Ste was already having a shit day by the time he rushed out of the flat. He’d been distracted by charity people knocking at his door and when he got back to his breakie the Weetabix had disappeared, replaced with a brown-milky mush. It looked like when his cat, god rest her, used to puke on the carpet… he sighed, “time to leave”. Ste slammed the door behind him and had his usual 5 minutes wrestle to get it locked, no matter what he said or how many times he got locked out, the landlord wouldn’t replace it. This morning’s key jiggling was made even better by the torrential rain. His mind was occupied for the whole of the 20-minute walk to the train station, why the fuck were charity people knocking on his door at half seven in the morning? Gotta be a scam, trying to get ‘ald women and idiots to pay up… sly fuckers! By the time he was on the platform of the train station Ste had noticed a drip running down his back. To be fair his “pri-marni” waterproof was holding up, not bad for £4.50. but there was nothing it could do about the cold, wet streak running from his neck to his arse. The building works at the station seemed to have been going on for years now, and typically there was no place to sit out of the rain. Ste got sick of the water running down his back and the ice-cold rain on his face giving him a headache. He huddled next to some building supplies that, unlike the commuters, had been pretty well looked after with the addition of a tarpaulin strung from the various signs and lighting around the platform. The train pulled into the station and the double doors right in front of Ste shuddered as they tried to open, there was a hiss, a click and then one of the doors dropped at an odd angle. Ste stopped at the edge of the tarpaulin as it was clear these doors were not going to move any further. He looked up and down the train and decided on the next best set of doors based on a ‘Distance:Number of Commuters’ ratio he wanted to be kept out of the rain but also away from as many people as possible. A huge gust of wind blew Ste forward a step, it flicked the tarpaulin violently, funnelling a torrent of water onto Ste’s head and shoulders. “FUCK!” He cursed loudly as the rush of cold water forced his neck and shoulders to meet rapidly. The commuters on the platform and the train all stared for a moment before quickly pretending they hadn’t noticed. Soaked to the bone Ste now had a decision to make; does he scrounge clothes from the staff room and work a soggy miserable shift or just give up and go home? Giving up would mean losing a precious shift on his zero hours contract, he was absolutely skint and really needed the money. But giving up also meant he’d be on the shit list and could forget about any more offers of work for the next few weeks. The need to eat and pay rent won this time and he squelched his way onto the train, taking little puddles of water in each shoe. The 5 foot 8 inch drowned rat stood for the whole train journey, not wanting any more of his clothes to stick to him. The heaters prevented him shivering but did nothing to stop him leaking rain water, leaving behind a small pool as he got off at his stop.

Trudging through the city centre, getting rained on but not getting any wetter, Ste arrived at the discount sports store where he worked. He was greeted at the staff entrance by a man who’s only remarkable feature was a scruffy little moustache that made you fearful of ever being alone with him in a room. Gregg, or Greggory as he liked to be called, was assistant manager and had been for seven years now. In all that time he was only known for two things; the ‘tash, which rumour said he had carefully styled on a 1970s serial killer, and constantly corrected people on his name by say “please”. He glanced at Ste and looked back down at his clipboard as if not to notice the small river streaming down from the man in front of him. A hand shot out as Ste tried to walk past.

“Stephen?” Gregg asked in his stupid pedantic tone, emphasising the ph. Ste twitched, he name wasn’t Stephen with a ph, he didn’t know where his birth certificate was right now but he was pretty sure it just said Steve on it. He had to hit back.

“yer Gregg?” he replied deliberately, enjoying the knowledge that he was being annoying.

Gregg frowned back, “Greggory, please.” He looked back at is clipboard “yes Stephen, I don’t have you down for a shift today” he looked back at Ste “or this week, for that matter. And I know you’re not coming in for the 10am shift because its 10:08 am”. The train had been delayed while they jammed the doors together and kept them shut. Fuck, Ste thought to himself, should have just stayed in bed today, I would have got more done. He knew there was no point arguing with Greggory, the shift will have gone to someone else already and his ‘contract’ might as well have been written on a napkin, all it said was that he got paid minimum wage for whatever hours the company couldn’t find a reason to take off him.

