The door squeaked noisily when Gladys tried to turn the knob. She made a mental note to mention it sticking to her husband, Oliver. He’d want to take the door off its hinges and plane the edges, and maybe the jamb too. Reconsidering, she thought a new can of WD-40 from Carter’s Hardware would probably be simpler.
A creaking, whirling noise startled her once inside the room. Jumping back through the doorway, she looked up in time to see a length of toy train tracks hanging from the transom. A large, multi-colored Latticinio marble rolled down the rails, setting a chain reaction in motion.
From the security of the hallway, a perplexed Gladys watched the mechanizations of an intricate contraption that took up most of the guest bedroom.
Weights and counterweights, gears and springs, helium balloons, a vintage rotary fan, an old key skate, and rusty casters, were all elements in an elaborate machine that began at the door, and ended at a wind-up, twin-bell alarm clock sitting on the nightstand beside her boomerang son Bart’s bed.
As the final movements reached their crescendo, Gladys stepped back into the room and turned off the alarm before a toy duck on wheels flipped the hammer switch.
Shaking her son awake, she stood at his bedside, hands on her hips.
“What the hell is all this?” Her pursed lips and tapping foot was all Bart needed to know his mother was aggravated.
“I didn’t want to bother you,” Bart said, pushing up on one elbow. “I set this up to wake me. I knew a simple alarm clock wouldn’t work.”
“You’re going to clean this mess up,” Gladys said, making a wide sweep with her arms. “And, before you come down to breakfast. Well… it’s lunch time now.”
Bart swung his legs off the edge of the bed, and ran his fingers through his mane of red hair.
“How am I supposed to get up tomorrow morning then?”
Gladys picked up the rubber duck, clicking her tongue at the toy. “Don’t worry about that boy. I won’t let you oversleep, simple as that.”