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|Fortune Laughs (standard:horror, 2241 words)|
|Author: Otzchiim||Added: Sep 21 2000||Views/Reads: 2770/7670||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Maybe it was too much of a good thing.|
FORTUNE LAUGHS I don't like things like that. Today it's having the only parking place in the lot open up just as I get there. Yesterday it was having somebody cancel their dental appointment just when I needed to go. (Well, that's mixed luck.) Monday it was having the book I was looking for sent to the bookstore by mistake. I don't like things like that. I keep expecting the other shoe to drop and have some bad luck come along to balance it out. Yes, I know it sounds superstitious. I am, about things like that. It may sound silly, but... Look, I'll tell you a story. Maybe you can see why I feel that way. I met Howard Waggoner back when we were in high school. He didn't study much, but he remembered the details that they put on tests. You might say that that is just good judgement about what's important, or at least what the teachers thought was important. Well, maybe. But he also had a knack for meeting someone he wanted to talk to just as they were leaving. I don't mean phoning them as they are heading for the door; that's often a nuisance. I mean being there as they walk out. He did it to me a couple of times. And the first summer job he got came from walking in two minutes after the previous person gave notice. When Howard got into business, he worked in real estate. He managed there to have somebody walk in to buy a house within a day of the time it came on the market, and he did it regularly. They say that knowing people and knowing how to put things is a lot of that, but that won't entirely explain it. Howard just seemed to know how things were going to break and was there when they did. And it kind of built on itself. He got a word-of-mouth reputation for a fast turnover of property, especially after he set up his own agency. He was twenty-three when he did that, and maybe he knew that he was very young to be in business for himself, because he took in took in Walter Stern as partner. Stern was ten years older, not as good at selling, but fairly good. He had more of an instinct for finding good properties, where Howard had just had people walk in with them. Stern also brought in the office staff, all people he had known for years. Howard was also twenty-three when he met Joan Scott. He met her when he was going to see a client of his in the hospital. The man he was going to see was a retired widower who was trying to unload the house he had lived in for many years, which he had now left for a little apartment. Howard went to tell him in the cardiac ward that a buyer had been found. Joan was also in the cardiac ward, though she was twenty-two. She had been in an auto accident, and she barely lived through it. One piece of metal had entered her chest and grazed her heart. The injury mostly healed fast, but the heart muscle itself had been damaged and she would have to go easy for a year or so. Howard spoke to her there, and while he nominally came back a couple of times to see his customer, he spent much more time with Joan Scott. When she was discharged, they began dating, and her affairs of the heart quickly became more metaphorical than medical. For reasons that I could not understand, Joan's mother disliked Howard intensely. It may be because Joan was an only child, and with her father some years dead, Joan was now the only living close relative that her mother had. She may have felt threatened by a man who could take Joan away. Joan and Howard were married only six months later. I remember that at the reception Howard Waggoner made the comment that Joan was the luckiest thing that had ever happened to him. Joan's mother refused to come to the wedding. Howard had never travelled, never taken a real vacation at any time in his life. Joan had never been on a long trip either, but she was Click here to read the rest of this story (167 more lines)
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