One, two, three, four, five, six, and seven. Flip over. One, two, three, four, five, six, and seven. I punch into work. 9:17 in the morning. Like every other Friday, but not today. It is 13th, of November, on a Friday. A Friday the 13th. Superstitious? Maybe. Careful? Indeed. Every other street; a black cat crosses my path. Seven times. Seven times. Seven times, a black cat crossed my path. Work. Work. Work. Stock here. Stock there. Stock in this way. 11:33 in the morning, that is when I clock out. Like every other regular Friday. black cat darts across my path, that is eighth time today, as I walk out of work for my lunch break. Grabbing my worry stone, an aquamarine-- for courage and the release of anxiety and fear--, I run my thumb over the top and bottom seven times each, I continue walking home. Today has been the worst for my luck, makes sense though, it is Friday the 13th, everything has been weird. First knocking over my salt shaker while making coffee, shattering mirrors I dropped while stocking at work, and walking by the furniture department and seeing shoes on a table I tripped through a ladder a co-worker had propped up to stock a top-shelf with ouija boards. I let go of today’s events and walk across the street, and into the diner. Nodding to a waitress who waves to me, I sit down at an empty seat at the bar. Three from the left, three from the right. Directly in the middle of all of the bar seats. My drink? Iced tea, with sugar to add in, and a straw. My order? Same as always; a roast beef and swiss patty melt on rye with french fries; specifying that none of the fries must touch the sandwich, meat heated to 162°F, cheese melting at 162°F, bread grilled to caramelization, and fries fried at 362°F for two and a half minutes before tossed up twice and fried for another minute. I carefully pour in two packs sugar and one pack blue artificial sugar to my iced tea; I stir with my straw in four full circles to the right, and two and a half to the left. Any time I go to take a sip, stir twice to the right, and once to the left. By the time I am a quarter done with my tea, my plate arrives. I always eat in a certain order when I eat here; two fries, the top left corner of the sandwich, four fries, the top right, two fries, the bottom left, four fries, bottom right, two fries, top left, four fries, and so on. The person sitting next to me knocks over the salt shaker sitting next to him, and I grab my worry stone. Seven on the top; one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven. Flip it over. Seven on the bottom: one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven. The diner’s owner has called me obsessive, but I am just particular. I finish my plate and pay the $9.49 bill, leaving a tip of $5.51-- I know, that is a lot for a tip for a bill of that total--, to make it an even $15, and leave. As I pass the threshold, the black cat passes me again. Worry stone; one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, flip, one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven. Nine. Nine. Nine. That’s the ninth time. The ninth time. The ninth time. I walk back to work. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Five people greet me when I get back. Like every other regular Friday. Clock back in at exactly 12:03 in the afternoon. Like every other regular Friday. My manager says to go stock makeup. Like every other regular Friday. A customer bumps me as I walk into the aisle, bumping me into a mirror; shattering it. Shattered. Thirteen pieces. Thirteen pieces. Thirteen pieces. Worry. Stone. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. The customer yells at me for being in her way. Worry stone. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Worry stone. Call the manager, the manager has me go stock cat toys. Work ends without any more issues. The cat. It is back. Crossing my path. Ten. Ten. Ten. Tenth time today. Worry st-, no. Not this time. I follow the cat. Down one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven alternating left and right turns. Mirrors. Open ladders. Fallen salt shakers spilling out. Upside down horseshoes. Open umbrellas inside boxes of shattered glass. Thirteen. Thirteen. thirteen. Thirteen of each. Thirteen of each item of bad luck. The cat sitting in the middle of all of it. Staring. Staring. Staring. Staring directly into my eyes. Eyes. Eyes. Eyes. I feel held tight, pinched, pressed, gripped, squeezed, and crushed. All of the bad luck feeling. Feeling anxious. Anxious, everyone calls me that. And obsessive. Anxious and obsessive. Anxious and obsessive. No. No. No. I am careful. I am particular. Careful and particular. The cat stretches out into a humanoid shape. And lurches forward at me. Claws about to pierce my neck. And I lurch awake. I’m in bed. In my bed. Next to my partner. It is 9:11 at night. It was a nightmare. It is only a Saturday, the 16th of May. There won’t be a Friday the 13th for another 181 days. 181 days; that’s about six months and one day; 25 weeks and six days, 4344 hours. My partner wakes up and asks how I am, and what happened. I answer fine and a nightmare; go back to bed. My partner smiles, wrapping an arm around my waist, grounding me to this world. I grab my worry stone from my nightstand; this one is a triangular prism jasper; relaxation, contentment, compassion, nurturing, and consolation. One, two, three, four, five, six, and seven. Flip over. One, two, three, four, five, six, and seven. And back to sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep leads to dreams, nightmares, or nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing is peace, peace costs too much for everyone to have it.