This week’s Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction Challenge is simply entitled Luck. In honor of Friday the 13th, Chuck said write a 1,000 word story about luck. Any type of luck. I had some trouble with this one. Everything I tried seemed stupid and trite. I finally just went with the unstupidest and untritest of them all, but I’m still not sure it’s all that great. Please to enjoy anyway, though. Maybe it’s better than I think it is.
AN EXAMINATION OF LUCK
“There’s no such thing as luck. It’s all coincidence or design.”
“Do you really think so?” He looked at her sideways as he shuffled the cards. The toothpick in his mouth jiggled moved up and down slightly as he spoke.
“What else could it be? You don’t really think all the things that happen to you happen because you’re randomly lucky?”
“Of course. I am lucky. There’s no other explanation for it.” He put the cards down on the table. “Cut the deck.” She gave him a long-suffering look. “Really, June. Cut it.” She did, taking the top half off the deck, placing it on the table, then putting the bottom half on top of it.
“You’re not lucky,” she said, “but I know you’re a sharp. Do you really expect me to believe you didn’t stack the deck when you shuffled it? I’ve seen you do it.”
He shrugged. “Reshuffle the deck, then. Pick it up and throw it against the wall if you want. Do whatever you need to do to prove to yourself that the deck is completely randomized, then deal us out a hand.”
“I’ll do you one better,” she said, and she picked up the deck and tossed it aside. Cards flew in all directions. She reached into her pocket and pulled out a brand new deck. The seal on the box hadn’t even been broken.
He held his sides and laughed. “You were ready for this, weren’t you?” “It’s been coming for a long time. You’re getting too arrogant, too dependent on your so-called ‘luck’.”
The others had gathered around when he laughed. She looked up at them. Her voice took on a defensive tone. “Don’t look at me like that. Someone has to do it before we all pay the price.”
She cracked the seal on the box of cards and unwound the wrapper. A new deck of cards slid into her hand, slick and shiny in the dim light. She held them up, showing them to him and to the others, then shuffled. She shuffled five times, then cut the deck, then shuffled five more. “That should do it,” she said, and he nodded agreement. She gestured to the watchers.
“Aaron, Della, please sit. The more hands I deal the greater the chance for variety becomes.” The ones she had called moved forward and sat across from each other perpendicular to the first two.
“I’m dealing straight Wocjzeck,” she said. “Six cards. The first two up. No wilds, no combos. It’s the fairest way.”
“Why not go Antimone?” he asked. “The seventh card gives more permutations. Harder for my luck to influence it.”
“It’s not clean,” she said. “Wocjzeck is more pure. I trust it.”
“You think Antimone will be more likely to bring my luck out you mean.” He grinned and the watchers laughed.
“All right, then.” She spat. “Antimone it is.” Seven cards, none up, cube wild.” She glared at him. “Are you happy?”
Spreading his hands, he put on his most ingratiating smile. “Ecstatic.” The others laughed again.
She dealt seven cards face down to each of them until there were twenty-eight cards on the table, then she sat back and looked at him, challenge in her eyes.”
“Now what?” asked Aaron, to her left.
“Now we turn over our cards,” he said, speaking over her first words, “and June gets to see what happens in the real world when you try to remove all opportunity for luck or chance from a random encounter.” She scoffed.
“Seriously,” said Della, to her right, “is it really that important to you? Look how far his luck has brought us. Why challenge it? Why not accept it and use it and ride it as far as we can?”
“Because I don’t believe in luck. I never have.” She pointed at the table. “All of us, turn over our cards on three. One, two…”
“Three,” he said. And he turned over his cards.
He was sitting there, grinning his famous tuft-eating grin as the others gaped at the perfect hand in front of him, when she stood up, leaned forward, and shot him in the throat with the needler implanted in her left index finger. Chaos erupted all around them.
“Look at that,” she said, and it was the last thing he ever heard. “Guess you really were lucky after all.” She began to gather up the cards.