Friday the 13th valentines


It was Friday the 13th, a good day to play it safe. But the sun glared through the leafless trees and into my shack, urging me to greet the day with good faith. “Go out and slay dragons,” Swamp Rabbit said. He was hungry and out of bourbon. There were supermarkets and liquor stores to rob. There was money to be made, if I could find a place to sell magic electricity.

“It’s a bad-luck day, but I feel like I’m stagnating here,” I told the rabbit.

“Of course you stagnatin’,” he said. “You live in a swamp, Odd Man.”

So I jumped into my rusty Honda and hit the road. A black cat crossed my path before I was even out of the swamp. Then I sideswiped a parked car on Chemical Road, breaking its side mirror. But my luck seemed to hold. I set up my table at a popular emporium on the Main Line, where the buildings are less tacky and the people more hip to the eco-benefits of magic electricity.

But the shoppers were grumpy old men and housewives seeking air freshener and hipsters staring at their phones as they walked, as if taking directions from an unseen taskmaster. Everyone had to run a gauntlet of heart-shaped holiday balloons. They ignored me or said things like, “I have ADD, my wife handles the bills” and “Talk to my husband, I can’t wrap my head around that stuff.”

I called it a day and somehow ended up driving west on City Avenue, straight into the low-hanging sun, looking for a SuperFridge. I found a Shop-Rate, which is even better. You can usually count on them to have cameras that don’t work.

Back at the shack I unloaded fruits and greens and canned beans from my overcoat. The rabbit was happy when I pulled out a bottle of Wild Turkey, but then he twitched his whiskers and made a face.

“Ain’t no balloons or candy for my valentines,” he said. “You goin’ out again?”

I thought of former valentines and shivered. “I do Friday the 13th but not Valentine’s Day,” I said. “Don’t want to push my luck too far.”