If you weren’t paying attention earlier in the year, you might like to go back and read Unlucky for Some, parts 1 and 2 (I did link the first to the second to help you!). This 1000 word flash completes what has been a really bad day for Joanne Barclay, so far….
Unlucky for Some (part 3)
It was turning out to be a really long day. You’d think that time would fly after an attempted robbery, and the kerfuffle of the police arresting two Romanians being used by an unscrupulous gang. But they didn’t leave till the afternoon, and then we sat around talking to DS Columba O’Reilly, who’d been detailed to a post-event security check. She chuckled when given the assignment. We were security consultants to the force, after all.
“.. but you never know,” she said in her wonderful lilting voice, “it’s easy to overlook things at home when you’re busy with clients.”
She was right, of course. We went through the checklist exactly according to the procedure I’d devised for them. I could hardly object. I asked her if victims did.
“Oh, you wouldn’t believe it! The number who ‘haven’t got time for that now’ when they’ve just been robbed, or defrauded, or blackmailed… some people are lucky they don’t get done every day of the week.”
Her use of the word lucky reminded me of the date. I still had six hours to go, assuming I went to bed as soon as I reasonably could. Surely I’d be safe once I was tucked up in bed.
The drive home was uneventful, although three more cats insisted on playing chicken on the road out of town. The moor looked good under the waxing moon and we were in for a hard frost. I scrunched onto my driveway, the gravel already crisping underneath my wheels, and turned off the ignition. Next door’s cat stared at the lights, mesmerised, but then he blinked and walked off, nose in the air, owning the place as usual. I wondered if he’d left poop on my doorstep. I took the flashlight out of my glovebox just in case.
I dowsed the lights, swung my legs out of the car, and hovered. Quick examination of the ground showed my second sight was in full working order. Thank goodness for the flashlight. I stepped carefully over the cat’s trap.
“Ha-ha, missed me this time,” I muttered at the direction he’d disappeared in. I kicked some gravel over it and hoped I wouldn’t step in it in the morning. I grabbed my bag and briefcase and made for the back door. The light came on over the front porch as it sensed my movement. A large box stood there. Good thing we don’t have passersby, anyone could have stolen it. I let myself in at the back, put the kettle on to boil, and went through to the front door, shedding coat and scarf as I went. I stepped out onto the porch, mercifully free of cat mess, to get the parcel. It was heavy, and needed both hands. That’s when I heard the ‘snick’ of the door closing behind me.
I debated whether to carry the parcel round the back or just go round and open the front door again; after all, I didn’t want to strain anything on this unexpected delivery. I was also trying to work out what it was; no obvious signs or logos, and I couldn’t think of anything I’d ordered. I shivered in the cold night air, and thanked my lucky stars I’d kept my shoes on, as I’d been on the point of kicking them off as usual as I hung up my coat. I wrestled with the box, and staggered around the side of the house, pausing a couple of times with it pressed on a windowsill, or the wall, to adjust my grip. I reversed into the back door, pushing it with my bottom. And went nowhere. Darn. Could I manage to press this box against the door and get a hand free enough to turn the handle? With a lot of wriggling, and a knee up under the box, which emphasised the gathering cold as my skirt rode up, I got a hand on the doorknob. It refused to budge.
“How could I have locked myself out of both doors at once?” was my main thought as I started to let go of the box. That was speedily replaced by a set of responses which, if rendered into normal speech, would be “How could I be so stupid as to drop a ten-ton parcel on my foot?”
I didn’t scream. I paused, leaning against the wall, taking big breaths, and hoping the pain would pass. It did, in a way. But my whole body was tense, the foot was throbbing, and felt like my shoe was rapidly becoming five sizes too small for it. I extracted it from under the parcel, and the pain intensified. I turned to the wall, hoping not to throw up, or if I did, maybe I could aim for the drain cover.
After a few minutes, when I reckoned my face had recovered some of the blood that had drained from it in my agony, I decided that I really ought to seek medical help. My neighbour’s house was dark, so no chance of assistance from that direction. I was only five miles from the nearest hospital, and with an automatic transmission, I was perfectly capable of driving there. I could see steam from the kettle inside the kitchen. Surely it should have switched itself off by now. I guided myself past the window, hanging on to the windowsill and hobbling painfully. The lights inside went out – at least a blown fuse would kill the kettle too. My phone was in my handbag in the hall. My house keys were in the kitchen. My car keys were in … had I left them in the car? I hoped so.
Slowly, painfully, I pulled myself along the side of the house and hopped across to the car. The door opened! I stepped in….
… the cat poo.
After that, driving to the hospital and waiting for hours while they sorted out all the other Friday the Thirteenth accidents was easy. I got seen in record time because of the smell.
(c) J M Pett 2015