Unlucky Friday the 13th

In Switzerland and everywhere in the world, Friday the 13th is really just a day like any other day. But when bad things happen on that day the suspicion kicks in and you ask yourself why did that happen. Did you do something stupid? Was it because it was Friday the 13th or would it have happened even if it was Friday the 12th? Whatever the reason you tend to remember the bad things that happen on that day.

Normally, Friday the 13ths just come and go. This particular Friday the 13th we were still living in an apartment in Berne on the 5th floor. I was in  Vevey the whole week at a potting class. On Saturday I was going to come home with all my newly made and fired goblets, plates and pots. Ben had the whole week to study for his university final exams without any distractions. In fact, he had studied very late, until 4 or 5am Friday morning.

He was still asleep when some hammering woke up the dog. She barked which woke Ben up who said, ‘Hush, it’s only hammering, let me sleep.’ A new main door was being put on the front of our apartment building. The house next door was having some renovations done too, so it had been pretty noisy lately. He reprimand the dog and promptly fell back asleep. Then the noise started again, the dog started barking again and this time wouldn’t quit. Ben woke up again and thought, that hammering sounded like it was right in our apartment. He got up, put on his robe and went to our front door to see it pried open. The sliding chain lock was hanging on by one long screw in the doorframe.

The Man on the Other Side

Still in a dazed sleepy state he went to the door, looked at the chain. At that moment a hammer from the other side of the door came thundering down on the chain. It missed his nose by inches. Now if anything will wake someone up that will do it. Ben was wide awake now, no caffeine boost needed. He looked through the cracked, open, but still locked door. A pair of surprised, beady eyes looked back at him. Ben yelled at him at the top of his lungs: “You idiot, what in the world do you think you are doing?” Um, that was the G rated version.

The guy on the other side was surprised that anyone was home. He ran down the 5 flights of stairs and flew out of the house with Ben still yelling at him from the top of the stairs. Yep, Friday the 13th.

That one screw that was hanging on in the doorframe was about the length of a finger. It was the one that Ben had put in to replace a shorter one that came in the package when we bought the sliding chain. It was the one I had smiled about and said, ‘you’re kidding’ when I saw him putting it in. That screw was the one that kept the burglar from getting in.

After the Fact

There was damage done to the door and the doorframe and Ben was out of some sleep, but nothing more. Although our insurance covered burglary they didn’t reimburse us for anything. They said it was just an “attempted” burglary and not a completed burglary. Shortly after that the new Apartment building main door was finished being put in. We bought a new door with a super lock for our apartment, stronger and better than the one before. Our safety was doubled; we were living in Fort McHenry. The police told us that the top floor of a building is a favorite floor for burglars. That’s because they can come and go without being suspected if they are seen going upstairs.

After that happened to us we told all of our friends to be careful. There was a wave of break-ins going on and maybe buy better locks. Two of our friends listened and politely said their apartment was secure. Good for them.

Wouldn’t you know they would be the ones to call two weeks later and ask us what kind of lock we used. Their apartment had been broken into and family heirlooms among other things had been stolen. Now That, had nothing to do with Friday the 13th for sure.

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