Ste got the train home, it was time to get out of these wet clothes and have a better day. He swung into the shop at the top of his road, deciding to treat himself and get some chocolate and can of coke. Yes, a lot of people would have something stronger if their day was going this badly but Ste doesn’t drink that much and definitely not before 2pm. Walking round the shop Ste couldn’t get out of his head the thought that nobody should had this much bad luck in one morning. There had to be some offset, something to balance out the chi, or karma or whatever it was them yoga and quinoa loving hippies chanted about. They always looked really happy so there must be something to it. The best way Ste could think to test this theory was the lottery, he picked out his numbers and passed the ticket to the guy behind the counter. As it was put through the machine Ste rummaged around to pay for his ‘shit-day’ treat. Pulling coins from his wallet and two different pockets he just about made the £3.60 without having to break into his solitary tenner. While waiting for the cashier to return Ste fished around in a third pocket knowing he had a bit more cash, he found a few extra coins and stuffed them into his wallet alongside all the receipts and loyalty cards he didn’t use and now the new lottery ticket. Set with treats and an experiment to entertain him a little, Ste wanted to get home and get changed.

Another 5-minute wrestle with the front door, his right shoulder delivering the winning blow to allow him entry into his flat. Getting excited for a fresh, warm set of clothes he threw the useless keys on the sideboard with his wallet and the treats he had bought. With a huge grin on his face Ste headed straight to the bedroom where he found his girlfriend’s tits cradled in the hands of some complete stranger. The rest of his girlfriend was there as well, naked as the day she was born, but as Ste’s grin disappeared as he couldn’t stop focussing on her tits and how someone else was attached to them. It took the pair of lovers a few moments to even notice the third person in the room. Cindy’s eyes widened as she finally noticed and the stranger followed her gaze to Ste, they all just stared, nobody moved, the Stranger’s hands still grasping Cindy’s tits. The spell finally broke and Cindy shrugged off the stranger’s hands, grabbing a blouse from the floor and covering part of her chest. The stranger got up and grabbed his pants, clearly he didn’t have a clue what was going on but knew enough to want to leave. As he gathered up his clothes Ste couldn’t help but think, is that bigger than mine? He quickly put that aside, he could only cope with so much at once.

“It’s not what it looks like Steve.” Cindy said weakly, knowing it was a stupid thing to say as it left her mouth.

Ste raised an eyebrow quizzically, something he could do very well after years as a kid standing in the mirror pretending to be The Rock. He was struggling to find the words, some kind of protest or hurtful comment, but his head was a mess of racing words and thoughts all crashing into each other, preventing any speech. His floundering was cut short by the Stranger who, having gathered his clothes, was attempting to leave the room in a crouched walk as if being shorter would help him get out of this situation unnoticed. As he moved passed Ste and through the narrow doorway his sweat sheened skin bumped Ste’s sodden clothes.

“Sorry” the stranger mumbled quietly as he passed, which caused some confusion with Ste and interrupted his racing thoughts. He couldn’t tell if the stranger was apologising for bumping into him or for sleeping with his girlfriend.

“aren’t you gunna say something?” Cindy said, clearly panicked. The absence of any anger and yelling from Ste was more unnerving as it was so unexpected. She couldn’t tell that Ste wanted to shout and scream but didn’t have the words.

Now he knew she wanted a response, he decided to keep quiet. His mind had collected its first words, Fuck you, but he gave no voice to this thought. With his mind now making sense and giving him ideas, Ste walked to the largest window that looked out onto the street and opened it as wide as he could. Turning back, he grabbed the closest pile of Cindy’s clothes that were strewn across the floor, carried them to the open window and threw them into the street. Cindy screamed, snatching some clothes from Ste’s second trip to the window she quickly covered herself.

“Stop it!” she screamed, “what the fuck are you doin? You’re mental, pack it in!” Cindy grabbed at his arms to stop him but he shrugged her off. Ste barely registered her shouts, he felt like he was in a rage fuelled trance and bin bagging her would help him feel better. He’d never heard of a lad getting rid of their partner this way, bit too much of a spectacle for most guys, but it seemed the quickest way to be rid of her, that was his logic.

