SMOKE: Friday 13th
Originally published: 13 August 2004
I woke up on Friday the 13th and I felt good. I'd come off the back of the third in a trilogy of dreams involving Britney Spears and believe me when I tell you that my dream machine saved the spectacular climax for last.
I was almost about to roll out of bed when I realised I was on the wrong side and hastily moved over to the right side. Wouldn't want to start that Friday off in the worst possible way, would I?
I went to the bathroom and tiptoed around, making sure I stepped between the cracks in the tiled floor, and made it over to the mirror. Forgetting the mirror was loose in the sliding cabinet I gave it a hearty wrench and it came out of its sliders and fell, tumbling slow-motion through the air on its way to the tiles below.
I closed my eyes, expecting the crash as it shattered on the floor, bringing me seven years of bad luck, but I heard nothing. Opening my eyes I saw it had fallen on a towel, which had luckily fallen out of the clothes hamper.
I gingerly put it back, smiling wryly at my good fortune. I knew I'd have to be careful from then on - it was plain to see that I was going to be tested on this unluckiest of days.
At breakfast I tried to shake some salt onto my eggs but the top came off the shaker and the salt spilled all over the counter top. Before I could be cursed I grabbed a handful and hurled it over my shoulder, showering the dog who spent the rest of the morning thirsty. It was a close call, but I was confident I'd done enough.
I left my house to take a walk to the shop and as I started down the road a black cat darted out from under a gate right in front of me, and ran right across my path and into the road. I would have panicked except a car came by and ran smack-bang into the cat, smearing it into the tar, so I reckoned that cancelled itself out quite nicely.
I was so engrossed in the cat scenario I failed to spot the ladder some guy had put up outside his house, but as luck would have it I walked right past it. Phew.
Browsing the shop windows I saw some television screens, which were showing a cricket match. The score was on 111 - Nelson - so I sat down on the sidewalk and raised my feet in the air. Jakes smacked a fine-looking cover drive and I hopped back to my feet, danger averted.
I stopped to have a smoke and two guys came up and asked for a light. I lit my cigarette, held the match out to first guy and lit his cigarette, then offered the match to the second guy, who blew the flame out. At least one of us was thinking on our feet.
I spotted a coin lying on the ground and bent to pick it up - fortunately it was heads facing up, or I might have been in trouble.
I negotiated the rest of the day safely enough, by locking myself indoors when I got home.
My final test was in the evening, when I went to see a friend performing in a theatre show. I went backstage during interval and asked someone where I could find the actor playing Macbeth - I was forced to turn around three times to undo the spell.
I went to bed exhausted, but at least I had safely negotiated my Friday the 13th. I'd stuck to the rules as far as possible, had taken extra care and caution with everything I did and I fell into a deep, untroubled sleep.
I awoke to Saturday the 14th, walked outside and got knocked over by a bus. I always knew Golden Arrow would be the death of me...
PS: It's blimmin' hot down here.
All Smoked Out,