A Day Off or An Off Day?
They started off small. Nobody went crazy after just one really bad day, after all. Well…okay, maybe some
people did, but those people already had a screw loose in their heads, a wire shorting out or something. The point is, Jesse and Xander wanted to make Rick Stetler’s life miserable for as long as they could, and they had a plan. And that plan called for a slow build up.
It was February 23rd, and it was his first day off in more than a month. He had no plans outside of sleeping in and possibly finishing the book he’d been trying to read since last Easter. Maybe a nice dinner at Raoul’s with the single mother he’d met at the bank last week...
He didn’t really notice it, when his alarm clock went off a little after two in the morning. A semi-controlled flail towards his nightstand managed to pause the hammer and stop the ringing, and a second later he was once again dead to the world. The second time it happened, an hour and seventeen minutes later, Rick woke up enough to grumble as rolled over and slammed his hand down on top of it.
The sigh he let loose when blissful silence once again fell was premature. As soon as he lifted the pressure from the bells atop the clock, the hammer started again, ringing. Again and again and again and again and again. Every time he took his hand away, the alarm started up once more. After ten minutes, the sound of the damned thing hitting the wall and exploding into dozens of pieces was the sweetest thing he’d ever heard.
“What the hell?” he demanded, staring down the mass of were supposed
to be his work shirts.
His suits were all dry-cleaned, but Rick could wash his own button ups, undershirts, and casual wear. He hadn’t always been an IAB agent, after all, and had in fact once been a college student away from home, forced to either do his own laundry or go around smelling. It was no big deal. How hard was it to toss some clothes into the washer with detergent and turn it on, after all?
Well, not as easy as he’s spent the last thirty years thinking it was, apparently. Every single button up that he pulled out of the dryer was ruined. If they weren’t ripped to shreds, they had shrunk down until they’d be too small even for a ten year old. That was quite a feat, seeing as the odds of one or the other happening in the same load but not to the same item of clothing was astronomically low.
Heaving a sigh and making a mental list of clothing stores in the near vicinity, Rick tossed the ruined shirts into the trash and emptied the lint trap for the next load. Which was unfortunately all bright pink.
Anyone would have forgiven him for the foul words he split the air with, he thought.
When he’d gone out to his car early that evening and all the tires were flat- including the spare, tucked safely away under the mat in the trunk- he said fuck it. Literally, jaw clenched and hands fisted so tightly he could feel his nails dig into his palms. Figuratively, he decided he’d take a cab to work in the morning- and have them call him before they headed over, to make sure he was awake, seeing as he no longer had an alarm clock- and change in to the emergency suit he kept at the office. His mechanic could take care of the car, and he could order clothes and a new clock online during his lunch break, and have them delivered before he got home. Things would be fine by tomorrow evening. They would
Ignoring the feeling of foreboding deep in the pit of his stomach, Rick nodded and headed inside for a beer. Or a scotch. Both, he decided. Three fingers of scotch, and the six pack left over from New Year.
Yeah. Yeah, tomorrow would be better.
* * *Author's Notes: Hi, guys! So sorry it's taken so long for this chapter, but real life has been
crazy. We lost a former employee and friend, and then one of our biggest events of the summer tonight. But, I hope you enjoyed this, and I'll have the next chapter up...soon. Before the end of the month, promise!