After a few minutes, he ran out of clothes and got fed up of throwing stuff. Cindy was sobbing on the bed, clutching a few items she had rescued. Ste, still walking round in a semi-trance, got changed into dry clothes, finally. Not being wet made him feel more human and he looked at Cindy for the first time since The stranger had grabbed his clothes. “You need to be gone by the time I get back” he demanded in a soft, quiet voice. Ste left the flat, no bothering to wrestle with the door once again, he knew Cindy would be using it. He turned away from the pile of Cindy’s clothes and walked. He wasn’t sure how long he had been walking for but he had gone a fair way and the sun had set, not feeling any better he decided it was time for a pint. Walking into the rose & crown he found the quietest corner and broke into the tenner he had been trying to save. Two pints later and he was a little tipsy, as well as not being a big drinker he’d not eaten today. He decided that had been enough time to get her shit out of his flat, Ste stood up and wobbled a little as he scooped his change off the table, stuffing it into his wallet. He stopped at the door so he could give way to a couple coming in. They looked happy and had their arms wrapped around each other with big smiles on their faces. Ste shivered with the sight and was filled with anger and bitterness, he stormed out of the pub and turned for home, wanting to get away from everyone.

“Where you off to in such a hurry, darlin?” came a female voice from the corner of the pub. It was so unexpected it made Ste jump and stopped him in his tracks. He saw the woman step forward but a combination of the darkness and those beers made him struggle to see any detail properly, she looked middle aged-ish and seemed pretty. The short skirt, high boots, low cut top and umbrella made it obvious she wasn’t on her way to any particular destination. The pub corner must have been the perfect place to meet the type of guys she wanted. Ste’s mind was slow to put this detail together and so he hadn’t answered her question and she wasn’t going to give up easily, after all it had been a slow night. “You don’t look too happy babe, want me to help you out with that?” Usually this kind of proposition was quickly brushed off, it wasn’t his sort of thing, but he was having such a shit day, maybe a change was exactly what he needed. Despite the direct question and clear proposition Ste still was unsure how this worked, how he went about getting ‘a happy ending’.

He decided to be a bit coy and answer her question with a question, “how could you make me happy?” He cringed as soon as he said it, it definitely sounded better in his head which is exactly where is should have stayed.

She slid up to him and put her arm on his back, her fingers moved up his spine gently and stopped at his neck “It’s easy, you just come with me” she whispered into his ear. Ste was suspicious and looked around for anybody else, but it was dead quiet, there was nobody about and no other noise. She gently guided him to the alley around the back of the pub and whispered again “so what do you want darling?” Ste was worlds away now, wondering how his day had ended up here and replaying the day’s events in his head. How could it have been any different, what could he have done to change it? Whilst day dreaming he had missed everything the woman has said. Ste suddenly noticed she had moved away from his ear and was staring directly at him “Well darlin? Is that what you want?” she asked, her patients wearing thin in the cold and the wet.

Ste hurriedly replied “yer, sounds great, thanks.” No knowing what he had agreed to, he decided the best option was to just go with it, see what happened and try to make the best of it. She smiled, happy that she was about to get paid. She sidled in front of him and planted a soft kiss on his lips as her hands found his belt and expertly flicked it open in seconds. Jesus Ste thought, I can’t open it that fast and it’s my belt. Suddenly his button was undone and his fly unzipped, She pulled his pants down just past his groin and pushed him quite forcefully back onto a small bin shed. Reaching down the hooker grabbed his cock, the cold of her fingers making Ste jolt. Squeezing till her knuckles were white, she went to work. She knew her craft well making quiet moaning noises as if she was enjoying it, Ste completely forgot all his troubles as his body twitched involuntarily and he made moaning noises of his own. A few minutes later and she was done, Ste sagged and began to fumble with his pants as she cleaned her hand off with expert speed. Ste had only just managed to get his shaking legs to stand up so he could button his pants when an empty palm was presented in front of him. Shit! Ste thought, he had no idea how much he had agreed to. He asked her sheepishly “how much was it again?”

“£15 babe” she said bluntly, her soft and seductive whispers now vanished.

