I never understood why the alarm clock rang at seemingly random times, until I put together the pattern. One, it usually rang during or just after a rain. Two, it only ever rang during daylight. At first I thought it was broken, but it still rang whenever I set the alarm, and I was never late. But every once in a while it would go haywire, and no amount of snooze-buttoning would calm it down. Which was weird. But it gets weirder.
It kept ringing even when I took the batteries out.
Maybe it wasn’t battery-powered, I thought. But then, why have batteries in it at all? Backup? Maybe the ringing was automated but the turn of the clock needed battery power? It certainly stopped counting time. But it wouldn’t stop ringing until, three, the sun was covered. Whether nightfall or a big old cloud got in the way, it would quit the ringing.
Why didn’t I just get rid of it? You have to understand, I can’t afford a new one. I can’t even afford a roof over my head. On a choice between a meal or a new clock, I’ll take the meal. And the clock kept me on track for my meds, which was kind of essential.
But anyway, look. I figured it out. It only rang when there was a rainbow.
Once I came up with that theory, I started to look for rainbows. Sure enough, the damn clock would blare in a hail of hammers on bells the second the sun peeked through the clouds on a rainy day. Hell, it would even go off sometimes when I walked past a sprinkler.
But why? Why ring at rainbows? I thought back to where I purchased it. Some old Irish-run pawn shop. The guy running the place didn’t look like a leprechaun or anything, but–I shit you not–when I went back to that shop (at first to get a refund), it wasn’t there anymore. Not that it changed businesses or anything, which happens a lot with pawn shops, but the entire section of the strip mall it was in was just fucking gone. There was a road in its place. When I asked the next store over, he said there was never a pawn shop there, and there wouldn’t be in such a nice neighbourhood anyway.
I know I’m on meds and I know about the whole cliche of the crazy homeless man, but I’m not delusional, and student loans these days can put anyone out of home. Besides, I’m not the only one who’s noticed that the rainbow arcing over Edmonton hasn’t gone away for three days.
Sure, it’s been lightly rainy, and sure the sun’s been out, and sure it does disappear when night falls, but still. It’s the same rainbow. I know it. The clock knows it. It hasn’t shut up, and it’s making people who walk by me rather rude.
It was sheer coincidence that I started following the arc of the rainbow, but I noticed the alarm would stop ringing when I did. It only ever went off again when I turned my path away. It wants me to follow the rainbow. Whatever it thinks is at the end, it wants me to follow. Maybe there’s a pot of gold, maybe there’s a leprechaun who’ll grant me three wishes. Or maybe I am nuts.
The journey will take time. A long time. But if I’m right, and that rainbow is staying right there until I bring this clock to the end, then I don’t have much of a choice. The rain isn’t going anywhere until I do.
Let’s hope I don’t get flooded out on the way.
Today’s prompt categories were, “The end of the rainbow,” “A belligerent alarm clock,” and “A suicide mission.”
This is my new favourite hat trick story. The homeless man with the magical alarm clock chasing the end of the rainbow. There’s a real story in this thing. I think I might flesh it out. I’ll let you know if I do!