Anyhoo. I wanted to reprogram Sly. Thing is, he’s superstitious: avoids green; touches wood; salutes magpies; the whole heap. Worst of all, he’s afraid of thirteens, and especially Fridays with that date. It’s called friggatriskaidekaphobia; he told me. He knows all his phobias personally.
As he opened the door he said: “What’s up bro?” He talks like that a lot. Like he’s seventeen and living in the ‘hood. Then he noticed the ladder. I’d propped it over the door hoping he’d step outside and walk under it but, no luck.
“Leave it out, bro’. Epic fail. You should not diss my belief system like that. Show me some respec’.” He gets his street cultures confused at times.
“Belief system?” I spat, ignoring his slang salad. “That’s no belief system, it’s hooey. The only person round here showing disrespect is you, scruffy n00b. Why don’t you bling yourself up and come down to the pub?”
He looked tempted but something held him back. “We’d have to check out before midnight. I can’t be there on the thirteenth.”
“Whatcha mean, the thirteenth?”
“Tomorrow, Saturday the thirteenth.” He looked at me as if I was vacant, so I decided to try my best shot.
“Sly. Today’s the thirteenth. You know?”
It wasn’t the thirteenth. I only said it for a joke, but his eyes opened out like searchlights as he muttered, without a hint of his usual attitude, “You mean I went to work on Friday the thirteenth? Oh shit.” Then he sort of belched and his eyes rolled up. He tipped backwards like a felled tree and I heard a crack as his head met the floor.
“Simon. SLY!” I yelled, and knelt down to check him over. He wasn’t breathing.
“Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh HELP!” I hollered, grateful his mother was in the house. Then I started mouth to mouth.
That belch had been a vurp because I tasted vomit as I put my mouth over his. His mother called an ambulance, but I had to stick with the paramedic act and eat his puke till they arrived. It was gross.
Huge relief: he was breathing on his own by the time they got him to hospital. When he came round I admitted I’d been joshing and it backfired. He was OK about it, considering. He recovered with no harm, except for one thing: now he’s afraid of Friday the twelfth too.
This story is in response to the weekly challenge at Steve Isaak's Reading & Writing by Pub Light. Steve offers three words and we have to include them in a short story of fewer than 500 words. (This one JUST scrapes through the word count).
This week's words were what you might call a challenge.
Hesher - the kind of 28-year-old who dresses and behaves like he's 17 and still lives with his parents.
Friggatriskaidekaphobia - the fear of Friday the 13th
Vurp - the kind of burp that brings a small amount of vomit with it
No, I didn't know them either!