“oh, ok” Ste felt sick and started to fumble with his wallet hoping that there was magically more than a couple of quid and a load of receipts in there. The hooker got agitated very quickly, she huffed loudly and tapped her foot.

“Have you got it or what?” She demanded.

“I’ve got…” Ste trailed off as he counted in his head, “£6.45?”

“You best be fucking jokin?” The hooker replied, her accent harsh as she moved angrily forwards. Ste sobered up quickly and now saw how much make up she was wearing. Middle aged and pretty was a hell of a compliment for her.

Ste couldn’t meet her stern gaze and stared intently at his hands as they clutched his wallet, he began to apologise “I’m sorr…” His explanation was cut short by the fist that connected with the side of his head, sending Ste sprawling across the alley. He hadn’t had time to recover before a stilettoed shoe was swung towards him connecting with his already sensitive crotch. Perfect aim, she had caught a piece of both balls driving them directly up into his guts. Ste bent double on the floor and immediately puked up both pints.

“Urgh, fuck that’s gross!” the hooker spat as she stepped away from Ste. Having enough of this pathetic guy, the hooker looked to end the beating. Her Stiletto flew again and landed on the side of Ste’s head, knocking him out cold.

Ste woke to an empty alley, no angry hooker, just him. He got up and took stock of the mess that he was, puke on his arm, blood on his face, a remnant of the hooker’s ‘handy work’ down his pants and no sign of his wallet. He stumbled back to the street corner but there was no sign of his mugger. Two guys with pints stood outside the pub smoking and chatting. noticing that Ste was dazed and in pain they put two and two together. “Unlucky mate” one of them shouted at him as they both burst out laughing.

Now totally dejected Ste walked back to his flat to block out the world and get himself cleaned up. Ste’s mind was blank for the entire walk home, his head ached from equal parts over thinking the day’s events and the tiny but deadly shoes of the hooker. Another 5-minute wrestle with the door and he had sanctuary, a great wave of relief washed over him knowing that nothing else could happen today. Cindy and her belongings were all gone, cleansing the flat of her presence, Ste decided to cleanse himself of the day and get a shower. Out of habit he put the news on as he got out of the shower, steam filling the small living room. He stood in front of the telly as he dried his hair with a towel, he felt like a bad person for hoping there was someone else having a worse day than he was.

The newsreader concluded the news “…and now for tonight’s lottery results” Ste perked up a little, he had forgotten about his experiment and the smile that started to cross his face made him wince as his head throbbed. Surely the bad luck he had suffered since buying the ticket made him a sure thing, he had to win. Ste looked across the results on screen one number at a time. The first number on the screen was his flat number, the second was his Mum’s birthday and the third was his dead cat’s birthday. Ste began to get excited, three numbers meant he won something he was sure, nothing big but it was something. The fourth came up, it was Cindy’s birthday, bitch he thought. Ste closed his eyes and took a deep breath, his lucky number should have been next, and sure enough as he opened his eyes there it was right where it needed to be. He slowly made sure they were all right and he wasn’t getting it wrong before he checked the bonus balls for his and his dad’s birthdays. There they were, on screen, he’d matched all the numbers! It had worked, chi or karma or whatever it was had balanced out the crappy day he had suffered through. It would all be worth it to have the jackpot. Fuck everyone; fuck the commuters, fuck Gregg, fuck Cindy and definitely fuck that fucking hooker. A thought surfaced, check the ticket, make sure you filled it in correctly, panic washed over Ste as he scrambled to the sideboard where his can of coke and chocolate still sat. There was no ticket! That can’t be right, where was it? Ste started a mad search around the hallway to see if it had dropped on the floor or been moved, it was nowhere. All of a sudden, he stopped, mid search, as he realised where it was. His hands re-enacted the motions as he remembered the sight of the ticket going into his hand with the few extra coins he found, all of it being stuffed into his wallet with the receipts and loyalty cards. He walked in disbelief back into the living room with the towel still sitting on the top of his head, he slumped onto the couch. Pulling the towel down over his eyes he remembered the guys from outside the pub,“unlucky mate”. Tears began to run down Ste’s face.