‘Could the day get any worse?’ For some obscure reason, the thought flashed through my mind as I awoke sweating from my usual nightmare – faceless people and, well never mind.
I looked at my bedside clock, it had stopped. I stumbled out of bed, grabbed up my watch and… Oh great, I’d overslept. Unless I hurried I was going to be late for my afternoon shift which started at 1 pm. It was already 11.40 and I knew that it would take best part of an hour to get to the warehouse on the other side of town, even if the traffic-light god was on my side today, which he never was.
Last night I had shut the window against the November chill and now a concerto for sledge hammers was reaching a crescendo behind my eyes. The boiler was playing up again so my dribble of a shower was cold. My towel was still damp from yesterday and I had to forage for a pair of used socks in the already over-flowing wash basket.
12.05. I staggered downstairs into the kitchen, stuffed two slices into the toaster and promptly blew the fuse, so no breakfast then; just a swig of cold coffee from last night’s pot. It was rough, but better than nothing - well maybe. My kids had left the TV on some sales channel - may God help my credit card; and I was sure my wife had hidden my car keys – so typical on a day when I’m running late. They were of course still in my jacket pocket, but I didn’t think to look there until I was hopping around the hall, trying to put on shoes with the laces still done up, mimicking a highland fling to miss the neat pile of cat sick by the front door.
12.14. Just as I pulled the door shut, after fighting to get the mat out from under it where it had jammed during my shoe dance, I heard the phone ringing. Decision time – do I or don’t I? Oh hell. I fumbled with the key and pushed the door open, stepped in the cat sick, slipped, swore and with the help of my whirling arms, the telephone handset hit the floor just as the recorded message finished. It was my boss; he wanted me in half an hour earlier, something to do with road closures.
12.17. At last I slumped down into my car, turned the key and … nothing. I tried again and very reluctantly the tired engine churned and coughed, churned again, then fired into it’s version of life. Park brake off and I eased out into the traffic narrowly missing a forty ton dump-truck and three police cars.
12. 20. The traffic heading downtown was abnormally heavy and frustratingly slow. Then I saw the diversion signs; all traffic was being guided away from the centre of down-town Dallas.
12.30. President Kennedy’s limousine entered Dealy Plaza and slowly approached the Texas School Book Depository.