Ted had one last stop to make on his way home from work. His alarm clock had gone kaput and he needed a replacement. Nothing fancy. Something that offered the option of waking to radio or an electronic tone would be sufficient to meet his needs.
Christmas crowds clogged the exit for Target. He drove past it vowing to try again the next day. Crowds weren’t his gig. At the exit for his home, he noticed the strip mall and remembered it contained a hardware store. He’d been inside it only once before, had found what he needed, but never returned. ‘Last call for alarm clock’ rang in his head and he made the turn into the mall’s sparsely filled lot.
“Can I help you, sir?” A store employee who appeared to be in his seventies pushed his glasses up a nose that hinted of many fights in his youth.
“Yes. Alarm clocks?” Ted raised his brows and looked around.
“This way sir. We have many kinds, from the kind that charge your iPod to the most simple alarm bell type. Have a particular preference?”
Ted shook his head. He’d never been waited on for something so simple as an alarm clock. But these independent shops counted on customers who wanted or needed personal service, so he relaxed under the clerk’s care.
“A clock radio will be fine, if you’ve got that type.”
The old man peered over his shoulder as he shuffled ahead of Ted. “Oh yeah, we got that kind. As a matter of fact, one just like I think you need is on sale today.”
“Yeah? Well lead me to it.”
A half hour later, Ted emerged with his purchase. He’d have been in and out in ten minutes but for the clerk’s insistence on explaining exactly how to set the clock and its alarm. Instructions Ted didn’t need but was too polite to refuse.
The next morning he awoke to John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High, a pleasant tune he’d not heard in years.
An hour later, Ted dug down deep into his work.
“Hey Ted, I need you to make a trip to Denver next week for the Summersby account. Something’s amiss and they specifically asked for you to help sort it out at their warehouse site.”
His boss, Jonathan, rarely asked him to handle these types of emergencies. Ted hoped his client’s faith registered in Jonathan’s data banks when merit time rolled around.
The next day Ted woke to Donna Summer’s MacArthur Park.
On his way to work, he stopped at his local coffee shop for a rare mocha. His spirits still bolstered by his upcoming trip to Denver, he decided to splurge and order a treat to go with his drink.
“What’s good to eat today?”
The barista heaved a loud sigh and wiped her hands on her apron. “We were supposed to have these special cakes but the delivery yay-hoos left the boxes outside the back door…in the rain. They still taste delicious but don’t look so hot. I’ll give you a special deal if you want to take the lot of them. Treat your co-workers. It’s the bakery’s special recipe, best tasting cake I ever ate. Just…not very pretty. Whaddaya say?”
Ted shrugged and after negotiating a steal of a deal, lugged seven boxes of disfigured cake from MacArthur’s bakery to his office.
Angelique squealed with orgasmic delight after her first bite. “Ted! Oh my god, where did you get these cakes?” She sidled over to his desk and perched on the side, a look of bliss on her face as her she licked her fingers. “Hey, you wanna have lunch today?”
“Great. Noon then? I can’t wait.” She winked before she walked back to her own desk.
Ted offered a silent prayer of thanks.
When Ted’s alarm awakened him with Sonny and Cher’s “I got you, Babe” he asked Angelique out later that day and she said yes.
When he heard Sir Mixalot’s “Big Butts” he wasn’t surprised to discover that Angelique’s snug dress revealed that she possessed the most delightful derriere.
When his alarm woke him with Moody Blues’ Nights in White Satin, he slapped on an extra dab of cologne and was treated to a night to remember in Angelique’s boudoir.
Two nights later he patted his alarm clock before he went to bed. “Best purchase I ever made. If you want to wake me tomorrow with Kenny Loggins’ Devil in Angelique, that will be alright with me.”
The alarm woke him instead with Shania Twain’s “Whose bed have your boots been under?” He spilled his coffee all over his shirt, had a minor fender bender and received an IRS audit notice. But on the bright side, Angelique invited him over for another thrilling evening.
Johnny Cash woke him with “Hurt”. No Angelique that day. Jonathan yelled at him for not refilling the coffee pot and his dog ran away.
The night before his trip to Denver, Ted looked at his clock radio and sighed. “I’m going to take you back to the hardware store if you don’t play something more upbeat tomorrow morning.”
The clock paid him no mind and woke him with Kansas’ Dust in the Wind. Ted hurried to make his flight to Denver, dashing through security, through the concourse, and down the jetway seconds before they closed the doors.
He took his seat next to a foreign gentleman, a devout man who muttered endless prayers under his breath. When he tapped Ted on the shoulder and pointed in the direction of the lavatories, Ted politely stepped into the aisle to allow the man to pass.
Returning to his seat, Ted’s foot hooked on some wires that protruded from his seatmate’s carry on bag. A click preceded the music that drifted from within.
“All we are is dust in the wiiii-iiind…”