Contemporary Funny Happy

This is my worst nightmare.

I woke up extra early, fully rested. My bedroom was not too cold or too hot, and the yoga mat was already rolled out. All I had to do was a few stretches, push-ups and sit-ups (a new record: 30 each), and then hit the bathroom. I noticed that I had more cereal than I thought and that the skim milk I thought I had to replace was still fresh. The coffee was also already percolating (when did I turn the machine on?), and my bag was packed (again, a mystery).

I got dressed, found my car keys in a pocket of a jacket I had not worn in a week (still a surprise), and then went to the car. It was chilly, but the road was empty and I hit about six green lights in a row without a stop. At the seventh light, there was no traffic heading in any direction, so I went right through the stop. I expected someone to stop me (don’t they have cameras on those lights now?), but nothing happened. No police around that morning.

At work, I was able to switch my old chair with one in the main conference room without anyone noticing what happened. Our manager was in a good mood, brought in donuts and coffee (I had forgotten to pick some up before heading in; always my responsibility at the end of the week), and thanked me, in front of the entire staff room, for some work I had done about six weeks ago (I thought she had forgotten about that; strange woman). Then she said that I could go out for lunch and charge it to the office. Did tell her that I still had to work to do, but she let me head out early for a meal. Alone.

So, at the restaurant I usually went to, there was the same woman who worked there I have wanted to talk to for the longest time. She saw me and I could tell that something was going on. She was happy to see me (an expected and usual thing), but she seemed even happier than usual about me being there (an unusual thing). The place just opened and not too many people were in the mall, so maybe that was the reason why she was trying so hard to make me feel special. I told her what I wanted and then – because, why not? – I started to tell her about my day. She laughed. And laughed. And then she touched my arm. No real need for her to tell me that I worked out. When she asked me to flex for her, I took a look around, expecting a camera crew to come out and mention how I was being punked or filmed for “Candid Camera” (do people still know that reference?). I somehow managed to get my meal, take a seat in an area I did not know was so private (she pointed out to me), finish my food, and then look at the receipt. Her phone number was inside a large valentine heart with her name and email address.

I still had some time before I headed back (thought that they would have someone cover for me with all that happened), so I decided to test one theory. At a drugstore, I walked in, found out that I was their “10,000th Lucky Customer!” (large novelty cheque for $10,000 was brought out and I had to pose for a photo), thanked everyone for the money, and then asked for a lottery ticket. The woman who handed me the photo thought that was a good idea (“Anything can happen, right? Right!”). It was not a habit that I had indulged in for a long, long time. My feeling about lottery tickets was that it was just easier to throw your money directly into the toilet than to get your hopes up. I bought one that I could scratch off. It was a free ticket. Got another one. Fifty dollars. Bought one more. One hundred dollars. The clerk looked visibly excited as I kept winning and wondered why I had to leave the store at that point.

Back at the office, all my work was done for me, and I received an email from the company president inviting me to join him…and his family. He was having a company get-together with some higher-ups and he wanted them “to meet the man who just made us a fortune this past quarter” (I am just quoting him directly). My manager was looking over my shoulder, smiling when I caught her and wondering out loud what they were going to do with me at the estate (I had missed the location where the festivities were supposed to take place). She was not even jealous and did not tell me to get back to work. Instead, I was told that it was a Friday and what did I think I was doing by not heading out early. As I stood and walked out, I shook hands with most of the staff, including the caterers and custodians (why were they even there that early and late in the day?). One woman was almost in tears and told me that, thanks to my plan, she would be able to keep her job. I quickly found myself in an elevator, waving at all the faces that crowded around the closing doors.

In the parking lot, the police were arresting someone near my car. Now, I thought, this is when something truly awful was about to go down (not sure what I felt it would be: a gunshot aimed at me; a misinformed officer about to arrest me for some suspected offence, etc.) I walked over to my vehicle, and one of the officers called me over. It turned out that the man they were arresting had attempted to break into my vehicle. They caught him as they were doing a routine swing through the neighbourhood (there was a restaurant nearby where the police always hung out after our office closed, so I half-believed the story). The young man – he must have been in his mid-twenties – was teary-eyed, blubbering for his mother, and dressed like someone who had been sleeping under a bridge. I did ask if they could drop charges against him because I did not want to put him in jail, but he had to go to court. And this young kid, this poor nobody, thanked me. He actually thanked me. Probably be better for him to be in jail. He’d have a roof over his head, meals, and some decent clothes. The officers thanked me. One of them gave me a card and said that I should stay in touch if I needed anything. Another valentine heart with a number (did I mention that it was a woman?). I drove home and hit seven green lights this time. No other officers appeared on the road.

So, I’m home now and wondering what is going to happen next. You gotta admit it is a weird thing to go through a day like that, just before the weekend, and wonder what is going to come next. It can only get worse, right? How could anything else better happen after all that?

Just my luck.

October 01, 2021 23:02

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RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

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