Misfortune

Please note that this is a work of fiction and that any relation to any real person, living or dead, is purely coincidental (always wanted to say that… Almost like I’m a real writer huh? Are you proud of me momma!?)

Have you ever forgotten something? If you have, you’ll know that you don’t just remember randomly. You remember right as the thing you’ve forgotten would have been a benefit to you. For example: if you forget your keys, you’ll remember when you’re about to unlock your door and you don’t have your keys. But if someone was home and your door was unlocked, you may never realise that you forgot your keys that day.

Well I’m about to give you my story. It’s a story about: routine, memory and bad luck. A deadly combination no? Well luckily I’m still alive so… Maybe not THAT lethal… But still pretty fucking deadly man. But this day, more than any other, made me want to raise my middle finger to the sky and say these three immortal words:

Fuck. My. Life.

It has been about 13 years since I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (or OCD for short). I am a 27 year old man, stable job and an even stabler routine. I LOVE routine. This is apparently why I have OCD… But why? Routine is something that makes life safer… If my routine prepares me for everything then… What can go wrong right?

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret… K? I don’t have OCD. I’m just unlucky. The reason I love routine as much as I do is because then I know what’s gonna happen. And for anything unexpected, I’m ready for it. That way, if my luck (or lack thereof) ever tries to dick me over, I’m ready for it. If there is ever a day where I don’t follow my routine EXACTLY then I’ll spend that day in fear.

I have my daily routine written on my bedroom door (not that I’ll ever forget it). Here it is:

  1. Put my phone in my bag
  2. Check the batteries in the smoke detector on the way downstairs
  3. Make sure I have my wallet and keys
  4. Make sure to set the burglar alarm before leaving
  5. Check the car’s tire pressure
  6. Check the amount of petrol is in the car
  7. Check that the brakes are working
  8. Drive to work (make sure the car is locked)
  9. At lunchtime, double check to see that the car is locked
  10. Once work is done, re-do steps 5, 6 and 7 before driving home
  11. Once home, place phone on charge

And that is my routine. Pretty self-explanatory right? A lot of people wondered why I do this every day and my friends told them that I have OCD… Some of them laughed… Fuck those people. Not only is it not OCD but I just care about my safety. What’s so funny about that?

Anyway, back to the story. This is what happened today.

So I wake up to my alarm (which is on my phone) and turn it off. I check my phone’s battery. 47%… (Shit. The charger’s acting up again… Better get a new one on the way home… I’ll stop by that computer place.) These are mental notes I make to myself. I can still remember all of them and I’ll have them in brackets for your viewing pleasure.

(In the meantime I better put this on charge)

(Alright, time to check the smoke detector.) I press the button to make the smoke detector beep, so I know it’s working. ~Click~ ~Silence~

(Well great. Now I have to change the batteries) I continued into the kitchen to find some replacement batteries. (… You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me. None. Not even one battery. Yay for me. Another stop on the way home.)

At that point the day was off to a fantastic start so I started eating breakfast and left…(Alright, burglar alarm? Check! The first thing to go well today!) I moved to my car. (Tires? Check.) I start the car. (Petrol? Running a little low… I’ll stop on the way to work for that).

Once I had gotten to work it was the same as usual: get out, make sure the car was locked and get working. At lunchtime, I got out and made sure it was locked again and got back to work as soon as I’d finished eating.

I was in the middle of driving home. My day was going pretty well. (All things considered, I’d call this day another success!)

But… There was this nagging feeling in the back of my head… I felt… Strange. (… Backtracking mental notes. Am I missing something?) I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was bugging me.

I continued basking in my routine for the rest of the day and went to bed at exactly 11:00 PM.

I awoke at about 2:50 AM… To the smell of smoke. (Is something burning? Did I leave the stove on? No I always check before I go to bed. Whatever it is it stinks. Maybe a gas leak?) I got out of bed and immediately saw that my room was filling with smoke. I coughed and gasped for air.

I wondered how this could have happened. (What the shit? How? The smoke detector should have… Should… Have…) That’s when it hit me.

I’ll ask you again…

Have you ever forgotten something? If you have, you’ll know that you don’t just remember randomly. You remember right as the thing you’ve forgotten would have been a benefit to you.

I forgot to get batteries on the way home. The smoke detectors batteries were still dead. It was a change in the routine.

I had always planned for this situation. There’s a small platform outside of my bedroom that I can land on by climbing out my window. I had practiced many times before. I climb out, drop onto the platform and then lower myself to the ground.

I grabbed my phone and checked for flames before following the escape plan. I then went to switch on my phone… Nothing.

(What? Why? It was just… On… Charge.) It hit me again.

Again: have you ever forgotten something? If you have, you’ll know that you don’t just remember randomly. You remember right as the thing you’ve forgotten would have been a benefit to you.

I forgot to buy that new charger. That’s why my phone wasn’t turning on… it’s battery was dead. It was a change in the routine.

I had later managed to call the firefighters with the help of my neighbours. It took a lot longer to call them though. There wasn’t much left when the firefighters finally arrived.

It was… A change… In the routine.

Once more… for the visually impaired…

Have you ever forgotten something? If you have, you’ll know that you don’t just remember randomly. You remember right as the thing you’ve forgotten would have been a benefit to you.

I’ve been itching to write something for the past month or so, so I decided to stop posting for 2 weeks and plan out a little story. What you see is the fruit of my labour. I’d appreciate any criticism on my writing (just try to keep it constructive).

Again note that nothing in this story is true or based on true events… Except for the OCD… Jury’s still out on that one…

Hope this makes up for 2 weeks of not posting! Thanks for reading!

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