It was a bad luck kind of day. I could see the storm clouds. Well, one actually. Micro-sized and deepest black, it was hanging over just me, firing bolts of misfortune and rage directly at my head. My nickname, Jinx, became more appropriate with each passing second. Most of my days were difficult. This one was shaping up to be one of the worst. There was some sort of ill omen in the air. An omen I should have stopped and listened to.
The morning rush hour traffic in Las Vegas did not do much to improve my disposition. It was already hot in the desert, a fact emphasized by my air-conditioning refusing to work. As sweat dripped down my neck, possibly ruining my best silk shirt, I wondered again if this was really a new Porsche or if, yet another, salesman had screwed me over.
The only consolation was the first edition of Change Today? unspooling in the tape-deck I had specially installed into my car. It had taken nearly twenty minutes to explain to the kid at the garage what it was I wanted. Then another two weeks for them to get one and work out how to put it in. It was worth it, though. I was a sucker for authenticity, and there were precious few ‘80s So-Cal Punk bands who released on CD, and a turn-table was just a bit too unwieldy to carry in the car. I did my best to relax and just let the harsh vocals of “Flowers by the Door” put me in a better headspace as the mini storm raged just under the roof of the car.
The elevator at Sure Thing Graphics was out of commission. Of course, it was. I slapped my hands against my already sweaty face, dragging them down with frustration. The day had been such shit so far why break up the theme by actually having something go right? I was beginning to develop an absurdist sense of detachment about the whole thing — almost able to see the situation as funny, for its sheer ridiculousness if nothing else.
Four flights of stairs shouldn’t have been a problem. However, someone left a literal banana peel on the last step before the third-floor landing. The comic hijinks of my foot hitting the peel, the squish of the rotten interior, and the slide of the skin was not the same as in the movies. I didn’t slip. I jumped. My shoe got stuck in sticky goo, and the result was my foot coming out, throwing me off balance, and a direct fall to the landing below. Slamming my shin into concrete stung more than I cared to express in words, but when I punched the railing in rage, I figured out that was not the way to express myself either.
Hand aching, shin burning, I crawled up the last few stairs, nearly forgetting just how high the office was. I hauled my sorry carcass to its feet and limped through the stairwell door.
“Jinx!” Camilla shouted, standing up from behind the reception desk. “Are you okay?”
“Not particularly, darling,” I said, trying to keep things light, despite the state of me.
“Oh, nothing much just took a little tumble,” I explained.
“Down a mountain?”
“Down the stairs,” I corrected.
“O-oh, my God! I…is that —” She pointed at my left shin.
I shrugged, looking down. My new slacks were ripped and stained beyond repair. “Blood? Probably. Be an absolute love and fetch me a bandage, or ten?”
Camilla marched me into the break room — thank goodness the couch was black leather — and had her fiancé, Aden, utilizing his military field medic training to fix me up as much as possible. Our Art Director, Chris, watched from a distance to made sure there wasn’t a death on his watch. It was quite a spectacle. Though it was nice to know that I still had some allies left upon this planet.
“What the fuck was that about?” Cooper, the manager, asked in his usual, blunt way as he came across me hobbling to the cubical that served as my office. As Sure Thing’s only copywriter, my cubical was set as far back in the office as possible, seeing as I had a tendency to try out my work orally.
“What do you mean?” I asked innocently, blinking at him.
Coop rolled his eyes. “I can only assume it was some kind of bizarre suicide attempted, falling down the stairs like that.”
“Far from it,” I said when I had finished laughing. “Just another in a grime parade of misfortune’s visited upon my accursed head this grave and damnable morn.”
“Settle down MacDuff, it can’t be that bad,” he argued, following me into my office and perching on the corner of my desk with his arms folded across his chest. He looked like a big, annoyed eagle.