Good afternoon campbellsworld visitors.
Here we are at the end of another Thinking of it Thursday, and have I got a great story for you.
I’ve no idea where Trish gets her ideas, but if you enjoy this as much as I did, I hope you’ll drop a line in the comments to let Trish and me know.
Anyhow, without further ado, here’s Trish’s Tale for You.
By Trish Hubschman
Watch Your Luck Change! “Have you been suffering a string of downward slumps and would give anything for a stroke of good luck? Miss Fortune can help. Give yourself to her and, in no time, you’ll be climbing uphill again.”
I snickered. It summed up my life perfectly. Each time something happened, I’m certain it couldn’t get any worse but it did. It’s like a chain reaction, one thing led to another.
It all started when my dog, Skip, was shot dead in my own backyard by a neighbor. Skip was fifteen and in good health. The brutality of the crime left a mark on my whole family. Then the doctor diagnosed my sixteen year old daughter Dawn with Anorexia. She had lost so much weight and her mood swings were extreme. I tried to help my only daughter, to get her to eat. I encouraged her to open up and talk and tried to get her to go into therapy. My wife, Nora, agreed with me, but she was too afraid of alienating Dawn. Next I got laid off from my job and Nora left me, or rather, she kicked me out.
What more could happen? I’m afraid to find out. If anyone could use a stroke of good fortune, it’s me. Of course, I didn’t believe in such hogwash. Bah! They’re all fortune hunters. But again, I didn’t have a fortune, so I didn’t have anything to lose. I continued reading the article in the newspaper.
“I was at the bottom of the barrel. Life was so bleak. I was scared and alone. Then I found Miss Fortune and I’m glad I did. She led me to brighter, greener pastures,” a satisfied customer was quoted. I raised an eyebrow, but read on. The next three paragraphs were much of the same thing, satisfied customers of the Magic Woman.
The piece ended with the line, “Call Miss Fortune and see for yourself,” seeing is believing.”
I chuckled. Hogwash! I told myself again. They were all con artists. I bet all those satisfied customers had been paid to say what they had, if even they were customers. Maybe Miss Fortune wrote this piece herself.
I scanned the piece again but there was no mention of how she achieved her goal. I doubted it was anything mystical, probably brain washing. She convinced people that their bad state has a bright side. Voodoo, I decided, bursting out laughing, certainly not for a strong, scientific mind like mine.
Before I realized, my hand was on the phone. I picked it up and dialed the number listed in the article.
Who knows? Maybe it would turn out to be fun!
The building I pulled up to was in the heart of town. I was ushered into Miss Fortune’s office by a nicely dressed secretary. The furniture was modern. The computer equipment was up-to-date. An attractive blonde woman dressed entirely in white rose from behind a big desk. She extended her hand, smiling a perfect smile. “Take a seat.”
I sat in the assigned visitors chair across from the desk. Miss Fortune sat in her own high backed, black leather chair. She picked up some papers. “I’ve looked over your application and I think you’re an ideal candidate for our program.” She glanced at me with blue eyes that sparkled.
To my surprise, a surge of pride shot through me. “That is good news,” I said.
She chuckled. “I guess that does depend on who’s looking at it and how. Here at Fortune 300.” She waved around the room. Her fingers were long. Her nails were painted bright red. Bangle bracelets on one wrist jingled when she waved her arm. “Your bad luck is indeed good and we will make good on it.” She picked up a pen and began filling in a form.
“I don’t understand what your program entails,” I said.
She looked up, winking at me. “It’s really very simple,” she assured me, pushing the paper across to me. “You don’t do anything. We do it all. Just go back out there and you’ll see for yourself. Just sign here and we’re all set.” She pointed to the paper, holding the pen out to me.
I fished through my jacket pockets for my reading glasses but came up empty handed. I must have left them on the side table after I put the newspaper down. She smiled coyly at me. “Nothing really. “What is that for?” I indicated the paper. It’s just for accounting purposes, so our bookkeeper can keep track of our clients. IRS insists we keep precise contracts and books so that we can maintain our license.”
It made sense to me and proved that Fortune 300 operated on the up and up. I took the pen she held out and signed my name where she indicated. “By the way, I forgot to ask about your fee, should I take care of it now?” I reached into my pants pocket for my wallet.
She gave a slight wave of her hand. “We can discuss that when you come back in two weeks.”
My eyebrow went up. She wanted me back here in two weeks? I didn’t understand.
“That’s when you come back to let us know if your downward trend has reverted itself. If you’re not totally satisfied, our fees are waived.”
I peered suspiciously out of one eye. “You’re saying I don’t have to pay you right now?”
“is that a problem?” she cooed.
I shook my head. It was like a money back guarantee without my having to lay out a red cent. “Not at all.” I jumped to my feet. Best to get out of there before she added a catch. In two weeks I’d come in and say my luck was still rotten and the program didn’t work. In the meantime, I could have some fun at somebody else’s expense.
“Stop at my secretary’s desk on your way out,” she indicated, “and make a follow up appointment.” My hand was on the doorknob. “And she added.” I glanced over my shoulder at her. “Good luck and have fun.”
I felt like I’d run a marathon to get out of there.
I came out of the building and walked through the parking lot to my car. A long stem red rose lay on my windshield. I picked it up, smelled it. Nice touch, I thought, figuring someone from Fortune 300 left it there.
