When Chet regained consciousness he had no idea of the time. They had taken his watch. They had taken everything, even the emergency fifty he kept beneath his insole. His mouth was swollen and it felt like they’d broken some ribs. He raised his head and looked around at the alley. A short cut had sounded like a good idea at the time, but he knew better now.
He realized with a shock that it had happened again, another seemingly random event in which he had been badly hurt. What was this now, three times? Four? In each case, it had been the same– he set out to some destination, but midway through he would be possessed with an idea so compelling he had to act on it immediately. Step in front of the bus, Chet. It will stop. Go ahead, jump. You’ll make it. And this time. Think of all the time you’ll save by getting off the train here, Chet.
“I’d had every right to call the cops on that woman,” Chet grumbled. After all, she’d been begging in the doorway of his shop, talking to his customers. The cops had agreed, so he’d laughed while she’d cursed him and not even minded when her spit had landed on his shoes.
He had to find her immediately. He had to get her to lift the curse.
It was clear the fastest way would be to climb up that fire escape.