The Thing About Luck

luckHuman luck is real, and it is a she. I have always known this with my subconscious mind, and now, when I have spent enough time studying it, I have learned to stay inspired with it. Luck shows itself to those who really want to see it, and Alice Hoffman’s words are correct: you don’t know if it is good or bad until you have some perspective.

My heroine Inga in A Soft Spot for Luck believes that–

…luck is a careless moth. It appears all of a sudden, circles around your hand, even touches it jauntily, and flies away, so you can’t catch it. We spend our whole lives chasing and trying to catch our luck, when in fact, all we need to do is just stretch out a hand and let it land there… Moreover, while we chase our moth of luck, we balance on the edge of an abyss, and the name of that abyss is Fate.”

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To those who needs a vivid image of it, Luck looks like a moth. To some it is a myth, a thing to believe in; to others, it is an invisible being – a smart one – which offers us chances to pick from. But finally, luck is always drawn to the feeling that can be developed in us: inspiration of love.

Let me say this again: Luck is real. It is everywhere, inside and around us. We live in it like fish lives in water. Luck is our natural habitat, it is our other air. We simply don’t realize its presence, because we can’t see or touch it.

We tend to forget this at times – like breathing the air. But whenever we walk into a stuffy room, we start worrying about air conditioning, don’t we? The same thing with luck. We start complaining about luck insufficiency or luck failure when we don’t have enough of it. There is no need to follow or chase our luck; we just need to prepare ourselves to live with whatever it offers us.

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Fifty Weeks Pregnant

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(micro fiction, one minute read)

My roommate Lena was so busy dating our group leader last year that she missed almost all of her math classes. The night before the final exam she went to bed without even opening her coursebook.

In the morning, I had to leave early, so I only met Lena in the examination room. What I saw left me speechless: she looked pale, she was sweating and panting, and from under her loose summer dress protruded a huge, round stomach!

The teacher was throwing sympathetic looks at his pregnant student.

Would you like to go first?” He suggested. “You certainly want to leave this room as soon as possible.”

Yes, thank you,” Lena agreed.

All right, then. I have only one task for you,” said the teacher. “Solve it, and you are free to go. Here is the task. How many weeks pregnant is the woman, whose boyfriend came to me exactly six months ago to tell that his twenty-six week pregnant girlfriend was not feeling well and would not attend the fall semester test?”

The Sense of Beauty

(one minute read)

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The pearls were creamy white, with tiny golden spots of reflected light dancing on them with every turn of Carla’s soft, silky neck. They glittered so seductively in the dimmed light of the lamp that Dustin could not drive his eyes away from them. He kept watching the dance of the sparkles, thinking that, apparently, those pearls were also craving to do their passionate dance, but could not because of the tiny white thread running through them, which kept them sitting motionlessly in a perfectly straight, milky line.

No, he could not resist it. Having struggled with temptation for a minute, he gave up. He approached Carla from behind, the tender scent of her perfume reached his nose… ooh, it was fabulous!

He pulled the thread, quite gently. Immediately, hundreds of pearls spurted out in all directions, jumping all over the room, scattering myriads of light splashes, bringing joy and excitement into Dustin’s mischievous mind!

Oh yes, it was worth it! He admired watching the motion of Carla’s shoulders, he enjoyed the dance of pearls in the air. He relished the scene until the last moment, when Carla’s cry cut the air:

“Dustin! You, bloody parrot! What have you done to my necklace?!

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The Space Spud Talk I Overheard This Morning

(micro fiction, 1 min.read)spudnik

“Hey, Pal, how are you?”

“I’m fine, but– funny, I feel kind of– discarded.”

“You are, my friend, you are. Don’t you remember? Those envious Russian cosmonauts grew angry when they saw SpaceX float by and threw us at it!”

“And… what?”

“And missed!”

“But of course. So. This is the open space, right? ”

“Yeah, but don’t panic. We might get a ride in that car.”

“What car?”

“The Tesla, of course! Are you nuts?”

“Ah, I see. A car on the orbit, that’s cool! So, what do we do?”

“We wait till it floats by and jump in.”

“Oh, Lord. Are we safe?”

“Of course we are safe!”

“How can you be so sure?”

“Because on a space road you can’t be run over by a car!”

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Mitya and the Climate Change

(micro fiction, 1 min.read)pest-control2

Minutes after TX-1 turned him into a fly, Mitya was already soaring around the lab like a bird. Flying gave him the sensation of freedom and impunity. He buzzed into the Professor’s ear, tickled his young assistant’s velvety neck, took a bite from her sandwich, pooped on Global Transformations Bulletin, and– felt bored. Now, he was waiting for another experiment to begin, so he could fly through TX-1 beam again and turn back into a humble trainee Mitya Somov.

