Where Threads Come Loose
"The Wake-Up Service"

The Recording Script

• Written and directed by Christopher Bahn. Copyright 1996.
• From episode 3 of the radiodrama series Where Threads Come Loose (Originally episode 6 of 1997 Edition)
• Originally broadcast on KUOM-AM, February 1994.

• Bob: Tony Pagel
• Vito, Hans, Bob's Boss, Narrator: Christopher Bahn
• Hugo, Cab Driver: Chuck Keller
• Morning-Eez secretary: Jordan Jackson

Author's Notes
• Originally a short story written about 1993, and changed very little in the transfer to radio. This shared an episode with "Frank's Esteemed Monster."
SCENE I: Bob's bedroom
Music indicating dawn. It swells louder as the narrator speaks.)

Narrator: Monday morning, 6:29 a.m. Dawn is breaking just over the hillside—it's a beautiful sight. But Bob Miller is oblivious to it. Like every day, he has to get up for work in exactly one minute. But, like every day, Bob isn't going to get up on time. (SFX: Bob begins snoring) It's an ongoing problem for Bob. He's lost two jobs because of it, and he's not making his new boss very happy with his chronic tardiness. But he's tried to change, he really has. His attempts to wake himself up got more and more drastic, from two alarm clocks to a stereo timer set to play a tape of jackhammers at top volume. Nothing worked. Bob sleeps like the dead, and it's beginning to seem that no force on earth could wake Bob up earlier than noon. But today, things will be different. Because today, Bob Miller has hired the help of ... The Wake-Up Service.

(SFX: Music cuts off abruptly. Door slams open. Three heavy sets of feet tramp across the floor. Loud slap)

Bob: Ow!

Vito: Yo! Are you Bob Miller, sir?

Bob: (groggy) Uhhhh... Yeah, I think so.

Vito: Good morning, sir. My name is Vito, and these are my associates Hugo and Hans.

Hugo: Huh huh huh. Hugo.

Hans: Guten Morgen.

Vito: Would you mind signing this invoice?

Bob: Uh....

Vito: Here's a pen, sir.

Bob: Uh... yeah. Pen. Sign.

Vito: That's right, sir, with the pen.

Bob: What is this? Who are you?

Vito: Morning-Eez Wake-Up Service, sir. It's 6:30 a.m. Time to get up.

Bob: Get up?

Vito: Hans, Hugo—get him up.

Bob: Aaaaaigh! Put me down! What are you doing?

Vito: You hired us, sir.

Bob: Yeah. Yeah, I remember that, but... Can't I sleep in another half-hour?

Vito: Sorry, sir, that's against our policy. You hired us to wake you up at exactly 6:30, and that's what me and Hugo and Hans are gonna do. We are professionals. We take pride in our work. Hugo! The shower.

Bob: Put me down!

(SFX: THUD as Bob is plopped unceremoniously into shower, then shower runs, full blast)

Bob: Aaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiii! It's too cold!

Vito: Yes, sir, we know. And we sympathize, truly. But it's our duty to make sure you're on time in the morning. Remember our slogan:

Vito, Hans, and Hugo together: If your mornings aren't bright, we'll make them right—or else.

(SFX: Shower turns off)

Bob: But wait... Didn't you get my message?

Vito: Message, sir?

Bob: I switched to the second shift. I don't start work until noon. I can sleep in.

(Derisive laughter from the crew)

Vito: Whatever you say, sir. We'll see you tomorrow, same time.

(SFX: Crew tramps out, slams door behind them)

Bob: Wait! Come back! I can sleep in, I tell you... (pause, as he realizes they're gone and he's wasting his breath.) Obviously, this is a misunderstanding. I'll just call their office and sort things out.

(SFX: Dialing, phone ring, click as Secretary answers)

Secretary: (cloying, and somewhat patronizing) Morning-Eez Wake-Up Service, how may I help you?

Bob: Hello, this is Bob Miller.

Secretary: Oh, good morning sir, this was your first day with us, wasn't it?

Bob: Yes. That's why I'm calling. Your men woke me up too early.

Secretary: I'm sorry, sir. But you asked for our standard 6:30 Rude Awakening service, and if you'll recall, sir, when you signed your contract there was a strict 'no cancellation' policy as well.

Bob: What does that mean? Do you mean I'm stuck with this?

Secretary: Sir, we at Morning-Eez are well aware of the lengths that clients will go to in order to sleep in, so it's standard policy to discount any excuse the client may have to stay in bed. Once you've told us your wake-up time, we stick to it. It's for your own good, sir. And when you write out your check, make sure to spell Morning-Eez with E-E-Z. Have a nice day, sir.

