Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Night of the Crow

*from the archives*

*Tick...tick...tick* goes the dull, rythmic beat of my cheap, no-frills clock on the wall behind me. The clock is pretty much like me...rather plain and austere. Not the kind of clock I would have had much to do with almost 20 years ago.

In my younger business travelling days, I had a thing for silly, novelty items. At one time, I had that stupid, battery-operated talking "trophy" bass. A decoy-looking duck telephone that quacked when it rang. An Addam's Family coin bank. And, of course, a remote-controlled fart machine.

Friends and acquaintances considered me mildly insufferable.

Returning from one business trip, I found something in one of those travel magazines that I decided I simply had to have: a battery-operated travel alarm clock. This was no ordinary travel alarm clock: it was special. It had the annoying 'beep' alarm, as most travel alarm clocks do. But it had another setting, too. One that, instead of 'beep'ing, crowed. Like a rooster.

An old Iowa farm boy, I simply had to have it. At first opportunity, I ordered it. Upon it's delivery, I wasted no time in a test of it's authenticity. After all, an old Iowa farm boy would know a credible crow when I heard it.

The alarm cock -- as it became known -- met and surpassed my silliest expectations.

Two weeks or so later, I had to make a trip to northern Indiana, via Chicago. With my alarm cock ensconced safely inside my briefcase, I settled into my business class seat and found that I had had a seating stroke of luck: for a change, instead of being seated next to a 400 lb Sumo, I was joined by a very charming, personable business woman. We exchanged pre-flight pleasantries, and I forgot about my reading material for the flight ahead.

Not long after we reached cruising altitude, I heard something. A muffled sound. A sound that kept repeating, over and over. A sound that my seatmate also heard, as well as persons all around. The sound was emanating from my briefcase. The subsequent conversation, as I recall it, went something akin to this:

Her: Your briefcase is...crowing.

Me: Uh....yeah.

Her: Why is your briefcase...crowing?

Me: Uh..well, it's on account of this (and I retrieve and open the case)..

Of course, with the case open, now all of business class was being treated to my crowing alarm cock. Which I quickly silenced, but too late for more immediate prospects:

Me: It's a...travel alarm clock.

Her: *with a look that'd changed from "you're really funny" to "you're really weird"*...oh.

For the balance of the flight, I was glad I'd brought reading material.

I figured it was a fluke, and after landing in O'Hare, I got my rental car, baggage, and was off to South Bend, Indiana, with nary a further peep from my alarm cock.

After dinner and settling in to my room in the Ramada Inn, I set up the alarm cock to provide me with a 4:30am wake-up crow, and dispensed with my usual wake-up call from the hotel desk. I figured one fluke was just that. Thus, I drifted off to visions of my lost travelling companion, dancing on my lap...

cockadoodle dooo....cockadoodle dooo...

Shot me out of bed like I'd been tasered on the soles of my feet. A quick glance at the bedside clock told me it was only 2am, not 4:30...

cockadoodle dooo...cockadoodle dooo...

Flailing around in the dark to reach and muzzle my over-eager alarm cock, I took about everything not nailed down off the night stand: phone, lamp, bedside clock, water glass, complimentary mints, Gideon Bible...and the General Quarters-like alarm cock.

cockadoodle dooo...cockadoodle dooo...

Trying to find the light to turn on, I managed to trip over the lamp -- or something -- kicking the phone against the wall and expressing to no one in particular a series of colorfully metaphoric expletives over a jammed toe...

cockadoodle dooo...cockadoodle dooo....

By now it was obvious that I had missed an ominous warning and opportunity on the plane, when the damned alarm cock screwed me over with my seatmate, I should have left the obviously demonic device in the closet restroom, or given it to a screaming four year old in coach. But it was too late now: betrayed and injured in the dark, and probably having awakened half the friggin' floor in the opening melee, I was on a new mission: to find and kill that friggin' demon alarm.

cockadoodle dooo...cockadoodle dooo...

Finally on hands and knees, I managed to turn on the floored lamp, and traced that darn fool piece of subversive vegan apparatus to where it'd taken refuge under the bed, while someone was knocking with annoyance on my wall, and someone else was knocking on my door, and the Rooster from Hell continued it's call for my personal destruction. I grabbed the alarm cock and hit the 'silence' button with force that should have been sufficient to silence a screaming cat.

cockadoodle dooo...cockadoodle dooo...

The knocking on my door became more insistent, along with a voice demanding to know "what is going on in there?"

Me: *in the calmest voice I could muster from a state of near-maniacal rage*..uh, just a minute...

cockadoodle dooo...cockado *CRUNCH*

After all that time of business travel, I'd finally found a use for that complimentary Gideon Bible: beating into silent submission, the heathenesque Alarm Cock from Hell.

Thankfully, it didn't take much explaining to my rather annoyed neighbor and hotel person as to what had happened: I am sure that my disheveled self with crazed eyes, and holding the shattered remains of a demonic alarm cock, didn't lead them to want to know more.

Upon hearing the story later -- and knowing me as they did -- my coworkers were very gracious and humored me by not telling the story to others in my presence. They did it behind my back, which had me having to answer for a couple of months the question from folks I barely knew, "uh, what happened to your alarm cock?".

And that is why, today, I have this dull, plain-Jane ticking clock on my wall. My love of novelty toys is long-since cured. Besides, I no longer have a Gideon Bible handy, in case I have to beat the heathen snarf out of any future possessed clocks.

Now, I just use a hammer.


Blogger RaeJane said...

That was very funny.

Poor you. Poor alarm cock. (That cracks me up everytime!)

Thank the Gideons!

17 January, 2008 08:50  
Blogger Stacy said...

Alarm cock? You didn't call it that when explaining the noise to the lady next to you...did you?

And thanks, I now have all manner of nasty mind pictures going on.;)

17 January, 2008 09:01  
Blogger Little Lamb said...

I had a rooster alarm clock that I used to wake me up for work. I don't know if it was a real rooster crowing, but it was good enough for me. I believer I bought it at Spenser's.

17 January, 2008 18:21  
Blogger Herb said...

You know, you are the only guy in the world who would have the clock crow three times...

21 January, 2008 16:25  
Blogger Debbie said...

What, no more Gideon Bible? As I remember those were HARD bound, you could really hurt someone or something with one of those.

Deborah F. Hamilton
Right Truth

04 August, 2009 07:39  
Blogger Serena said...

Oh, my, what I wouldn't give to have seen that! LOL!:-)

Today, your WordVer has labeled me a "subving." I'll have it know I'm not a sub anything!:)

04 August, 2009 16:08  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

Serena: I'll chat widdit ;)

04 August, 2009 17:01  
Blogger Serena said...

Thank you, Skunky. I know you'll make it see reason.:)

Oh, geez, this time it's calling me a "melint." I can't win!

04 August, 2009 18:06  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

Serena: that's okay...it just called me a elerchea..isn't that a microbe?

05 August, 2009 01:41  
Blogger Mayden' s Voyage said...

what happened to the fart machine???
I had never seen one which had a remote until 3 weeks ago- and I WANT one. I can't wait to hide it under someones chair at dinner :)
Perhaps my time of being "mildly insufferable" is just on the next horizon. :)

(wordveri- "carmed" lol)

05 August, 2009 14:51  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

Mayden: I got one at Spenser's ;-)

05 August, 2009 15:01  
Anonymous spencer iowa hotels said...

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02 March, 2011 04:21  

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