A Terrible Day

Clyde was having a terrible day. He knew it would be a bad day when he woke up in a puddle.   The roof was leaking. He stuck a bucket on the bed and went to get ready for work.

That was when he realized that he forgot to put the clothes from the washer into the dryer. Unfortunately, that meant that he could wait for the dryer and go to work an hour late, wear a wet button-up shirt to work, or wear a tee-shirt under his suit coat.

Clyde didn’t like those choices. He started the dryer and went to eat breakfast.   The cereal was mostly crumbs. He poured the last of the milk in and took a bite. It tasted awful. The milk was sour.

He left the bowl in the sink. Should he buy a shirt on the way to work? He didn’t really have the money. He started going through his dresser drawers and found an old sweater. That was dressier than a tee-shirt, even if it was mustard yellow with purple stripes.

On the way to the car, the wind blew pine needles into his eyes. He dropped his keys and had to crawl under the van to get them.   He brushed the mud off his sweater and noticed there was a big hole in the left side of the sweater. Too late to worry about that now.

On the way to work, he realized he was still wearing slippers. And his car was almost out of gas. And he’d left his wallet at home.

Clyde left his car parked at a funeral home. He didn’t have bus money. His work was still quite far away. And then it started to rain. Water crashed down on his head as he locked up his car. He dropped his keys again and they slid across the wet pavement and fell down a storm drain.

He called three people before his phone died. No one was home. The funeral home wasn’t open yet, but there was a light on in the back. Clyde knocked on the window, but no one answered. He started walking home.

He didn’t have his keys, but he kept a spare in the dead potted plant by the door. Unfortunately, the dirt was filled with ants that bit him as he fished out the key.   The key was bent at an odd angle.   He stepped on it to straighten it out.   With a bit of wiggling, he managed to get the key to work.

The inside of the house smelled like smoke, and the fire alarms were screeching. The air by the ceiling was thick and hazy. Clyde grabbed the fire extinguisher and followed the smoke to the dryer.   Just as he arrived, the smoke grew darker. He sprayed the wall and the dryer and then unplugged it. The smell was electrical and chemical and burnt and simply gross.

Clyde set the extinguisher on the washing machine and opened the windows and doors. He opened and closed the front door until the alarms quieted. Rain pattered on the floor as the wind blew it in through the windows.

Clyde stumbled into the kitchen to plug in his phone. He called in sick. He went to his room to change out of his clothes. The bucket on the bed was overflowing. He emptied it into the bathtub.

He pulled off his slippers and realized he’d been tracking mud all over the house. He sighed and left the slippers by front door. He decided to take a nice warm shower. Of course there was no hot water.   And then the power went out.

Clyde put his pajamas back on and watched the rain.   He fell asleep on the couch and woke up with a headache and neck pain. He blinked. The power was back on. He sat up as he heard a car door slam. Someone knocked on his door.

His friend Hal grinned when he opened the door.   “I’ve got the tickets,” he said.   “Let’s go. Opening night for The Silmarillion. It’s going to be packed.”

“Right,” Clyde said. “Let me grab my phone.”

They were halfway to the theater before he realized he’d forgotten his wallet, and he was still in his pajamas.   He pretended he hadn’t noticed. At least Hal had the tickets.   Maybe his day was finally going to turn around.

Just as the movie started, someone’s phone started ringing. Clyde glared at everyone around him. They glared back. The phone stopped ringing, and then started again.   Clyde and the people around him glared at each other again. Honestly, didn’t they know how to silence their phones?

“Are you going to get that?” Hal whispered as the phone started ringing again.

Just as Clyde realized that it was his phone ringing, an usher tapped him on the shoulder. “Sir,” the man said. “We’re going to have to ask you to leave.”

Clyde followed the usher out to the lobby. The usher gave him a voucher that would let him see a film during matinee hours, if he went during the next two weeks. Clyde sighed. His phone started ringing again.

He answered it. “You have won a free vacation to a lovely island in the Caribbean,” a cheerful voice said. “Terms and restrictions apply.”

“Didn’t they just have a hurricane there?” Clyde asked.

“Maybe,” the cheerful voice said. “Does it matter?”

“No,” Clyde said. “I don’t have a passport and can’t afford the flight there.” He hung up and silenced his phone. A kid racing through the lobby ran into him. Clyde’s phone went flying. When he picked it up, the screen was cracked. He started to sneeze. Maybe he was catching a cold.

He turned on his phone. There was enough battery for one phone call. He called his mom. “Mom, I’m having a terrible day.”

“Some days are like that,” she said. “Tomorrow will probably be better.”

“Thanks, mom. I love you.”

“I love you, too,” she said. The phone died.

Clyde smiled and put his phone in his pocket.   “Tomorrow will be better,” he said.