Susan put two slices of bread in the toaster, set the kettle on the stove, and sat down with the morning paper. She skimmed past the headlines, briefly cruised through the personals, and finally honed in on the daily horoscope – page twelve, section B.
Gemini: It could be hard for you to get a handle on things today. Your luck will be split. This isn’t a day to take risks. Though a small gamble may pay off, you’d be better to keep your activities to a minimum and watch your step.
Her eyes narrowed and she drummed her fingers on the table. Usually reading the horoscopes was fun, an amusing way to start the day; today it was just irritating.
Then the fire alarm started to beep and she looked up to see a ribbon of smoke pouring out of the toaster. Pulling the cord out of the wall, she opened a window to vent the kitchen and took the battery out of the alarm to get it to shut up.
She waited until the toaster stopped smoking and then tried to see what had happened. After a brief inspection she decided that the pop-up mechanism must have jammed, keeping the bread down too long.
With the toaster safely unplugged, she dug the burnt toast out with a fork and dumped it in the garbage. Forgetting the toast, she put a fresh tea bag in her mug and filled it with water from the kettle before returning to the kitchen table and flipping to the Help Wanted ads.
The string fell out of her tea bag as she swirled it around the cup. She fished out the little free-floating satchel and then ran her fingers under some cool water to ease the burn.
Abandoning breakfast all together, she decided to get dressed and go to the corner store down the street for coffee and a muffin on the way to today’s job interview; a dream job as an assistant accountant at Frazier Bank.
She had been intending to wear her good slacks so she hadn’t bothered to shave. Heading into her bedroom, she realized she had accidentally left her slacks on top of the dresser instead of putting them way. There she found her cat sleeping on them. He had left a considerable patch of long, orange fur all over one butt and the upper leg.
Not having enough time to use the lint roller, she opted for a skirt and black stockings, deciding her hairy legs weren’t very noticeable through the dark nylon. She gave a last glance in the mirror, then grabbed her purse and was out the door.
One of Susan’s favorite self-indulgences were her occasional lottery tickets. She had cut way back since losing her job, but as she was on her way to a job interview today she felt confident she’d nail, she went ahead and picked one up at the corner store. She played her usual numbers, got a french roast coffee and a poppy seed muffin; they were out of blueberry.
Leaving the store, Susan walked to the bus stop. Before she could make it, though, the bus was already pulling up. She yelled, running to catch it as it started to pull away. Just when she was convinced she had missed it entirely, the driver noticed her and stopped, opening the doors. Finally, good luck!
As she got on, she snagged her nylon, leaving a long run down the side of her left leg. She fell into the seat with a groan and just hoped no one would notice in her interview. The bus ride was spent eating her muffin and trying to edge away from the unpleasant-smelling man who sat down beside her at the next stop.
When the bus reached downtown, she got off early, deciding to walk the last blocks to the bank. Just as she went to take the last drink from her coffee, a man behind her tried to grab her purse. She managed to hook her elbow just in time to keep him from being able to rip it off. He ran when she yelled and he realized it was too late to get it, but she had already spilled coffee all down the front of her shirt.
The unfortunate thought of what else could possibly go wrong drifted through her head as she swallowed down the tears she really wished she could cry and forced herself to keep going to the bank. She sat in the waiting area with her legs tipped to one side, trying to hide the run in her nylons and pulling her jacket as closed as she could, though the coffee stain was still visible above the collar.
After a few agonizing minutes waiting, a lady called her name and showed her into the interviewer’s office. She wasn’t sure whether the interviewer being a woman made her appearance that much worse, or maybe slightly better.
She shook the lady’s hand and immediately launched into an apology and explanation about her appearance being the result of nearly getting mugged. The lady looked shocked and a touch horrified and was very gracious about the whole thing, commenting on her bravery and fortitude to still show up at all after that happened. In that moment, Susan was empowered; despite her morning, she managed to give not just a good impression, but ended up being a walking character reference for herself.
The interview was short. In the end, the lady offered her the job at fifty cents an hour higher than the position originally entailed. They filled out all the necessary paperwork right there; a good health insurance plan, a sizable life insurance policy, and excellent retirement benefit. Susan left the bank gainfully employed and walking on air.
She started back for the bus stop, getting two blocks before being hit by a driver running the red light as she crossed on a green walk sign. When the ambulance arrived, she was barely conscious and losing blood quickly. The EMTs got her on a stretcher and loaded when her purse fell and the lottery ticket slipped out. One of the EMTs picked it up and glanced at it, then slipped it in his pocket before closing the doors.
The doctors said she came through the surgeries remarkably well for the injuries she had sustained. It was unfortunate that her health insurance policy did not take effect for thirty days after her date of hire, so she would be liable for the full cost of her treatments and follow-up physical therapy.
The bank was very understanding about the whole thing, promising to hold the position for her until she was cleared to work and was able to attend her duties.
Laying in the hospital recovery ward watching TV, she saw the breaking news report: Local EMT Wins $170 Million in Lottery.