Rise and Shine!

It was a cool, crisp morning. The dawn was descending onto the fog-obscured buildings of a city. Car headlights rushed through the fog, and then out of the gray emerged a college campus.

Through the three-story window of a dormitory, light shone, illuminating particles of dust. From the inside of the window, a toaster sat by a shining kitchen sink. The light met a worktable that was covered with all sorts of blueprints and books. An orange lamp watched proudly over the heap.

Lastly, the light approached a bed, which had a person sleeping underneath its covers. Next to the bed was a small desk, where a clock radio stood. As the light hovered over the person's head, the radio suddenly turned on to make an important announcement.

"And what a beautiful sunrise folks! News to all you slugabeds out there: you are truly missing this phenomenon of Mother Nature. Sixty-eight degrees, mostly sunny skies, and a plethora of juicy headlines – it appears the stock market is bound to give another break for Hockeytown and Mr. Shiller is being forced to mitigate it to the press at the hour! Oh the humanity!"

There was some rustling in the bed. A hand reached out from under the covers and slammed the radio off. The hand drooped down.

"Ugh, dumb radio," a voice muffled.

The person finally arose and kicked away the covers. As he started dragging his feet along the floor, the radio switched right back on and began playing "Early Morning Rock."

Ignoring the music, the person noticed that an electric blanket was sitting on his clothes at the foot of the bed. He made a grunt and tossed the ragged thing out of the way.

Next, he had just put a slice of bread in the toaster and was impatiently waiting for it to pop up. He had even set out a plate for it.

"Come on..."

He then decided to go and find his favorite baseball cap in the closet. Having pulled the lamp along to help him, he wanted to turn its light on, but was having trouble doing so.

"Cheap lamp... where's that switch?!"

The person went over to the bathroom. He was in the middle of brushing his teeth and combing his hair in front of the mirror when he saw smoke from behind. He instantly realized that he had left the bread in the toaster.

"...Oh no."

He ran out to the toaster and popped up the toast. But the toast had been burnt black.

"Errr... of all the no-good... ARGH!"

After that mishap, the person was trying to put his clothes on. However, he soon got tangled in his sweater and couldn't see. Walking backward in blindness, he found himself tripping over the cord of a vacuum cleaner and tumbling down with it. Now flat on the floor, he didn't feel like moving. The radio ended "Early Morning Rock."


Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. A voice called from outside.

"Hey Jay! Jay! You in there?"

Jay grumbled and got up on his feet again, leaving his sweater stuck on the vacuum's handle. The voice kept calling. "JAY!"

He made it to the door and opened it. He saw a bespectacled young man standing right there at the doorway, carrying some luggage.

Jay yawned. "Oh hi Rob."

"Hi," Rob replied, eyeing his tattered roommate. "Uh... glad to see you're awake."

"...Yeah. So tell me, how'd that 'engineering expedition' go?"

"You mean my trip? It was okay. Could... you let me in please?"

Jay was deliberately blocking Rob from the room. "Oh, heh-heh." He hesitantly stepped aside to let him in.

Immediately upon entering, Rob dropped his things, and threw his hands in the air. "Ah COME ON! You left the place a pigsty!"

Sure enough, the room looked like an absolute mess.

"It's not that tragic..." mumbled Jay, plopping down on the bed.

Yet Rob continued his rant. "Look at this! You got wrappers and crumbs and stuff all over the floor!"

"Sorry Mom."

"Yeah, you'll say that now, 'til you have to go... where again? Bernalillo, in three days?"

Rob dropped his suitcase on the floor next to the closet where the orange lamp had been left standing.

"Trust me, I've got it taken care of..." Jay claimed, as he and Rob walked out of the room momentarily.

Once the place was nice and quiet, the lamp came to life.

"Whew boy, THAT was harsh," said Lampy, rubbing the side of his head with a plug.

Hearing this, Toaster awoke and leaped off the kitchen counter. Blanky, who had been roughly thrown on the bed, crawled down toward Lampy.

"The Master doesn't seem to like the other master very well," Blanky perceived.

Lampy agreed with a chuckle. "Yeah, I've been suspecting the same thing."

"Wait guys." Toaster walked up to them, chuckling as well. "Look, just because the Master's angry at him, doesn't mean he doesn't like him."

"Are you sure?" questioned Blanky naïvely.

"Of course! They just got off on the wrong side of the bed, that's all."

"Seems they're ALWAYS off on the wrong side these days." Kirby drove up to the group and shook Jay's sweater off of him.

"Eh, it's probably just stress," Toaster reasoned.

