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Trying to identify a short story. I recall it was quite short, shorter than a novella. I read it within the last few years, but my impression is that it's from the second half of the twentieth century, maybe the sixties. I can't recall if I read it online, in an anthology, or collection.

Set in America, a middle-aged man stumbles on a team (maybe like dwarves or gnomes) whose job it is to set up the world for the next day by removing all the previous day's "stuff", like street furniture? (I know that makes no sense). He disrupts this process and somehow prevents progressing to the next day. I also remember the story was quite lighthearted with the team behaving in a very grumpy way like interrupted workmen.

I thought the title was something like "What happened to Tuesday" or similar. For some reason, I thought it was by Keith Laumer, but a search doesn't reveal anything.

The trope was similar to "The Tunnel Under the World" by Pohl, and "The Adjustment Team" by Dick, in that reality was constantly changed and controlled by an organisation of some kind.

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    Please don't delete your question just because it's a duplicate. It's still useful as a signpost to others. You can't delete it since it's been answered, and please don't edit the post to be nonsense, as such edits will be reverted. – Rand al'Thor May 12 at 8:51
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    @Randal'Thor - In this instance it isn't a dupe. One is identifying a TV episode, the other (this one) is identifying the source story. But you're not wrong. Ideally we should keep questions with relevant answers. – Valorum May 12 at 20:36
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This is "Yesterday was Monday" by Theodore Sturgeon.

The protagonist wakes up on Wednesday, and finds little people literally putting the finishing touches on building the world. He wanders around a bit, getting more and more confused, and eventually meets one of the little people who explains things to him: he's taken a wrong turn, landed on the wrong "sound stage" if you will, and gotten to Wednesday ahead of time.

At the end, he gets returned to Tuesday morning, shows up at work a little late, but reassures his boss the critical spring job will be done on time. "I happen to know."


It may interest you to know that the story was filmed as a Twilight Zone segment called "A Matter of Minutes"

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  • Great. Thanks a lot! – user83948 May 10 at 13:38

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