alarm – english version


stealing a good idea from the mesai animation team.

“work it harder,
make it better,
do it faster
makes us stronger.„

“harder better faster stronger”, daft punk

this story begins with a breath of wind arriving from the East. the breeze has already crossed the sea, blown out candles. it has cuddled a desert cactus, danced with the mountain farmers. this is its job, everybody has one. the breath of wind doesn’t forget anybody. especially, it would never forget PJ: that couch potato, always lounging, who however left the window open again.
PJ’s window stayed open all night long: now the East wind can enter to wake him. it’s morning PJ, wake up, says the breath of wind.

not yet, it’s early.

and instead it’s already late, in a minute the stereo’s alarm will start and you’ll be forced to open your eyes. PJ doesn’t reply, he keeps sleeping. the East wind shakes the curtains: come on, it’s time.
five more minutes, please, I didn’t get much sleep.
but PJ has no more time, he must go to work. the stereo starts playing a sweet music. the display says “good morning” and, on the top, a few numbers. 7:00. the East wind stops moving the curtains: alright, I just wanted to help you. and it flies far away, to hug cactuses and dance with farmers.
the stereo’s volume wakes PJ. or maybe the boy is still drowsy, no way to tell. that music endangers his sleep and he has a duty to protect it. last night he went to bed even later than usual, he was busy: work staff, big deals.
he raises his hand towards the stereo behind him, to turn the music off. the hand does its duty, then it falls again, motionless. maybe PJ doesn’t even realize it. but surely he notices when his cellphone’s alarm starts ringing, 7:01. he always sets it, just in case the stereo doesn’t wake him. but now he is tired, what the hell. didn’t he deserve a little sleep?

he switches the phone off without looking at it, then his hand returns dead to its place. now he can finally rest easy. oh no, here comes the old clock he keeps on the desk: it must be 7:03. now he really has to get up or he’ll be late for work. his boss is waiting for him, maybe PJ has forgotten how he gets when he waits too much. and what’s that fool doing instead, he’s there tossing and turning under the covers while the alarm keeps ringing. the boss doesn’t like waiting. surely the boss is already up and he isn’t rubbing his feet against the sheet in anger, like PJ is doing. there’s nothing to be angry about, it’s too late now. it may well be that PJ forgot what happened to the last employee who arrived late for work, but it wasn’t anything good. so PJ, let’s go, it was nice while it lasted but now it’s time to no hey help what are you doing put it back where you got it leave it immediately. PJ picks a gun from under the bed and shoots to the old clock on the desk. the bullet bounces and the clock tips over while the hand drops the weapon and goes back abandoned on the edge of the bed.

but the boss is waiting for him and so, even if it’s overturned, the clock starts ringing again at 7:04, as soon as the gun falls on the ground. you’ve got to hurry PJ, or you’ll make the boss wait. Work is important: if only one in the morning decides not to show up, all the others are screwed. PJ works on an assembly line so there are turns to respect, cooperation is fundamental.
that damn clock keeps raising the alarm and also the cellphone starts giving desperate prophecies. we’re lost, it’s already 7:05: that wrecth is going to lose his position on the assembly line, we’ll become beggars. run for your lives!
actually at work PJ doesn’t get so well paid, but the money is enough to buy a working phone and a stereo that wakes him in the morning. maybe the work he has to do is so important also because it is the work that makes him important.

on top of that, even the stereo starts playing again: heavy metal music, this time. everybody wants PJ to wake up. he tries to stay like this, with all those machines making a ruckus a few feet from him.
he pulls the blanket over his head, he knows that at this point it’s impossibile to fall asleep again but he attempts anyway.
look at him, how he writhes, in his bed, trying to make the sleep win and forget that racket, not to pay it mind. but he knows that it’s a losing battle, it’s over now.
not one has a little sympathy for him. in the end PJ never gets free time. because of the job he always comes home late and even in the evening after dinner there are turns to establish, errands to run. his boss has a motto: «harder, better, faster, stronger», he cares. and so PJ has less and less time to sleep: PJ is tired, in the morning he makes more and more effort to get up. but as long as he can buy new alarm clocks, he will arrive punctual.

our duty is to get off the bed. our work is to live, our life is to work. more than ever, hour after hour work is never over.

PJ gets up, he runs indeed. he rushes to turn all those blaring devices off, to take the batteries out of the old clock, to turn the stereo’s volume to zero, to remove the cellphone’s battery too. he did it, now nobody can disturb him anymore. he breathes a sigh of relief, maybe he’s still in time to fall asleep again. screw the work, the boss, the turns on the assembly line. screw it all, PJ has hours of lost sleep to make up. let the boss get mad, PJ will write him a dismissal letter this very afternoon. what’s the point of producing if you can’t take advantage of the product? what’s the point of earning if you haven’t got enough time to spend?
but PJ has just come back to the bed when something else starts ringing. an alarm, but it isn’t the old clock. it isn’t anything in the room, not anything that PJ can see. And yet this trill is louder than all the others before, stronger than all the other alarms put together. rrrring. PJ fails to understand where it arrives from, he hears it all over him, he feels it in his pants. rrrring. this new warble isn’t coming from under the bed, nor from the open window and not even from inside the wall. rrrring. PJ, still standing so close to the bed, turns himself towards the mirror. he can’t believe his eyes. this new alarm is ringing inside his head. rrrring.

PJ sleeps, PJ wakes up. and what was the whole of the business worth? why, it wasn’t worth a damn! what was he dreaming? quit the job, how silly. nobody quits his job. he feels the East wind coming in from the window and stroking his hair. it’s morning PJ, wake up, says the breath of wind.

you’re right, it’s late.

PJ gets up even before the stereo plays the 7:00 song. what the heck was he thinking? this afternoon he’ll buy a new alarm clock, to put it next to the mirror. you never know.
he’s already up when the “good morning” shows up. oh, it will be a good morning: it surely will. life goes on with its salary, with its chain. with its cemetery. and the breath of wind comes out of the bedroom, shaking the curtains. after all, this is its job.

authors’ (burgered) note

this short story arrives in a very happy moment for our blog. yes, we translated it ‘cause we wanted something to spam on the anglophone facebook groups. but also in order to send it to the mesai animation team, hoping they won’t sue us for stealing their animated short turning it in a tacky short story.

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