Bob: Yes, um, thank you. (SFX: hangs up phone, picks it up and dials again) Hello. How much does it cost to change all the locks to my house? Really? That much? Well, I'll do it anyway. Send someone over to 137 Elm St, around, oh, noon. I'll be waiting. Thank you. (SFX: hangs up phone) Ah, now back to bed.

(SFX: Door crashes open again.)

Vito: Get up and stay up, sir. Or we'll be back.

(SFX: Door slams)

(SFX: Bob picks up phone and dials again.)

Bob: Hi, boss? I think maybe I'll come in to work a little bit early today... No, no reason. Just woke up early. What? No... Ha ha. No, that isn't like me, sir.

SCENE II: Bob's office
(SFX: Typewriters or some other kind of office ambience, which continues throughout the scene.)

Boss: Simpkins!

Bob: My name isn't Simpkins, sir.

Boss: I don't care. I call you Simpkins because it fits nicely my opinion of your ability.

Bob: Yes, sir.

Boss: Now, Simpkins, I thought we had come to an understanding about your work hours.

Bob: We did, sir, but this service I hired—

Boss: You were to switch your hours of work from the 9 to 5 shift to the noon to 8 shift. I believe that was what we worked out.

Bob: Yes, sir, but—

Boss: If my memory serves, and it usually does in cases such as this, you actually got down on your knees and begged me not to fire you for tardiness, but to switch your work to later hours.

Bob: Yes, sir.

Boss: I do not normally make allowances for people's personal habits, Simpkins. And I see that it is 9:07 by my watch and you are, despite our arrangement, physically present in the office.

Bob: That's true, sir.

Boss: True it is! It is an undeniable fact, Mr. Simpkins, that you are here in the office at 9:07. That's 9:07 in the a.m., Simpkins. I find that curious.

Bob: I ... was awakened early today.

Boss: I see. I see. Well. I only hope that you will not be coming in this early every day, Simpkins. I like a hard worker, and a punctual worker, but in our arrangement, if you recall, the sheer oddness of your later work hours were to be offset by the fact that you would on occasion be available for truly late worknights.

Bob: Oh, please, not tonight sir, I've got to straighten out this mess with my wake-up service and then—

Boss: Simpkins... I need you to meet with the DeFarge clients. They will be flying in from Phoenix on the 9:00 flight—that's 9 o'clock in the p.m, Simpkins. They will want a hotel, and dinner. You will serve as their guide to the city.

Bob: Yes, sir.

Boss: I need not remind you how important the DeFarge clients are to this company, Simpkins?

Bob: No, sir.

Boss: I will anyway. If we lose DeFarge, Simpkins... I will be extremely unpleasant! There will go your Christmas bonus. And your key to the employee restroom. You'll have to use the gas station down the street like those idiots in accounting. And, Simpkins, I might even be forced to rethink our arrangement.

Bob: I'll do a good job, sir.

Boss: See that you do. Good day, Simpkins. ... Oh, one more thing. It has come to my attention that employees have been using company paper clips and pens for purely personal reasons. In order to stop this nefarious trend in white-collar crime, this company will no longer provide office supplies for employees. You will be expected to bring your own. That is all, Simpkins. Good day.

Bob: Thank you, sir.

SCENE III: The next morning. Bob's bedroom.
(SFX: Street ambience-noise. Car door opens and closes.)

Bob: (tired as hell) OK, here's seven bucks for the cab. Keep the change.

Cab Driver: You oughta get you some sleep, guy. You look awful.

Bob: Yeah, thanks, I'll try that. (Cab drives off.) I can't believe the DeFarge people are such partiers. Look at that, it's nearly dawn. I've been awake for nearly twenty-four hours... Oh, it'll feel so good to go to sleep. Now, where are my new house keys... Here. (SFX: Door opens and closes. Street ambience stops.) And now to re-lock... there. Oh god, I'm tired. I think I'll just collapse right here on the couch. (SFX: Body falls into a couch) Ahhhhh... Good night, world. (Bob starts snoring.)

(SFX: The pastoral music from Scene I comes back. It is cut off by a series of loud noises as Vito, Hans, and Hugo force the front door off its hinges.)

Vito: Wakey-time, sir! (SFX: Thud as Bob is pushed off the couch.)

Bob: You again?!

Vito: We're professionals, sir. Changing your locks is the oldest trick in the book.

Hugo: Huh huh. Yeah. You stupid.

Vito: Hugo... don't be impolite.

Hugo: Sorry. You stupid, Mr. Customer.

Vito: That's better, Hugo.

Bob: But I don't have to get up yet! I can sleep until ten if I want!

Vito: No, sir, not according to our invoice. Please don't force me to let Hans go to work on you. Show Bob your tongs, Hans.

(SFX: clanking. They're pretty big tongs, apparently.)

Hans: Ve haff ways to make you rise und shine!