It was rush hour and would take me at least twenty to thirty minutes to get home. I didn’t relish that. I turned my eyes up toward the roof of the car. “Here’s your first test, Miss Fortune. Hocus pocus.”
To my ultimate joy, I made it home in ten minutes,
I pushed open my front door to see the light on my answering machine blinking. Fearful that something had happened to Dawn, I rushed to it but the caller was my previous employer telling me that they had rewritten some job descriptions and had a position I might be interested in and asked if I’d come by the next afternoon to discuss it.
I’d go but I was sure the job was maintenance or something. To my surprise, when I went to see my boss the next day, I learned that the new job was similar to my former one. I’d be making a higher salary. I agreed to start the following Monday.
Another red rose awaited me when I went out to my car. I picked it up. If Fortune 300 kept this up I’d be able to open my own flower shop. I tossed the rose on the front seat when I got in the car.
When I arrived home I found my daughter sitting on my front step. Nervously, I got out of the car. I hadn’t seen or spoken to Dawn in a long time.
She stood up as I approached, smiling. “Hi, Dad.”
“Hi, baby. What brings you here? Is everything okay?” I inserted the key in the front door and opened it. She followed me inside. It was the first time she’d been in my apartment.
“I was wondering…” she said, sounding suddenly timid. “if you’d like to go out to dinner tonight with me and my boyfriend.”
I spun around, my mouth hung open. “Dinner? You go out to dinner, as in eat?”
She giggled. “I do a lot of things now that I know Bill, my boyfriend. He really loves me, Dad, and he told me I look like a sparrow and wants me to eat.” Tears poured down her cheeks. Suddenly, we were in each other’s arms. “Oh, Daddy, I’m so sorry. You really do love me. If you didn’t care, you would have just let me wither away.”
I stroked her hair. “Of course I love you. And I’d love to have dinner with you and Bill. Are there wedding bells in the future?”
She giggled, winding her arm through mine as we headed back out. “Maybe. Speaking of wedding bells,” she stopped, glancing at me nervously. “I hope this is okay. Mom is getting married.”
I smiled. “Really? That’s great!” No more alimony, I cheered to myself.
When the three of us came out of the diner an hour later, two more roses were on my windshield. “What’s this?” Dawn inquired.
“A gift from my guardian angel,” I replied, helping my daughter into my car.
The next two weeks were a dream come true and it wasn’t hocus pocus, voo-doo or brain washing. My luck had changed for the better. I was a happy man when I walked into Fortune 300 for my follow-up with Lucy Fortune. When I came off the elevator, a shabbily dressed man was walking out of Lucy’s office.
“What’s up, brother?” I asked.
The man’s eyes were hollow. “Oh, life just stinks. I know I had no choice but I just signed that contract in there.” He pointed over his shoulder to the closed office door. “But I feel like I just gave my soul away.”
I leaned my head back and laughed. “Oh, don’t think such a thing. They have a good thing going on here, though I’m not sure how it all works.”
The other man eyed me intensely. “Are you one of theirs?”
I pushed my shoulders back. “You bet and a satisfied customer. Mark my words, you’ll see.”
“That’s what she said,” the man whined, nodding his head.
Miss Fortune was waiting for me when I came into the office. “How are you?” she asked, walking around the desk, her hand outstretched. “How many roses do you have?”
“At least a dozen,” I replied. “Nice gift.”
“It was to mark each success.”
I nodded and sat down. “All did go well, though I didn’t win the lottery.”
“Ah, but you didn’t buy a ticket,” she teased back.
“Touche!” I snapped my fingers in the air. “Anyway, I guess it’s time to pay the piper.” Lucy laughed. “Do you accept personal checks?”
I pulled out my check book, along with my reading glasses. “Who do I make the check out to?”
Lucy pulled out the contract I signed two weeks earlier and pushed it across the desk to me, pointing to the top of it. “It says right there, to my boss, Satan.”
I stared at her for a long time in astonishment, unable to speak, though my mouth tried to form words.
“You’ve had a string of good luck, Harry, and that’s all thanks to us,” she said, smiling. “You’re now one of us. Enjoy your stay. It does get pretty hot though, so I hope you don’t burn easily.”
Suddenly, the pen slipped from my hand and clinked to the floor. I was next to follow,
landing with a bang.
MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR AND HER WORK…
JUST PUBLISHED: the prequel to the Tracy Gayle mystery series
by Trish Hubschman
Available in e-book and print from Amazon and Smashwords.
Details, cover image, link to a free text sample, and purchasing links: https://www.dldbooks.com/hubschman/
Tidalwave’s tour bus bursts into flames while the band is relaxing on the beach. The band’s leader, Danny Tide, hires private detective Tracy Gayle to do some discreet investigation into the matter. She’s joining the band on tour as security chief. The arsonist is discovered, but much deeper, more dangerous things come to light as well: an assault, an attempted murder, and then two murders. Tracy is faced with far more than she bargained for, and her stint with the band goes further than just that summer tour. She is fully determined to protect America’s favorite rock and roll heartthrob, and they become the best of friends along the way.
About the Author
Trish Hubschman and her husband, Kevin, along with their dog, Henry, recently moved to Northern Pennsylvania. They formerly lived on Long Island, New York. Trish is a graduate of Long Island University’s Southampton Campus and has a Bachelor’s degree in English-Writing. She is the author of the popular Tracy Gayle mystery series, Stiff Competition and Ratings Game. Tidalwave is the eagerly awaited prequel to the series. For more information about Trish’s three books, please visit her website, linked to above.