Friday, 17 October 2008


It’s the 17th! Do you know what that means? You should know what that means. If you don’t know what that means, then I insist that you either slap yourself round the head with a sock filled with ketchup, or read on.

The number 17 has long been held in culture to be a number filled with absolutely no mythology. Whereas 7 is thought of as lucky and 8 is beloved by the Chinese, and 13 is known to be either very lucky or very unlucky, 17 doesn’t have anything going for it at all. It appears to be neutral in all respects, without any defining characteristics to make it special or something to be scared of. And this is just what 17 wants you to think.

It was the Italians who first realised the inherent evil that lives inside the number 17. It was a warm summer’s day, and Daedilius was taking a stroll through his atrium, as was his wont as a homeowner. As he passed through the courtyard and admired an urn of the goddess Minerva, he suddenly realised that the date was the 17th June. This fact didn’t strike him as important to begin with, and he walked off down the impeccably straight road to go have his back scraped. It was whilst walking this admirably non-curved road that he saw a rabbit hop along on the grass beside him. Being a Roman, Daedilius’ first instinct was to conquer the rabbit, so he crouched down and picked some grass, which he then offered to the curious little bunny.

The creature sniffed the air and saw that some grass had been picked for it. Now, rabbits are incredibly idiotic, so when it saw this fresh grass waiting there, the rabbit went straight for it, despite the fact that it was currently standing on grass that was at least as good, and that the grass was attached to a large monstrous looking creature stood on an astoundingly direct road. The rabbit didn’t pin any of this to danger, because it was an idiot, and it tucked in heartily to the meal offered it.

That’s when Daedilius grabbed the rabbit by the ears and beat it on the ground twice, killing it on the first blow. Whistling a jaunty tune which in years to come would sounds eerily similar to ‘Black Night’ by Deep Purple, he slung the dead animal over his shoulder and strutted to the Roman Baths. As he lived in Rome, however, these were called simply ‘the Baths’. Entering the building, he paid the entrance fee and headed off towards the locker room. The rabbit went in one locker, and he changed in one of the stalls and left his clothes in a second locker. He was a very clean Roman, after all, and didn’t want to get blood all over his toga because whites are a bitch to get clean. Thus stripped naked, as was custom, he entered the first bath. The cold bath.

Daedilius was not a fan of the cold bath, because he always worried that he might get a heart attack (he had a weak heart, you see) whenever he jumped into the freezing cold water. Why Romans had to jump straight into a bath of cold water before they were allowed into the decent swimming pools was an eternal mystery to Daedilius. He queued up diligently, though, and when his time came he looked over the edge of the floor and into the deep, crystal water. With a deep breath, he jumped. The cold water immdeiatly took over his senses, and he felt like he couldn’t breathe and his chest was constricting. His eyes snapped open underwater and he struggled to get back to the surface, his arms scrabbling to the great light in the roof.

He got out, and shook himself clean. A passer-by grimaced as the water splashed him while he was trying to read the newspaper.

Daedilius made his way through the other pools, before finally he reached final destination; the scraping room. He was quickly made aware, however, of the fact that his regular scraper Cindy wasn’t here today – called off sick or something. Instead he’s have to make do with Julie. The lady in charge called Julie in, and Daedilius looked at her with disgust as she entered. She was a Jew, or something. Too clean to be a Christian, but too dirty to be a functional member of society. She smelled of money-grabbing. To his further dismay, she hobbled and had a crippled hand, in which she held the pointed sickle. That sharp, sharp sickle. Daedilius sighed, and got his naked self onto the table. It was the seventeeth of June, and he was about to have his back scraped by a woman who couldn’t hold the razor-sharp sickle properly.

After he left the baths, having had a surprisingly decent back-scrape, Daedilius walked off home feeling positively jaunty. He did a small dance that in years to come would be known as ‘The Charleston’, and brought home the rabbit for his servants to cook into a pie. Delicious. Daedilius went to bed that night feeling full, clean, and happy about the way his day had panned out.

The End.

PS: You’re probably wondering about why 17 is a evil – I’ll get to that later.


  1. but i want to know now! thankfully i didn't need to slap myself round the head with a sock filled with ketchup because i knew what you mean at the start! Gosh that'd make a disgusting mess!


  2. i use too many exclamation marks...

  3. My birthday's on the 17th... (of April, admittedly, but it's the 17th nonetheless.)