That's when Radio was seen hopping to the edge of the bed and looking down upon his comrades. "Ya wanna know what I think? That Jay fella really knows how to hit the hardball each workday – ace on the fringe! Ted Williams is putting down his nailbat in respect!"

"Right..." Kirby started, "only we don't wanna know what you think."

Lampy perked up all of a sudden. "HEY, listen! They're coming!"

Toaster let out a quick gasp. "Get back into position!"

With that every one of the appliances made a speedy retreat to his station and resumed lifelessness.

Rob and Jay soon reentered the room carrying a bunch of toolboxes. Rob was still scolding Jay.

"And another thing: if you're gonna be looking at weather patterns, you might wanna think about reading that Manfielder's meteorological whatchacallit all the way through."

"Won't be a problem," Jay answered plainly. "I'll be mapping the constellations, not watching them."

Rob walked on over to Kirby and plugged him into a wall outlet. "Well make sure you've brushed up on everything, for Pete's sake..."

As he started up the vacuum cleaner, Jay set Rob's toolboxes on his worktable. "Muchas gracias for the excelente advice," he joked.

Rob rolled his eyes. He then peered down at the floor where he was vacuuming. It was still dirty.

"Huh? What's going on?" Rob tried giving Kirby a few harder sweeps. The bits of trash and foodstuff had not disappeared.

"Something wrong?" asked Jay.

Rob stopped for a moment. "Agh... the vacuum won't work."

Jay lowered his eyebrows. "It is gettin' kinda old ya know."

"YES," Rob answered, "I know."

"So... how 'bout getting a new one huh?"

Rob laughed in annoyance. "Boy, you sound just like Chris."

Jay made an exaggerated shrug. "Then I guess we're both being sensible!"

Rob sighed. "Just give me some time; I'll fix it."

He finally unplugged Kirby and went over to the sink to wash his hands.

Jay interrupted his hand-washing with a request. "Uh, hey, I've been meaning to ask you, I need to borrow twenty bucks to pay this guy off..."

Rob instantly whipped around. "WHAT?!"

And off the two young men argued once more. Lampy decided to take advantage of this and hastily hopped over to Kirby.

"What's the matter Kirby?" he whispered. "This has gotta be the third or fourth time you haven't worked!"

"Let's just drop it for now, okay?" Kirby whispered back.

"But, you're dysfunctional, and the Master's not gonna – "

"I said drop it!"

That's when Blanky caught on to the conversation and looked over the bedside. "The Master will repair you, won't he?"

"Ah... I dunno." Kirby could only look down to the question.

Something hit Lampy like a brick wall. "OH, that's right! Then you'll finally get to suck up the old Halloween candy under the bed!" he shouted.

To that Kirby grumbled. Lampy then flipped back to him. "Shhh. Quiet!" the lamp whispered, voice cracking. Kirby gave him a bewildered look.

A little while later, Rob had placed Kirby onto his worktable and was now trying to fix him. He took a pair of pliers and tinkered away in his chair as Jay lay down on the bed. It was some mighty hard work. But soon enough, he had to stop, set the pliers down, and wipe his forehead. He wasn't making any progress.

Then he pounded the table with a fist. "Agh, I-I don't know what the deal is! The air pump seems perfectly fine; nothing's chafed, nothing's scratched..."

Reflexively Jay sat up from the bed. "So, you're meaning to tell me that you can't fix it? You of all people?"

"I'm not some 'appliance wizard' you know," Rob said to that comment. "Maybe... maybe it just isn't responding to current anymore."

Rob stared down. Jay frowned.

But then Rob raised his head with an idea. "But maybe, if I tried a repair shop..."

The mechanic swung his chair around to a nearby bookshelf and started searching for a phonebook.

"A repair shop?" Jay put on a face of confusion. "YOU, go to a repair shop?"

At the same time, Toaster slightly opened his eyes and took a peek from the kitchen counter.

Rob groaned. "Enough with that already. I can't fix everything."

Jay merely sighed and rested his chin on his hand. "Modesty will get you nowhere."

Rob briefly stopped searching, his own hands in suspension. "...Well shoot, Chris is working today isn't she? I can't be asking for her car!" He eventually swung back, closed Kirby up, and arose from the chair.

"Ahem. Also, we have to help serve at potluck today, remember?" Jay pointed out while Rob made his way past him.

"Oh, of course... how could I forget?" Rob put his tools away in a box. He set Kirby down on the floor as Jay hopped up from the bed. "I guess we should get a move-on then."

Rob headed right for the door and opened it, with Jay immediately following.

"Yep, NOW you're talking sense!" finished Jay, slamming the door behind them both. The slam shook a picture of Rob's old summer cottage on the wall.