Dumb Luck

Charlie feels unaccomplished, after all, he is 32 years old, and barely situated in his first apartment, but the upside, $750.00 per month. Speaking of upside, he is his parent’s upside, now they can travel more. Charlie has traveled a lot, mostly without compass, through doors that open then shut, each new door leading to different hues of failure. Charlie is good at blaming everyone else for his situation, even tea leaf reader Tiffany, who texted their break-up, can you believe it’s been two years?

In his confession booth shower, Charlie mouths, Luck has never been a lady to me.

Later that evening, in a spark of empowerment Charlie triggers his Xfinity remote, turns off his Animal Planet series, I Was Prey. Then like one of the shows killer mountain lions, he pounces then kills his badger shaped backpack. With the feral game over his shoulder, he heads out the door.
***
Tomorrow is Saturday. Charlie is meeting Natasha from Tinder at ten. If all goes well, they’ll exchange contacts. But first, he needs cash from the pockets of his big-boy pants at the Levi

Bank ATM. This is where he deposited his first pay check from his new employer over at The Verizon Call Center, just seven blocks from his emancipation digs. Charlie barely clears $1,800.00 per month, but to him, he’s a #boss.

***

William and Jonathon beat Charlie to his ATM. The two are servicing it, utilizing all the high tech pilfering finesse money can’t buy, to extract funds from the R2 D2 vault. Jonathon is the brain, William the muscle. William epitomizes Sigmund Freud’s Id, a certifiable knuckle dragger, but great at following orders.

As Jon applies his electronic movie-magic, William has his back, his sweaty testosterone infused finger cocked, loaded, craving the trigger. His orders this foggy cold night, to put a .40 caliber slug through the temple of anyone who turns eternities dark corner. William blows smoke rings of acrid breath, then silently mouths, “fuck luck, never been a friend of mine.”

***

As Charlie approaches, he hears ghost like electronic squeaks and chirps, the signature work of two-bit thugs. Charlie readies his shiny new debit card. The near silence reminds him of his loop of doors. His thoughts swirl black, twisted shiny ribbons of out of control, until he is lost again, in circles of doors.

Twenty feet to the corner.

William foxes his ears toward the footfalls of deadpans’ approach. Jon unhooks his stolen Radio Shack E-kit, begins sacking money. William bites his tongue, fashions a hard-on, and points at the darkness.

Ten feet away.

Jon says let’s…

Three feet from eternity.

Charlie’s pocket vibrates him dead in his tracks, he questions himself, Damn––is she canceling? He frantically thumbs his iPhone for his message of dread, and stares at the Levi Bank auto text ––‘Alert, You Are Overdrawn.’

A car burns rubber toward Karma, Charlie looks up, and cursing his assumed bad luck.


by by Brian Taylor

From: Friday Flash Fiction


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