Years went by, and the events of those dreary September days passed into the odd part of Alan’s memory where reality and fiction were often befuddled. For a while he had waited eagerly for his adventure to come, but after a long period of disappointment he spent less and less of his time worrying about it. After a while he had forgotten about it all together.
He still worked in the same place, doing the same thing day in and day out. Not a lot, if anything, had changed. He would often take walks along the cliffs on his evenings off; he found it easier to ponder life’s many questions in the fresh evening air. It seemed to Alan that life was just one mindless routine after another.
It was a clear summer evening in July when Alan decided to take his usual walk along the cliffs. He walked for about an hour, stopping for the odd rest whenever he came across a suitable bench. When it started to get dark and the air grew colder, he decided to head back towards home. He took a seat on a comfortable looking bench for a while to appreciate the fresh evening air. There was nobody about, the nearest house was a distant flicker of light on a hill.
He hadn’t been there long when he noticed a thin, stick like figure out of the corner of his eye. Looking over he saw that it was a small, thin man with a long, pale, bony face and pointed ears. He was wearing a tattered top hat and grubby grey overalls. Strangest of all, he was prancing about and poking the air wildly. Alan’s curiosity got the better of him so he cautiously made his way over to the little man. As he got closer it appeared the little man was singing a song.
“Lazy breeze, get up, wake up; evening’s here, get up, wake, up!”
When the little man saw Alan approaching he stopped singing and gave him an anxious look. “Don’t just stand there,” he said, “we have to wake it, wake it now!” The little man continued with his prancing and singing, but when he saw that Alan wasn’t helping he stopped once more.
“Poke the air and sing a song the breeze will hear, we haven’t long!” he said.
Much to Alan’s surprise he suddenly found himself jumping about, poking the air and singing a silly rhyme which made little sense. There then came a deep and baleful voice from nowhere, as though the sea itself was talking, and it was far from happy.
“TWO ALARM CLOCKS!” it bellowed. The voice came with a strong blast of wind, which knocked Alan off his feet. “I DIDN’T ORDER TWO ALARM CLOCKS!”
Alan sat up and rubbed his head. The little man fell to his knees and began apologising profusely to the air around him. There then came another great blast of wind, which knocked Alan flat on his back again.
“SILENCE!” screamed the terrible voice. “YOU ARE NOT EMPLOYED TO APOLOGISE, AND YOU ARE CERTAINLY NOT EMPLOYED TO RECRUIT NEW AND AGONISINGLY ANNOYING ALARM CLOCKS!”
Alan sat up and saw the little man cowering on the floor and whimpering pathetically.
“BACK TO THE SHOP!” howled the voice with another violent blast of wind. Alan was knocked back again, but this time the force of the blast flung him through the air.