literature

And Then It Happens

Deviation Actions

johnhmaloney's avatar
By johnhmaloney

Literature Text

Now follow me on this. You receive a promotion in a job you can honestly say you live for. Then, you meet the man/woman/person/barnyard animal/inanimate object of your dreams and not only is the feeling/biological reaction mutual, but he/she/they/it is available and completely and utterly devoid of any and all psychological baggage. Next, a distant relative whom you've only met once for a few hours, but honestly grew to righteously hate in that short period of time, dies and for some inexplicable reason leaves you their fully stocked and staffed two-hundred room mansion in the mountains, or on the beach, or in the woods ... wherever you would most prefer, the car of your dreams (fill in make, model, year, and options of your choice), and has prepaid all utilities, insurance and repair costs on both for the next century. In addition to all of this, your pet dog/cat/pig/reptile/arachnid/etc. who ran away five years ago returns home after apparently passing obedience school with flying colors and finally, due to a radical change in the criteria, you're now eligible to be nominated for a Nobel Prize in the field of being a wonderful human being. All in all an amazing run of luck. And then it happens...

It goes by many names (fate, kismet, bad karma, the bitch goddess lady luck, the rest of your life) and you've just contracted a very possibly fatal case of it. Sure, it starts simply enough ... an abnormally large clump of hair in the shower drain, a few previously unnoticed dings in your new car, a positive test result ... but then it mutates, at a speed thought only to be theoretically possible, into a creature that would make Lovecraft have to sleep with the lights on. Suddenly, life as you know it sucks. Your boss finds out about the seventy-five hundred grand that you embezzled from the company. Little does he/she/they/it know that your account number differs by only two digits from the guy who has the office down the hall or that there is such a thing as computer error. Then, your significant other finds an undergarment belonging to the opposite sex under your bed. Of course, you forgot to tell him/her/them/it that you make two thousand dollars a weekend performing in a drag show two towns over. Next, your pet, in an attempt to prove that he/she/it did not in fact attend obedience school, bites you in a not so insensitive area. Of course, he/she/it has rabies. If that wasn't enough, you receive your last paycheck as well as notification that insurance company has dropped you on the very day that you realize, the hard way, that your house in the mountains, or on the beach, or in the woods, etc., is on a fault line and that the whole "stand in a doorway" thing is an unfounded myth. At least your car/new home is still in one piece, unfortunately you fail to see the No Parking sign and it's towed away and impounded two days after the earthquake. And finally, when you're absolutely convinced that it can't get any worse, the Nobel Prize for which you were nominated goes, once again, to one of those damn missionaries.

You're on your way to the free clinic to receive your first shot when you find an untouched lottery ticket on the sidewalk. You pick it up, check the date and realize that it's still valid. You promptly scratch off the gummy silver stuff in the appropriate areas and find out that you've won three and a half million dollars. Well it's about BLEEEEEP time. You now have enough to return to living in the manner that you didn't have quite enough time to become accustomed. You pocket the ticket and decide to cash it in on your way home (relatively speaking). Arriving at the clinic, you find your former boss waiting for his/her/their/its weekly treatment. He/She/They/It approach(es) you and explain(s) that the bank found the computer error and that you have been exonerated of all charges. He/She/They/It then offer(s) to rehire you, at a sizable increase in salary, if you agree to forget about the whole unfortunate incident and not sue the company. You briefly debate whether or not you should tell him/her/them/it what he/she/they/it can do with his/her/their/it's offer but then decide that discretion is the better part of valor and accept. You take a seat in the waiting area and try to think about anything other than needles. It doesn't work. While waiting, and hyperventilating, you hear on the radio that, due to a calculation error, the damn missionary did not, in fact, win the Nobel Prize ... you did. Finally, your name is called and you proceed to the examination room. You enter the room to find that the nurse administering the shot is the most gorgeous man/woman/etc. that you have ever seen in your life. He/She/They/It inform(s) you that, due to a very recent advance in medical science, the shot are now unnecessary and hands you a bottle of pills. He/She/They/It then tells you that your test results from three weeks ago were accidentally switched with those of another patient and congratulates you on testing negative. You ask the nurse to dinner to celebrate the good news and he/she/they/it accept(s). You leave the examination room, proceed down the hallway and just as you are about to open the door and exit the building a man approaches you and congratulates you for being the free clinics ten thousandth patient. He then presents you with a certificate for a free lifetime supply of hair re-growth treatment solution. You thank him, take your prize, and leave the building. Outside, a boy holding a box of puppies/kittens/lizards/baby pigs/arachnids etc. asks you if you would like one. You decline, but the boy won't take no for an answer. He tells you that they are free and implores you to give one of them a good home because he can not. Realizing it is a no-win situation you take one and proceed down the sidewalk. Moments later, your new pet leaps out of your arms and dashes across the intersection ahead. You rush after him/her/it, but unfortunately you fail to see the eighteen wheeler speeding toward you. And then it happens again, for the last time.
An update to a story that I wrote over twenty years ago as an experiment in second person present tense. I think it holds up pretty well. Aside from adding gender-neutral pronouns and changing the ending so your pet doesn't die, I only had to make a few very slight edits. 
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© 2018 - 2021 johnhmaloney
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