Cause for Alarm

Yesterday evening, I was inadvertently turning my seared tempeh into blackened tempeh (yes, I know that “blackened” food is passé, but my inability to cook without event is timeless), when all of a sudden, the smoke alarm woke up.
It went on for what I claimed was “a full ten minutes” but which I’m sure was closer to two, but regardless of the length of time, it was way too long. During one of the brief lapses when I wasn’t shouting Shut up! Shut up! at the alarm, I said to the DOG, “You know what? If there were really a fire, and the tenants didn’t get out already, then they would deserve to die in the flames!”
He gently bashed the alarm with an official alarm-bashing utensil, and it then changed its tune.
“Well, that’s impressive,” I said, with a nod of approval. “I didn’t know it had such an extensive vocabulary. What else can it say?”
Sure, the constant blare made me want to gouge the alarm’s imaginary eyes out with a rusty grapefruit spoon. Sure, it was making Taxi and Shana bleed from the ears. Sure, it triggered in me a quasi-Tourette’s response. But because I knew that it, along with my shouting, had the potential to rankle my stomp-happy upstairs neighbors, I gleefully encouraged the DOG to continue his gentle bashes in the hopes of coaxing the persistent alarm to say more.
Meanwhile, I tossed the “blackened” tempeh, and started encouraging a block of tofu to not burn on the stovetop. This new attempt must have alarmed the alarm, though, because no sooner did the stuff start sputtering in the pan than the alarm made this suggestion, followed in rapid succession by this and this.
“Oh YOU,” I said, shaking my head, waving my spatula up at the ceiling, and admiring the perfect golden-brown toastiness of my tofu slices.