art by Steven R. Stewart
by Carol Hassler
"Sleep. Six to eight hours a day, three hundred and sixty-five days of the year. Adds up to a lot of time, right?" Diana Tregald swung her hand up like a conductor and her audience murmured its assent. "But if we have learned nothing from SleepNote's meteoric rise and crash these past two years, it is that we need sleep. It is, in fact, a biological imperative. Essential to rebuild ourselves both physically and mentally."
She paused the presentation on a collage of headlines: Sleep Drug Blamed for Office Shooting; Elephant Made Me Do it, Man Claims; 1.5 Million Dead from Stress-Related Disease; Memory Loss Treatment at All-Time High.
"We evolved on twenty-four hours and the cycle of night and day." The screen featured a breathtaking animation of the Earth spinning slowly under a half-curtain of darkness.
"But there is still time to be found. Time we can take back."
The screen froze on an image of a woman's tilted face, lips slightly parted and eyes closed as though in ecstasy.
"The average blink," she said, "is one two-hundredth of a second long." The audience tittered and she smiled serenely. "Doesn't sound like much, does it? Blinking closes your eyes for only a handful of seconds out of every minute. It's pennies."
An analog clock superimposed over the woman's face began to slowly tick. "But it adds up. Every hour, you'll lose at least six minutes of active sight--active awareness--to blinking. And why do we blink? Is it to moisten the eyes? Does it aid in memory? International studies have come up empty. But still we blink and as we do, we lose nearly two waking hours every day to darkness."
At this the lights in the room dramatically cut. Gasps, and even a little scream erupted from the audience.
The lights came on again. "One two-hundredth of a second," Diana said in her sultriest voice. "Of darkness. And your mind," she snapped her fingers, "edits it out. Gone."
The audience sat absolutely quiet and still, even when the upbeat background music began to swell from the sound system. Attendants dressed in the trademark chartreuse strolled down the aisle with baskets of free samples.
"But there is a way to reclaim that time." She lifted her hands like a priestess. "With LiteTime supplements, you can finally find more time for work. For enjoying the day. For family. For fun. Get out of the darkness. Step into the light. With LiteTime."
The crowd erupted in applause.