Monday, May 17, 2010

The Everyday Divinities Project - The Alarm Clock

The Alarm Clock - by R. B. LeMoyne
© May 17, 2010 *

Very late at night, or very early morning if you prefer, a most peculiar scene was unfolding in a young boy’s bedroom not too terribly far from your own. If that boy had woken at that particular moment and looked over at the alarm clock perched on the nightstand next to his bed, an alarm clock that looked remarkably like your own, he might have found a small man no bigger than the action figures he played with sitting atop it. He might have seen in the dim light of his room that this small man was dressed in a fine button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up, a nice pair of khaki pants and polished work boots, all in colors that so closely matched those of that same alarm clock. If that wasn’t distressing enough, he might also have noticed that the small man was glaring down at him with bright red eyes that mirrored the ever-present glow of the clock’s numbers.

All of these are things the young boy might have witnessed, if he hadn’t been fast asleep. And that suited Garvin the alarm clock god just fine.

For as far back as Garvin could recall, all the way back to the first alarm clock ever, he had been the subject of abuse. It happened sometimes, when an inanimate object is created to serve a purpose that is deemed necessary by humanity without being entirely welcomed. The god that is supposed to embody that object, who is tasked with making it function as it should, suddenly finds itself in a thankless job that is supposed to be performed daily and with all the effort and enthusiasm one can muster. So it was back in the Beginning, and so shall it be long after humanity has run its course.

The thought that he would outlast the teeming masses known as humanity was small comfort for Garvin. After all, his kind was in a symbiotic relationship with the mortals who populated the planet they called Earth. Without him and other divinities like him, all of mankind’s creations would be so much useless junk, serving no purpose at all. Phones wouldn’t call out, faucets wouldn’t run water, and lamps wouldn’t light up. Not without the power of his brethren to make them function as they should. Without the mortals of the world, however, his kind wouldn’t exist. If there was no need for an alarm clock, why would there be an alarm clock god?

That, of course, led him back to his chief complaint. Garvin scowled down at the sleeping boy, his brow knit in impotent rage and pondered a question that he asked himself day after day: If the mortals needed alarm clocks to wake them, why did they abuse them so? It was such a common phenomenon – the alarm would go off, serving its function to wake a mortal, then the mortal in question would inevitably enact some form of violence on it. True, there were brief reprieves from the abuse, usually over the weekend, but that was always the exception to the rule. Usually, it was subtle violence – fingers groping and poking and prodding incessantly as the mortals molested Garvin’s assigned domain in their half-awake stupor – but there were those who had no respect whatsoever for the fact that the alarm clock functioned so flawlessly. Those mortals would slap, stab, hit and sometimes throw it against the wall. Sometimes they would add verbal abuse, yelling at him for nothing more offensive than doing his job well.

That was what he was supposed to do, wasn’t it? Perform his job to the best of his ability? He filed his paperwork on time, executed his duties with practiced precision, and worked well with both the department of radios and the timekeeper administration to serve multiple functions for his mortals. His boss was always pleased with his work, why weren’t the mortals happy with him? Why was it always such a pain to serve humanity?

As always, his anger at his lot in life bubbled over, and Garvin couldn’t keep quiet anymore. In a voice colored by all the injustice of his work, he shouted at the young boy, “Why? Why can’t you just appreciate that I’m doing what I’m supposed to do? Why is it so hard to be thankful? Huh? Why? Why? Why?! WHY?! WHY?!

James struggled to open his eyes, groaning as his alarm clock complained ceaselessly in his ears. It was the most obnoxious sound in the world to him, reminiscent of the gruff old man next door who would yell at his dog in a loud, harsh tone. It grated on his nerves, spurring him to grope blindly for the button that would shut it up. He found it at last and had to hit it a few times to finally shut the thing up before he could savor the silence that followed. Of course, by then he was awake enough that the notion of going back to sleep was as distant as his dreams.

“All right, I’m up,” he muttered to himself, staggering from bed to start his weekday morning routine before he had to go to school. If only he could have slept in just a few minutes more. Why did his alarm clock have to work so well?

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