13th November

Thursday the Thirteenth

Getting out of bed he tripped on a stray shoe and twisted his ankle. He limped to the bathroom, stubbing his toe on the doorframe en route. When he flushed the toilet the handle came away in his hand and it took him ten minutes to fish the mechanism from the bottom of the cistern and reconnect it. He was going to be late. He tried to keep calm but cut his face in three places while shaving.

The milk he poured onto his cornflakes was off. He chucked milky mush into the bin under the kitchen sink and somehow the bowl slipped from his hand and smashed on the tiled floor. He swept up, losing more time. He went back to the bedroom to put on a tie and found that one of the shaving nicks was still bleeding and had stained the collar of his clean shirt. He changed into another and a button came off. He grabbed his briefcase and hurried out. Only as the house door slammed behind him did he realise that he’d left the key on the kitchen table. His neighbours, who kept a spare one, were on holiday for a week.

He got into the car and switched on the ignition. To his surprise it started first time. But somebody had knocked the offside wing mirror and when he reached out to adjust it the whole thing broke off and smashed on the ground. He thought about cancelling the rest of the day and going back to bed but to do that he’d need to force the door or break a window.

He drove to the office, taking extra care when changing lanes. He’d have to phone his wife, who had left him a month ago for his best friend, and ask her to come round later with the house key she’d held onto. This prospect worried him: he knew she was beginning to think she’d made a mistake, and he’d got used to having the place to himself.

A superstitious man might believe he’d just earned himself seven years’ bad luck from the mirror incident but luckily he wasn’t superstitious. Anyway, it wasn’t the day for it.

Reader: Paul Gorman
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
Guitar: Sorren Maclean
Subscribe here for more stories & music