Billy has never been the intellectual type, but now he stays up late burrowing through old books of Chinese legend.
It's possible the information he wants has never been translated into English. He wonders how long it might take him to learn to read Chinese. He barely passed French.
His companion squirms uncomfortably, sitting on the chair across from him. Billy knows he is hungry, but he does not complain.
It's also possible that what he needs to know has never been written down, or was written down centuries ago on a scroll that was burned by some emperor.
He closes the book with a little slap and looks at the clock. 11:15; he changed it this morning when he got up. He opens the next volume. It's a huge thick book, over five hundred pages of tiny print. He starts with the index. Even it's nearly sixty pages long.
His companion begins to sing softly to himself. The sound soothes Billy, as it always does.
Why midnight? Why not a less debatable deadline, like dawn or sunset? Even noon would have made things a lot simpler. Why did it have to be midnight?
Gizmo climbs onto the table and pats his hand comfortingly.
If only, Billy thinks as his head starts to hurt, he could find out if the ancient Chinese had had some equivalent of Daylight Savings Time.