The Page One Project / June 16, 2017
The clock was already going to tell him he’d lost the spot, wasn’t it? He hated the thing, it was small, beeping, and insistent. It had no personality, but Michael hated it as if it had told him his mother was dead.
His mother was dead, actually, but the alarm couldn’t know that. It knew nothing except the time, and the time was Too Late.
He reached over the stained mattress and felt along the floor until he found the cheap digital clock. He’d bought it at the pawn shop while trying not to think of what poor bastard was so down on their luck that they got value from pawning a piece of shit clock. He had punched SNOOZE three times and was now ready to yank the cord from the wall. His hangover assailed him from behind his eyes and somewhere in the back of his throat. Something had to die, and it was going to be that wretched clock.
The sound stopped right before his hand fell on the clock. He blinked slowly, unable to process. Then it started again, and he grabbed the clock and threw it.
It gave no resistance at all, trailing its cord behind it. He’d already yanked it out of the wall.
He searched for the source of the noise, which continued to blare like a siren. His phone. It was underneath his clothes from last night. He squinted at it, and a dim memory appeared from the night before. He’d been drinking with other musicians and had laughed and changed his conductor’s ringtone to be the most obnoxious siren his phone could provide. It had seemed funny.
The ringing stopped abruptly, and then the phone began to ping as texts rolled in. They had different levels of profanity and threats, but they all said essentially the same thing:
Where the hell are you?
We’re practicing The Mediterranean Song today and we can’t do it without you.
What happens next? That’s up to you.
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* Title supplied by Paul Byford – thanks, Paul!