But strangely, no one was going to start the new test. At a quarter to three, the team was preparing to leave!

Mitya panicked. He landed on the Professor’s nose, but the old man waved him off, mumbling: “That climate change must be real, even flies are up this winter”, and left.

Mitya dashed to the closing door, and there, he finally spotted a note: “No afternoon tests: the lab will be closed. Pest control.”

pest-control

Very Short Prose: A Present

I ran across this photo and could not help writing the story below.

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Ivanka Trump in chinchilla

A Present

He carefully put a large silver box on the table. Its silky red ribbon trembled enticingly.

Must be a fur coat, she thought. Oh, my God, he is awesome!

“Make a guess. What is there?” He asked.

She frowned feigningly and touched the box with her perfectly manicured fingers.

“Something furry?”

He nodded.

“Something delicate?”

“Very!”

His eyes were glowing with fondness.

Must be chinchilla, she thought. Those coats are devilishly expensive!

“You did remember I wanted it, didn’t you?” She said, and pulled the red ribbon.

He nodded again. He waited.

Oh, she was so excited!

“Darling, I’ll marry you! You are wonderful!” She cried out.

The ribbon slipped down, the box opened up.

She recoiled. She stared at the gift. She fell speechless.

Two small furry balls with shiny black eyes were staring at her from the box.

i-chin

End of the World

doomsday

(micro fiction, 1 minute read)

The missiles were approaching. People panicked.

“Dammit,” men whispered.

“Oh, Lord,” women sobbed.

“Get me more funding! Quickly!” Yelled the Minister of Defense.

“Didn’t I warn you?” Shrieked a Nobel laureate.

“Oh, God. Why now?” Cried a middle-aged woman in a wedding dress.

Senators and their secretaries sobbed silently.

Only the President retained his composure.

“It’s over, but I am with you, my friends,” he typed and twitted the message.

For sure, a man like him was not elected for nothing!

All Those Omens On My Way (A Short Story)

(short fiction, 4 min. read)

A couple of days ago I suddenly started getting signs of being in luck. Well, unlike many others, I am not superstitious; I mean, finding a thing like a four leaf clover would hardly make me excited. Still, I could not help noticing signs of good fortune, they poured onto me intensely and bluntly, like a powerful stream that rolls down a hill, smashing obstacles on its way.

It began with a bus ticket, a so-called lucky one. While the bus was carrying me to my destination, a few scenes from my middle school years kept floating in my mind. If the sum of the first three digits on your ticket equals the sum of the last three digits, this ticket will certainly bring you good luck, my school friends used to say. If you get a lucky ticket, you should eat it at once… I was summing up little figures printed on the gray scrap of paper when my bus nearly hit a huge truck, making me forget about that ticket at once, of course.

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I did not take a picture of my lucky ticket, but here is one I found on the Internet as an illustration

Later during the day, a bird pooped on my shoulder – a small bird like a tit or a sparrow – it flew away before I could see it, but the fact remains that it spoiled my blouse! Knowing that all of my friends would blindly believe in the good outcome of such accident, I had a good reason to grin, “What a nonsense! Never heard of a more stupid omen than this!” I ignored that omen, too, because at that very moment I found a long awaited letter in my mailbox: it said that my book had been published!

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This guy does not look quite happy being pooped at! 🙂

Soon, a new “sign of fotrune” arrived as a proof that it was not the end of my journey of luck: I broke my favorite plate by dropping a glass that fell right on it and shattered into small pieces, too. In every Russian home this would be considered a sign of double luck, but, well, not to me. I was growing tired of my little mishaps, so I spit three times over my shoulder and knocked three times on a wooden table – the surest Russian way of keeping lucky till the end of the day.

And then my hand started itching: a sign of an imminent inflow of earnings, welcomed by every Russian, of course! “Not my style, there’s no logic in this,” I thought to myself as I rushed to pick up my buzzing phone: it was a colleague calling to say that our boss had increased my salary by fifty percent! She sounded so excited that I did not recognize her voice at first… another Russian belief, by the way. She screamed into my ear, “You see? This is it! You did not recognize me, and so I am also in luck! I just got a confirmation message about my raise, too!”

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I hang up and returned to the kitchen to feed my cat. He was washing his face, and a casual thought slipped through my mind: this means I am going to have a guest in my home.

