The Alarm Clock

“93, 94, 95...” I stared blankly at the ceiling, counting sheep in my head. “98, 99, 100...” My stomach did another gurgle, telling me that we wouldn’t have another normal lunchtime. I sighed and continued counting.

Another Sunday means no lunch on time. That is not a good thing in my world. Same with my brothers and sisters. My pa is a preacher for a Christian church. Every Sabbath Day, he always does his long-and-boring sermon. It always seems to pass lunchtime.

Once the meeting was over and we got home, my brothers and I decided it was time to stop Pa’s long sermons and to go home to eat lunch... on TIME! We started planning. “I know!” Jefferson, my older brother, said, “When the time is right, we should turn off all the lights in the chapel! That should scare him!!” I giggled. That would be funny, I thought. “I don’t think that would work,” replied Bruce, another one of my brothers, “We should probably try putting a note on the pulpit so he knows when to stop.” I shrugged at the idea. Then we found our solution. Jefferson was going to wind up an alarm clock to the time that we decided on to end the meeting and put it in the pulpit’s little drawer. It would then ring to let Pa know it was time to stop. I was so excited!

The day finally came. My brothers had already wound up the alarm and Jefferson placed it in the cabinet before Pa came into the chapel.

Did I get a part in this? Yes, and being the youngest brother in my family, I was the one to blame. Jefferson said so. Even though I didn’t want to, I could not object and share my opinion. So I just sat with my sister and waited for the meeting to begin.

Pa began his regular long-and-boring sermons and I counted my sheep, like I usually did. Only this time, I was more open to my surroundings, shivering as sweat poured down my face, waiting for the moment to arise.

Suddenly, a high-pitched sound of clattering metal rang through the chapel. I almost jumped out of my chair and I suddenly felt scared. My pa had a surprised look on his face, opened the cabinet in the pulpit, and took out the alarm clock. He then looked up and stared across the chapel to where I sat. I gulped and I felt the hair on my neck rising. I could feel all the people staring at me, their gazes burning my body. I tried to look surprised as everyone else was, but instead, I showed a weak smile, as if to say sorry. In the background, I could hear my brothers giggling as they tried to hide their laughter. Anger flushed through me, wanting to punch my older brothers in the face, but I held it in as best as I could. I so wanted to go home and have a normal Sunday as we usually do. Why? I thought to myself, why does this always happen to me?

We arrived home and had our lunch, but I didn’t eat a morsel. I was too mad at my brothers, who so selfishly made the moment so embarrassing, to eat anything. Pa hadn’t paddled me yet, which made me feel better. Instead, I went to my room to calm myself down, but it didn’t work. Luckily, Pa noticed me being very unhappy and followed me up to my room.

“Billy,” he said warmly, “don’t be so unhappy. I am not mad at you. I know that you weren’t the only one doing it. You guys were hungry, and I hadn’t known that until now. I’m sorry.”

I wiped a tear off my face before it started to fall on my cheek. I nodded and smiled, feeling better than I had before. It took a minute for me to fully recover and Pa started to stand up.

“Speaking of that, we should probably go down and get something to eat for lunch, eh?”

I smiled and ran downstairs with Pa at my heels, laughing as we went.