Worlds Apart

Chandler slowly stared up at the sky. The few drops he'd felt on getting out of the car were rapidly turning into a downpour. This had been his luck all night. Ripped off by a scalper for front-row tickets which in reality placed him somewhere in the rafters behind a pillar. Standing through a piss-poor support act, only to be the told the headliners had cried off. Driving all the way back from Hartford, only for his car to break down an hour into the journey. Now it was raining.

A low rumble filled the air and a flash of light gave the slate clouds a murky yellowish tinge. Chandler lowered his head. Could tonight suck any harder? A soft whine told him it could. Flicking his eyes down, he saw a scraggy stray dog at his feet start to cock its leg. Jumping as if stung, Chandler just managed to evade the canine's bodily function. "Crazy mutt! Look," he told it, pointing down the road, "there's Dan Aykroyd in a Santa suit, go pee on him." The dog looked balefully up at him, then scampered away.

"Atta boy!" Chandler muttered. Drenched he may be, but he was damned if he was going to finish up smelling like the public urinals on a Saturday night. He looked at the rest of the traffic. Everyone was just as anxious to get home as he was, there was no way anyone was going to stop to pick up a random stranger. Sighing, Chandler pulled his collar up, stuck his hands in his pockets and started walking into town.

Eventually finding a phonebox, Chandler rang a towtruck company who said they'd send his car onto New York, for a sizeable fee. Jesus, the wreck was costing him a frickin' fortune. If it wasn't tow fees, it was the inevitable repair bills for every minute thing that went wrong with it. He'd had enough. Come the weekend it was going the journey. Maybe he'd get a few bucks from the scrap metal, it was about all it was worth.

Dubiously contemplating the money he had left, Chandler stopped at an ATM, but hesitated as he took his card from his wallet. If tonight ran true to form, he wouldn't be surprised if the machine swallowed it. Shaking his head slightly, he shoved his card in the slot. It was just paranoia, he was entitled to a touch of that. Moments later though, an unexpected beeping sound from the ATM made him stare at the screen in disbelief. What was going on here? This was the kind of luck to give even Dana Scully pause for thought. Chandler briefly thought about giving up and getting a hotel room for the night, but didn't really want to stretch this cursed trip out a minute longer than he had to. Just wanting tonight to be over and done with, he went back to the phonebox and called a cab to make the hour long journey home.

The thunderstorm got worse as the cab neared Manhattan. By the time it reached Chandler's apartment block, forks of light were flashing through the sky almost every second and the thunder sounded like it was actually tearing the sky apart. As it turned out the fare was more than Chandler had - what a surprise! In the first piece of fortune he'd had though, the driver turned out to be a fellow Steelwolf fan and settled for taking his last set of Alexander Hamiltons.

Chandler felt like hell. His was tired, broke and his clothes were soaked through. At least it was all over now though.

It wasn't!

Chandler's scream of pain stuck in his throat when upon touching the handle of the entrance, an errant fork of lightning struck him, flinging him several feet backwards. Lying on the sidewalk, he felt his limbs spasm as every nerve in his body fired. His breathing was ragged and his vision blurry. Eventually, what seemed like hours but was really only minutes later, his breathing settled down and he stopped twitching. The dark sky above continued to pelt water on him as if mocking him for dismissing the power of fate.

Chandler lifted himself up. Typical for the population of New York, no-one had paid any attention to him, most likely assuming him to be drunk. He checked himself over and was surprised he wasn't more injured by the bolt. Probably something to thank the soles of his DMs for. Only the tips of his fingers where he'd touched the handle were slightly singed. He winced as he blew on them. Looked like he wasn't going to be playing anything for a few days, but it could have been worse. A lot worse.

Chandler stiffly got to his feet, blinking a couple of times as he realised his surroundings were still a little out of focus. Looking up at the heavens, he saw the odd flash of light high up, but nothing more. The storm must be passing at last.

Stepping up to the building's entrance, he tentatively grasped the handle, then rushed inside. Moving over to the elevator, his heart fell when he saw the 'out of order' sign. Typical! He almost didn't have the energy to climb the stairs to the third floor, but made it. Chandler let himself slump forward, his head hitting the door to apartment seventeen as he fumbled for his key. Pushing the key in the lock, he twisted it, then frowned as it wouldn't turn.

For God's sake, one little turn, that's all he wanted. He was so close. He twisted the key again, but no joy. In desperation he thumped on the door. Relief flooded through him as the door opened, but relief turned to fear and confusion as he was confronted by a bearded man wearing boxer shorts. "What do you want?" the man asked angrily. "We're trying to sleep here."

"What... do I want? What the hell do you want? This is my apartment," he said, the fear remaining, but the confusion turning to anger. This was the last straw. After everything that had happened tonight, for someone to be robbing his apartment... in their underwear...

Hang on!

"You're drunk!" the man sneered.

Chandler's eyes flicked to the door again. After tonight, he could fully believe himself trying to get into the wrong apartment. It definitely said seventeen though, so this guy definitely shouldn't have been here. "This is my apartment!" Chandler said more forcefully and pushed his way past him. The sight that greeted him wasn't what he expected though. He didn't recognise anything, all of his furniture, all of his things had gone. He turned around. The man was now holding a bat in his hands.

"I'm warning you man. Get out of my apartment or you're gonna be sorry."

"Listen," Chandler said hurriedly, "I don't know what's going on here, but this is my apartment. Goddamnit, I have the key." He started to hold out his key with the number seventeen clearly etched into it, but the man thinking the gesture to be a threat, swung his bat, missing Chandler's head by inches but hitting his forearm, forcing him to drop the key on the floor as he backed away, in pain yet again.

Chandler ducked as the man swung for a second time and scrambled in a crouched posture across the floor, almost diving out of the front door. "And don't come back!" the man shouted at him as he slammed the door shut and locked it once again.

Chandler slowly got up from the floor. He didn't understand this, he didn't understand any of it. What was happening? This had gone way beyond a simple run of bad luck, no matter how prolific. As he stared at the door to the apartment that seemingly wasn't his anymore, he realised there was only one place he could go now.