Vito: Oh, and sir—I found this bottle of Sominex on your dresser. I don't think you'll be needing this any more.

Bob: Hey! Put that back! You can't take away a man's sleep aid! It's unconstitutional!

Vito: See you tomorrow, sir. Have a pleasant wakefulness. (SFX: Crew tramps out, door slams)

Bob: Ooooh... Take my Sominex, will they? This means war! Where's the coffee pot? I've got to form a plan...

SCENE IV: The day after Scene III. Bob's bedroom again.
(SFX: The same pastoral music from Scene I rears its ugly head again.)

(SFX: Bob's front door is pounded on. Vito's voice comes from outside.)

Vito: Sir? Let us in, sir, it's time to get up!

(SFX: More pounding)

Vito: It's no use. He's barricaded the door. Hugo!

Hugo: Yeah, boss?

Vito: Get the chainsaw!

Hugo: Gotcha, boss.

(SFX: Chainsaw roars up, cuts through door. Vito's voice now comes from inside the house.)

Vito: Can't fool us, sir. You can't hide. We're professionals. I know you think that barricade should have stopped us, sir, but we've got a job to do. If you could only see things from our perspective, sir, you might be a little more sympathetic.

Hugo: He's not answering, boss.

Vito: I know. This client is cagey. He's like a fox. But for every fox, there's a trap. He's going to have to be taught a lesson in wakefulness. Hans!

Hans: Ja, mein fuhrer?

Vito: Did you bring along... the bag?

Hugo: Hooray! The torture kit!

(SFX: Vito whacks Hugo)

Vito: Don't you read the employee handbook, Hugo? We don't call it that when clients can hear us.

Hugo: Sorry, boss.

Vito: We call it ... the bag. It's just a little way for the wake-up crew to tell a client that he has been remiss in fulfilling his share of the morning routine.

Hans: Und if ve must perform ... bodily damage ... then zat is simply an on-the-job perk for us.

Vito: Hans, get out a couple of baseball bats for me and Hugo. We'll subdue the client, and then you can show him our tough love.

Hans: Zank you, mein fuhrer!

Vito: No problem, you been doin' good work lately. Now everyone be quiet, we gotta make sure he doesn't wake up before we wake him up. Okay, Hugo, on my mark, kick down the door and move in. (pause) Go!

(SFX: Door bursts in. Vito and Hans begin beating Bob's bed with their bats, and in the process damage a whole bunch of furniture. It makes a big racket.)

Hugo and Hans (not simultaneous, but basically they each say the same thing, rephrasing it a bit): Time to get up! Wakey, wakey, sir! Get up! Get up before we pummel you unconscious! Up and at 'em, sir!

Bob: Hey, guys, I'm behind you.

Vito: What?! Get him, Hugo!

(SFX: Three closely spaced gunshots, each followed by a yelp of pain from one of the wake-up crew.)

Vito: Uhhhhg... What happened?

Bob: Second-oldest trick in the book, boys. I got up early and arranged the pillows in my bed to make you think I was still asleep. Then I hid in the closet with this tranquilizer gun.

Hugo: Hey... you not so stupid after all.

Hans: Shut up, Hugo!

Vito: No, Hans, Hugo's right. We've been beaten. I'm losing consciousness...

Bob: That's right. In a few seconds, you three will be bound tightly in the blissful arms of Morpheus. Just to be sure, I'm going to bind you tightly with rope for good measure.

Vito: Sir... you're not gonna tell anyone about this, are you? We got a reputation to protect.

Bob: That's a good question. I'm going to have to sleep on it.

Vito: (Falls asleep as he says this line) I guess .... that's only ... fair...

(SFX: Three quiet, but distinct snores)

(SFX: Bob picks up phone, dials. It rings, and a tinny version of Bob's boss answers)

Bob: Hello, boss?

Boss: Simpkins?

Bob: Yeah, it's me, boss.

Boss: What is it, Simpkins, I'm extremely busy! There's been a rash of paper-clip thefts!

Bob: I just wanted to let you know that I won't be early again today.

Boss: Good! Wonderful to see that you've finally gotten with the program, Simpkins. (suddenly suspicious) Are you brown-nosing me, Simpkins?

Bob: Why, yes, I am, sir.

Boss: I thought so. You're promoted. Assistant Vice Adjutant to the Vice President of Manufacturing.

Bob: A promotion? How nice! Thank you.

Boss: You're welcome. You start at 7:30 this morning. See you in an hour.

Bob: What?! You can't do this to me!

Boss: Ah ah ah. Washroom key is fading away...

Bob: But—but—

Boss: Come now, Simpkins. The early bird catches the worm. If you like, there's a rather good wake-up service I could recommend—

Bob: Noooooooooooo! (voice echoes out and fades into credits)