Fiction Friday

Now actually on Friday (I love Spring Break).

This is a writing prompt from Writer’s Digest. (Hey, if any of you folks know of another place with good writer’s prompts, lemme know in the comments!). It’s called “All in a Day’s Work” (In fact, it’s “All in a Days Work” but I’m still fighting the apostrophe wars. All by myself!): “As a doctor for hire you’ve met a fair share of odd folks. Nothing quite like this though: A man in his mid-thirties stands before you, clutching a wound just given to him by another man sprinting down the street. Now the perpetrator trips and lands on his own knife. Screaming for help and not knowing what the heck just happened—what do you do?”

I had already started to attend to the first man when the second one fell on his knife. I ordered the first man to sit down and a sensible-looking bystander to apply pressure. As I ran to the second man whose injuries were more serious, I yelled to a woman standing there, with her phone in hand to dial 911. I tripped over nothing in the sidewalk. The woman dropped her phone into a storm grate. A car driving by was fine until it got within ten feet of us, when it veered as if pulled into the fire hydrant, which started leaking, even though the car wasn’t going more than fifteen miles an hour, if that. Someone walking a dog down the sidewalk and somehow managed to trip herself and the dog with the leash, even though it was only a foot long. Somehow, the very small dog landed on top of the pile.

“Everyone freeze.” People did, as best they could. “I think we’re being affected by a localized ‘bad luck’ effect.”

“That’s ridiculous!” The woman with the who lost her cell phone bent down to look for it and unbalanced, tumbling forward and conking her head on the grate. “I take it back,” she said in a strangled tone. “When someone gets a moment, can they unhook my coat button from the grate?”

“Can anyone see anything that might be causing this?”

People looked as best they could. The woman with the dog was getting a really good view of a wagging tail, so she wasn’t much help. There was a chorus of nopes. I looked back to where I’d been tripped and there was a sort of blur. Either I was getting a migraine for the first time in my life, or that’s where the problem was. Moving my head didn’t make anything clearer, but it did confirm that there was something there.

“I can see you,” I said.

It moved and I tracked it. “Damn.” The air shimmered and a short man with a red beard glared at me. “What gave me away?”

“Are you kidding?” I nodded at the man I was attending. “He falls on his own knife? She drops her cell phone? The lady with the dog?”

“I didn’t actually do the dog thing. I think the mutt and her owner are just clumsy.”

“There might some truth to that,” the dog owner muttered.

“How do we resolve this?”

“Well, you caught me. Usually that’s a pot of gold.”

“Really? Seems like an odd choice. Heavy, have to convert it to spendable money, IRS audits…”

“I’ve been saying that for centuries. It’s a pain in the…leiderhosen to carry around, for sure. What do ya want instead?”

“How about you fix all of this?”

“That’s no fun at all.” The man pouted.

I calculated. “Fix the two knife wounds. Leave everything else. But no more mischief for the rest of the year.”

“One day.”

“Six months?”

“A week.”

“Two months.” I reached into my the pocket of my scrubs. “And a candy bar.”

“Deal.” The man snapped his fingers and disappeared, as did the two knife wounds.

I unhooked the coat button of the woman who lost her cell phone first and then we helped the two gentlemen untangle the other woman and her dog.

“Couldn’t have gotten my cell phone back?”

“Don’t you have insurance?”

“I’m not putting leprechaun on the form.” She crossed her arms.

“How about bad luck?”

She considered it. “Fair enough.”

“And true.”




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