No, this was too much for one day! I was fed up with those signs, as I was fed up resisting my “fate”. I did not want any more of this stuff in my life, but my mind still kept pestering me by intrusive guesses:

What if I show a coin to the young Moon, which is this night, by the way? Will I become any richer?

If I hit my elbow on a doorway, will my boyfriend finally dare to tell me he loves me?

Is it true that this pigeon looking through my window is going to bring me a romantic adventure?

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A horseshoe and clover are considered to be signs of good luck, internationally

I felt tired and went to bed early that day. I began to believe that there might be some subtle dependence between all those popular omens and real events… at least, they had been forming for ages! “If you believe in something, it will come true,” our ancestors used to say. Who knows? They could be perfectly right, I thought. The pace of my thoughts slowed down and I slept… and I saw a ring in my dream.

Something made me wake up. As I lay there thinking that the ring, by the way, was also a silly omen promising me a whirlwind romance over the night, the sound of the door bell cut into the quietness of my home.

Oh goodness, I thought, who can it be?

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“He stood in the doorway – my boyfriend – all wet from the showering rain.”

He stood in the doorway – my boyfriend – all wet from the showering rain. A few drops reached my face as I touched the rose he was holding between us. Fresh fragrance of the flower made me wake up from my drowsy oblivion, so I opened my mouth to greet him, but he interrupted me by a passionate kiss.

Then he said, “Please, let me in. I happened to have a terrible day: I broke a large mirror, I stupidly walked under a ladder, then a black cat crossed my way… twice, and a friend started whistling right in my home… so many bad luck signs just in one day that I nearly started to believe in this nonsense!” He took my hands in his and looked right into my eyes. “Darling, let me stay here with you tonight. You are my only good luck charm, and let me be yours. It is so much easier to resist evil omens, when love keeps us both, don’t you think?”

I excitedly clutched the stem and a thorn dug deep into my finger (meaning I would marry the guy who gave me the rose). I gasped, then I shook my head.

“This isn’t even an omen,” I said, looking into his eyes and moving my face closer. “Even before this moment I kind of believed that we are about to marry this year.”

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The Feeling of Being a Published Author

I know, this would not be a big deal to many, but it is to me. My short story, Every Day of Spring, was accepted by One Persons Ttash literary journal and is available now on their website as a featured fiction story .

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a real personal victory to me, because I have been working for years to make this happen. English is not my native language, but it is the one I love very much, so I have always tried to become really good at speaking and writing it. I have published many non-fiction works before, they were in Russian, Ukraiian and English. But writing fiction is different, it requires deeper knowledge of the language and its culture, and so, this publication has come as a confirmation that I am good enough to stand in one line with the natives. So, I am going to have a little celebration today! And tomorrow, I will certainly wake up more confident, and hopefully, more of my published works will soon appear in the western magazines and book stores!

 

 

A Parable: When a Man Lies…

A man was cutting a tree right over the river once, and his axe fell into the water. The man started crying in desperation, when suddenly, the voice of the Lord sounded from above:

Why are you crying, Son?”

How can I not cry?” The man sobbed. “My axe was my only tool which helped me earn my living and feed my family.”

The Lord took out a golden axe from the river and asked: “Is this your axe?”

No,” answered the man.

Then, the Lord produced a silver axe from the river.

“Is this one yours?” He asked.

No, this one is not mine, either,” answered the man.

Finally, the Lord took out an iron axe from the river and asked, “Is this the one?”

The man smiled happily, “Yes, this one is mine!”

You are an honest man,” said the God, “you follow my commandments. So, you may take all three axes as an award for your honesty.”

Since then, the man’s life improved very much. But one day, a terrible thing happened: his wife fell into the river. The man started crying in grief again.

And again, the Lord’s voice sounded from above:

Why are you crying, Son?”

How can I not cry?” The man sobbed. “My wife fell into the river!”

The Lord took out Claudia Shiffer from the river and asked, “Is this your wife?”

Yes! This is my wife!” the man exclaimed happily.

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On hearing this, the Lord grew angry.

You just lied to me! How could you?”

You see,” the man replied, “there is a bit of misapprehension here… If I said this was not my wife, you would take out Cindy Crawford from the water, and again, I would honestly say she was not my wife. Then, you would finally show me my wife and of course, I would say, “yes, this woman is my wife”. But then, you would let me have all three of them, right?”

Sure,” said the God, “so what?”

What do you think I would do with the three of them? How would I be able to support them? I guess, all four of us would become very unhappy.”

THE MORAL OF THE STORY: IF A MAN LIES, HE DOES THIS WITH DIGNITY AND FOR THE COMMON BENEFIT.

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Caitlin M. Smith

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