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Friday the Thirteenth

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Alexander Waverly was a realist for the most part, not given to the frivolities of superstitions in general; except when it came to the infamous date of Friday the 13th, it was on that day he hung a small donkey's horseshoe over his entryways, in both headquarters and at home...though his wife Estelle always poo-pooed his actions, year after year.

He carried in his tweed jacket pocket a worn rabbit's foot keychain though he would never dare admit to any of his personnel of his buying into the beliefs held about the date, except perhaps his assistant Miss Rogers.

The woman had proven time and again how invaluable to him and had become his sounding board on many topics, including his unwarranted irrationality regarding Friday the 13th.

The doors to his conference room opened and in walked Lisa Rogers with his pot of tea they shared together before tackling the the events of the day.

"Good morning Mr. Waverly," she smiled." Your morning tea...darjeeling; I thought it would be the best choice, given the date."

She'd selected it as it had a nice calming effect on him, this particular brew, and Miss Rogers being a connoisseur of teas always had a sixth sense when a difficult day faced him.

"Thank you my dear, you are most efficient," he smiled as she poured for both of them.

Lisa glanced above the entrance to the conference room, not seeing her bosses traditional good luck charm mounted there.

"Sir your donkey shoe, why isn't it on the wall?"

"Ah, astute of you to notice. I have had a change of heart about that, no more donkey shoe."

"But Mr. Waverly, does that mean you're no longer concerned about Friday the 13th?"

"Perish the thought, that date will forever be etched in my heart."

"You never told my why sir?" Lisa sat down in the chair beside him, sipping her tea.

"Hmmm, yes," he paused to light his pipe; a sign to Rogers that Mr. Waverly was becoming introspective.

"When I was a young lad, I was rather sickly. I was forced to stay indoors and would watch the other children at play. Since my family was well- off my parents gave me all sorts of amusements to keep me occupied. I never forgot that, nor was I ever spoilt by them."

"As I became older I outgrew my illness and was able to join the other children at play, but being rather thin and unaccustomed to play, per se, I became the object of some bullies on Friday the 13th. Terribly upsetting day. The would return to torment me every time the date would reoccur. It was a difficult childhood to say the least but with a little luck I became strong and moved on in life.

"I've never let anyone know that I believed in such a superstitious thing as luck. My agents all have their own quasi-irrational notions, though they think I don't know about them."

Lisa smiled, pouring him another cup of darjeeling." Even Illya...I mean Mr. Kuryakyn has been drawn into being a bit superstitious. He borrowed a four-leaf clover from Mark Slate from what I understand. There seems to be a greater sense of nervousness today around headquarters, and I suppose with T.H.R.U.S.H.'s latest threat at world domination this morning, anyone might have the jitters heading out on assignment today."

"And just for that reason I am suspending operations for today in U.N.C.L.E. Northwest. I want my people going out into the field with the utmost confidence and not worried that their best won't be good enough because of Friday the 13th."

"I'll let the Section heads know immediately sir."

"Yes thank you my dear and for the tea and conversation as well. Now if you don't mind would you get someone from maintenance to hang this above the inside entryway to Del Floria's?

He handed her a full-sized horseshoe, cocking his bushy eyebrows with a wry smile.

"Just because I don't want my people reading into Friday the 13th doesn't make me stop believing in it, "he laughed. "A big shoe for a big job. I realized my little donkey shoe was just not enough...oh and by the way it is a shoe belonging to the great 'Man O' War. So it carries with it a lot of luck."

"Man O' War sir? I'm not familiar with that name." Lisa lifted the tray, ready to remove the tea pot, as well as the empty cups and saucers.

"Ah my dear, he was one of the perhaps the greatest racehorse of all time. His winning brought quite a bit of luck to my father and helped begin the road back recovery to our family fortune after World War I. My father was visiting the States on a business venture and placed a rather fortuitous bet."

"Luck comes in many forms doesn't it Mr. Waverly?" Lisa smiled.

"Indeed it does Miss Rogers, indeed it does. You may send in Mr. Solo if he has managed to show up on time."

"Yes sir, it's our lucky day. He arrived early and is waiting outside."

"See the horseshoe is working already," Alexander Waverly smiled in return.