Yoko looked at the clock and grinned with anticipation. 5:25am. It was almost time. There was excitement in her eyes – it was the best part of her day.
She picked up her cane and walked slowly over to the desk, removing the tape from its familiar spot. She put it in the old tape player and rewound it to the beginning. She looked up at the hostel’s ancient speakers, connected to the tape player by long, snaking cables stapled to the walls.
Her hand found the volume dial and turned it slowly upward to a spot just a few degrees beyond ‘max’ – the same spot it rested every morning at 5:26.
Now she waited. Her finger rested anxiously on the ‘play’ button. Just a few more minutes.
She wondered about the dreams she was about to interrupt. What beautiful bits of paradise were the hostel’s patrons about to leave behind? Perhaps rich meals, gorgeous vistas, and lovers’ arms would soon be no more than vague memories, fleeting and forgotten. Others might have felt sympathy just then, but Yoko smiled at the thought. Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
The tape slowly began to roll and the first bars started to play. The speakers whined and crackled in protest, but, as always, they dutifully delivered the morning wake-up call. You might call it music, but to the disoriented guests, shocked out of sleep at 5:30am, it was nothing more than an ear-splitting, unwelcome cacophony.
Yoko sat in her chair, still smiling, as guests all around her began to stir. A collective hatred for Yoko’s morning “music” only compounded its effect. The smart ones wore ear plugs. Others pressed pillows and blankets against their heads. If they’d been listening closely, though, they would have heard old Yoko, quietly singing along with her favourite song.