Though my bouts of good luck were balanced by the bad—I actually charted them on a spreadsheet to an error rate of +/- 2%—I still viewed my luck as a curse. It didn’t matter that my favorite bar had put up a plaque declaring “Don Iverson, Luckiest man in Belport,” the luck was still a curse. It was the knowing. Knowing that the other side of Fortune’s Wheel lay in my future.
Sure, a lot could be said of taking the optimistic approach. That for every instance of bad luck, good luck was going to come of it. But I still wished for something more normal. The kind of luck most people had where the outrageous was rare instead of commonplace.
It didn’t matter how careful I was, either. Like last night when I went for Chinese takeout. What was supposed to be an ordinary task nearly cost me my life.
I had the takeout in hand, smelling the goodness of my sesame chicken as I passed an alley when a thick, foil-wrapped brick landed at my feet, distinctly smeared in red liquid. I hadn’t even raised my head up to see the source when I heard “Get him!”
Quick thinking and lots of practice with bad luck had given me razor-sharp reflexes, so I was already moving. I heard the gunfire, but fortunately never felt it. I pumped my arms for as much as I was worth as I drove my feet to take short leaps forward. I was in the rough part of town, so no one paid any attention that I was being followed by half a dozen people. In fact, they made way, not wanting to get involved.
I zigged and zagged, hoping the gang members wouldn’t want to risk hitting bystanders, not because they cared, but because it would make things much messier for them to get away. I lost my grip on my takeout, and it sailed into the air ahead of me before crashing in a mess on the sidewalk.
I hopped over the mess and spotted the open bus door just around the corner, so I swerved for it.
“Hold the door!” I yelled.
And, for a wonder, the driver held the door. I zipped in, swiped my bus pass, and moved into the bus. I heard a curse before the door closed and saw two of the gang slip on my takeout.
Winded, pumped with adrenaline, and hungry, I settled into the back of the bus, shaking.
The man next to me said, “He held the door. Wasn’t that lucky?”
I wanted to punch him.