*** My apologies. This episode of Fractured Fragment FRIDAY is being delivered late on SATURDAY because the writer FORGOT to schedule it’s release in advance. Oh, the humanity!
I have some personal idiosyncrasies, one of which is a fairly frequent sensation while driving that I am about to be in a collision with a red-light runner, and I actually feel the sensation of blunt force head trauma that will be my doom. “Some Kind of Luck” is built around a cab-driver who has allowed his life to be ruled by his premonitions.
Here’s the Blurb
Henry Jacob Dawes is a cab driver with an ear that keeps him out of trouble — until he has a run-in with someone who has a different kind of luck. See if you can believe his – read “Some Kind of Luck.”
“Some Kind of Luck” is a speculative fiction short story.
And Here’s Today’s Excerpt
Early on, Henry Jacob Dawes learned to never ignore that tingling behind his left ear, since that time when he was four and fought with his mother about getting on the escalator. She called him a stubborn child, and she slapped the right side of his head, and then his other ear started stinging, and then that woman tripped and her necklace got caught in the steps. He knew from then on to pay attention to the warnings.
Of course, when he was twelve and it was vibrating so hard it pounded like a jackhammer, he tried to explain to his mother why she shouldn’t go on that cruise with Mr. Carlyle, but she called him a fool.
“Of course your ear hurt – you fell on it when I hit you,” she said.
He didn’t remember his left ear hitting anything, but that didn’t matter to her. And it didn’t matter that he’d told her; she still vanished from the ship on the second night at sea.
Other people might ignore his premonitions, but Henry wasn’t one to take chances. Once he had one, he religiously adhered to it. Four weeks ago, the intersection of 4th Avenue and Market Street had caused him such a violent tremor whenever he drove too close to it that he thought he could see his ear shaking in his rearview mirror. It made his head ache so much that he believed this must be the place where he would die, possibly from some blunt-force trauma to his head. He stopped driving through that intersection; instead, he’d jig around it to reach his destination. Some of his customers would complain (along with his GPS) about his route choices, but he would just say “Safety first!” and leave them to wonder what that meant.
Heeding the greater of his forebodings, and as many of the lesser as he could, Henry had driven throughout the city for White Knight Cab these seven years since high school without any accident or incident. His driving record was better than far more experienced drivers, and he had managed to dodge the predatory riders who afflicted the others of his profession with anything from skipped fares to more forceful robberies, car-jackings, hospitalizations, or worse. Henry had never had to make the choice of whether to be a cooperative victim or a combative one; his ear for these things would tell him to ignore certain hails, and he would drive away to find a more suitable rider.
Henry Jacob Dawes cruised along in his cab at dusk, his day nearly over. It was late December and there was a light glaze of ice on the streets – nothing he couldn’t handle, but with the days being shorter, his shift would finish after sundown for the next few weeks. This always made him a little edgy – he did not like going against that tingle in his left ear, and it would start buzzing if he was out driving after dark. He had arranged his life so that work always ended while the sun was still in the sky, but he couldn’t avoid it this time of year. Well, a man has to eat, after all.
Mrs. Kinkaid’s voice crackled over the radio.
“Time to bring it in, Henry.”
“Sure thing, Mrs. K,” Henry replied. “Another day, another dollar.”
And another day with no trouble, he thought.
He was about to turn his cab around and head back to the garage when he saw a young woman in a bright yellow coat frantically waving him down. She looked to be about his age, and pleasantly cheery – like she didn’t have a care in the world. That was fine with Henry; he didn’t need any trouble. Mind you, he wasn’t one to ignore a damsel in distress, as long as she went her way when it was all over. The kinds of women he wound up with tended to bring their own problems, and he didn’t need any more of that.
He pulled up to the curb, and she opened the door.
“I didn’t think you were ever going to pick me up,” she said.
Her hand gripped the front headrest as she slid in and closed the door, and he saw that she wasn’t wearing a ring.
“Where can I take you to, Miss?” he asked.
“Miss? Oh how sweet! I usually just get a ‘Ma’am’,” she said.
“Well, I could see you don’t have a –”
“Call me Lilly” she said, and her smile widened.
“Okay then. Where can I take you, Lilly?” he asked.
“Oh, nowhere in particular,” Lilly said.
“People usually hail cabs because they want to go somewhere,” Henry said. He was beginning to wonder if this one was a problem after all, even if his ear wasn’t giving him any sort of warning. “That’s what cabs are for, you know. For people who want a ride to somewhere.”
I wonder where Lilly is going to take Henry… “Some Kind of Luck” is a speculative fiction short story, and is available at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
The story is also included in the collection Just Some More, And Yet Still Even More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND:
Smashwords (50%-OFF with coupon code ZH72N – that’s only $2.50 for twenty stories!): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/816158?ref=NoTimeToThink
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William Mangieri’s writing has been published on Daily Science Fiction and The Arcanist. His ninety or so short stories and related collections can be found at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
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