hit the table until my dishes rattled.
"Anyone can do it, " he shouted, "Even this hotel owner could do it."
Since they were talking about me, I went over to their table.
"Could do what, gentlemen ?" I asked. The younger one did not look at me. "I'll bet 50 dollars he cannot do it, " he said in a quiet voice.
"Cannot do what, gentlemen?" I asked again.
The older man smiled at me. "Why, " he said. "My friend and I were looking at your fine clock over there."
"Oh, a fine clock! A very old one," I said. "My father brought it to this country. " 4 "We were especially looking at the slow steady swing of the pendulum as it counts the seconds," the younger one said, "And my friend said it would be easy to stand in front of the clock for one hour, to stand without moving and say `Here it comes, there it goes,' as the clock's pendulum swings back and forth."
"Why, that would be easy," I laughed, "Well, I often stood and watched my clock for longer than an hour."
5. "Would you like to bet on that?" the young man said, looking at me seriously. "I will pay you 50 dollars if you can do it. You pay me, if you cannot."
"50 dollars?" I asked. It seemed a lot of money for such an easy trick.
"Yes," he answered. Then he looked around at the empty restaurant and said, "If it is too much , we will bet on 25 dollars."
6. That did something to me. So, they thought I was too poor to bet 50 dollars. "I will bet 100 dollars!" I cried, wishing I had bitten my tongue the minute the words were out. It was all the money I had.
7. Without another word, he brought out 100 dollars and gave them to his friend.
"Here ,James," he said. "You hold the money for us."
I gave James my money, too. He did not count it, but put it with the other money. "He trusts me, I thought," A true gentleman, " I decided to give them their dinner free, if I won the bet.
"There are the rules," the older man said, putting his gold watch on the table. "You must stand there, looking at the clock for one hour. Every time the pendulum swings, you say, 'Here it comes, there it goes.' You understand? "
"Yes, " I answered smiling. I felt that the money was already in my pocket.
"I agree to that, too," the young one said, nodding his head.
"Very good, " I said and went over to the clock. It hung on the wall above a shelf filled with my best dishes. I stood there with my back toward the men.
"Begin now!" ordered the older one.
"Here it comes , there it goes! Here it comes, there it goes!" I started to say in a
loud clear voice. While I spoke these words, I thought about many things. First, I thanked God for my fine wall clock. This old clock might help me get money for my wife, Sarah. Perhaps I could even buy a walking stick for myself. 6. Yes, the 100 dollars would go quickly.
8. And so the minutes passed--7, 16, 28. Then I heard someone come in and close the door. I recognized the voice of my old friend Lazar.
"Michalson!" he cried, "What is wrong? Why are you standing there talking to a clock? Have you lost your mind?"
The two strangers said nothing. This made me angry and I decided I would make them pay for their dinner.
Lazar began to pray. "Dear God, help this poor man! Look, Michalson, "he said gently, "I will get your coat and take you outside for a walk. Fresh air might help you. "
I kept saying "Here it comes, there it goes!"
"Michalson," he said, his voice thick with emotion. "Let me take you home to your wife, Sarah."
9. I heard Lazar come near me and I was afraid he would pull me outside. Then I would lose the 100 dollars. I got so worried, I took a dish and threw it over my shoulder at him. It missed.
"He is getting violent," Lazar said. "Michalson, listen to me. You can stand there and say anything you like. Just stay there one minute longer. Do not move. I will be right back. One minute." He rushed outside.
10. "Here it comes, there it goes!" I continued in my angriest voice. I wanted those two strangers to know how I felt about them. They should have explained our bet to Lazar. They certainly did not act like gentlemen. The minutes went by slowly, oh, so slowly. Then the door opened again. "Hey Michalson!" Someone yelled. After the next words I knew it was Nachman, the tailor.
"What are you doing?" Nachman is a fine tailor, but a very stupid man. When I did not answer, he ran out of the hotel.
In less than three minutes, he was back again with a crowd of people. They all talked at the same time.
"He is sick in the mind," one said.
"It is true," said another, "But what can we do?"
" We must take him to a hospital," shouted others.
11. Then I was really angry. Forty-seven minutes of my hour gone, these fools might try to stop me. I took two more dishes and threw them over my head. This time, I did not miss. How could I in such a crowded place? Then suddenly, everything was quiet. I could hear someone slowly walking toward me. I waited until I thought he was close enough. Then I kicked out behind me. Poor Nachman, he yelled in pain.
"Get a rope!" he shouted." A rope!" We must tie his arms and feet." Two of them ran off to find one. I prayed they would not return till the hour was gone. After a minute, I heard the door open and shut again.
"Let him alone, all of you !" It was my old friend Lazar, his voice shaking with worry.
"Here it comes, there it goes!" I kept saying for the two strangers. The crowd became silent.
12. "It must be a weakness in the brain. " I heard Grandpa Ziedecker say. "His aunt
Devera died the same way. But she counted feathers, feathers for her wedding bed. "Here it comes , there it goes!" I said, thinking Grandpa was a foolish old man. Nobody spoke. It was so quiet, the sound of the clock seemed loud. Fifty-eight minutes gone. Only two minutes and the 100 dollars would be mine. My voice was getting weak and my mouth was dry. Then, again I heard the door open, and the crying of a woman filled my ears. It was my wife, Sarah.
13. "Oh, please, please, " I prayed, "Do not let her come near me."
I could not throw anything at my wife, not even one small dish. Ten seconds, three, two, one. I quickly turned around.
"I won! I won!" I shouted. "Give me the 100 dollars!"
Nobody moved. They all looked at me.
"My 100 dollars ."I yelled. "Eh---the two strangers. --- Where are they? What have
you done with them?"
"Oh, a terrible sickness!" Sighed Grandpa Ziedecker and he slowly shook his head. "There is no hope for him."
"The two men!" I cried wildly. "They were sitting right over there, at that table !" 14. I told the story many times before they'd believe me. And when they did, the sound of their laughter could be heard in the next town. So, that is why they call me Here-it-comes-there-it-goes Michalson." And that is why anyone who comes into my hotel always asks, "Can you tell me what time it is?" And goes away laughing hard.