[Fiction] Friday Challenge #162 for July 2nd, 2010
Write about a man with an impossibly bad streak of luck on his birthdays, who, as his 40th birthday approaches, is scared of what might happen.
In the darkness Geoff watched the red dots between the digital numbers blink, blink, blink. He stared and waited as 11:59 finally dissolved into 12:00.
“Happy birthday to me,” he said. He rolled away from the bedside table and looked at the silhouette of his wife. She snuffled quietly, hiccuped and resettled. He slept the curse of the insomniac. Fidgeting with the covers he tried to make himself comfortable.
“What’s the matter, darling?” Fiona mumbled.
“Nothing. Just can’t sleep.”
“Are you worried about something?”
“No, not really. Well, yes, actually. I hate my birthday.”
Fiona focused on the emerging conversation. “I know you’re turning 40, but it’s something to celebrate, isn’t it? I mean, the kids and I are looking forward to giving you the guitar you wanted.”
In the darkness, Geoff smiled at the 1967 Fender Stratocaster reissue in tobacco sunburst colour on lay-by.
“I know. It’s just that my birthdays are cursed. If I’d lived in ancient Greece the Delphic Oracle would have run away screaming if I’d shown up and asked for a prediction of my future.”
“They’re not all cursed.”
“Yes they are. Remember my thirtieth? I still don’t know how that cow managed to get up three flights of stairs. And then on my thirty-third birthday, there was that unfortunate incident with the prawn salad. Aunt Beryl still hasn’t forgiven me for the rash she had for three weeks. And the thing that started it all off was my twenty-first when my idiot mates hired a stripper and she twisted an ankle after slipping on someone’s dropped beer.”
“None of that was your fault.”
“Yeah, but it all happened during my birthday celebrations. So you can see that the idea of turning forty involves a great deal of trepidation and causes brown underpants.”
“Aren’t you being a little melodramatic?”
“Am I? There is always something that happens on my birthday that makes it socially awkward and everyone points and laughs.”
Fiona sighed and cuddled into her husband feeling the tension in his chest. Absent-mindedly Geoff stroked the curve of his wife’s back. His breathing eased and his muscles relaxed into slumber.
The warning siren of the alarm sounded and Geoff raised a reluctant hand to begin the inevitable.
“Well, I’d better get up and face this day.”