Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday Special Edition

This is the Sunday Special Literary Edition of EarlyRunner! Yesterday morning I did something I haven't done in years. I wrote a short story. I've had this idea floating around in my head for more than a week, and yesterday I finally caught it and put it on (electronic) paper. I hope you like it. And if you don't, fear not! I have absolutely no new ideas for stories after this one. Here goes:

The timer that switched on the coffee pot went off at 2:47am, not because anyone had set it to go off at 2:47am, but because sometimes the timer liked to have a little fun.

The timer was new, and like most of us who have had entry level jobs, he was bored with his work. His only job was to examine his setting each evening and turn on the coffee pot at the appropriate time the next morning. The coffee pot was plugged into him, and he was plugged into the outlet. It was a simple job and allowed for absolutely no creative input.

The coffee pot, on the other hand, had been around forever. He had his 10-year pin and was hired back when the union really meant something. He did his job faithfully day in and day out, which is why he was upset when the CEO stopped turning him on personally each morning and hired this new timer to do the job. “Have I done something wrong?” the coffee pot wondered.

But the coffee pot was of the generation who expressed worry and sadness as anger, and he directed all his feelings of anxiety toward his new partner, the timer. But, true to his nature, the coffee pot kept quiet about it and fumed in silence. The refrigerator, the coffee pot’s longtime neighbor, warned the coffee pot that too much pent up anger was unhealthy, and one day the coffee pot was going to have a massive short and that would be the end of it. The coffee pot thought the fridge should mind her own business for once.

A large part of the coffee pot’s discontent was that no one else believed the timer was truly up to something. “He’s new. He’s learning how things are done. The CEO accidently set him incorrectly.” It was never the timer’s fault. The coffee pot was not so sure. He thought he’d seen something in the timer’s eyes when he called the coffee pot to duty at 3:16am or 3:16pm or some other completely inappropriate time. And when that happened, both of them were blamed.

The coffee pot, being a union man and also ex-military, could never bring himself to ignore a direct command. So when the timer went off at 2:47am, the coffee pot reluctantly started making the coffee. He thought the timer was up to some kind of trick, but maybe the CEO had an early flight. The coffee pot couldn’t be sure.

They waited. The CEO never arrived to claim his coffee. They waited some more.
It was then that the coffee pot knew the CEO was not getting up, and he was going to have to sit there for several hours with a pot of smelly, scorched coffee. The coffee pot began to get very angry.

This was the timer’s fault. He was sure of it. This was not a mistake. The coffee pot felt electricity tingle in his cord. It must be that short the fridge had kept warning him about. He fumed again and the tingle grew stronger. And then the coffee pot had an idea.

He worked up all his anger. All his fears about growing older and losing his job and this new timer trying to undermine him. He felt his cord blaze. He glanced back to the timer at the end of his cord. “Sayonara, kid,” he muttered as he shot the blast of electricity.

There was a pop- the coffee pot had hoped it would have been louder than that- and the timer blasted out of the outlet and sailed across the room. He smacked into the opposite wall and bounced into the sink.

The coffee pot surveyed himself. Was he hurt as the fridge had warned? No, he thought, he felt better than he had in years. The blast had dislodged the prongs of his cord from the timer so he didn’t join the timer in flight. The coffee pot smiled smugly, thinking that maybe the timer would show him a little more respect from now on.

Now, at 2:56am, the kitchen was dark and quiet again. The radiator sighed. The coffee pot drifted back to contented sleep. And the timer smiled.