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Sunday, March 17, 2024

“Mr. Unlucky” A short story by Holden Kodish

I’ve seen him three times I’ve only seen him three times in my life. The first was the fire of 77. I was 7, maybe 8, and my dad had brought me to his work at the Supper Club. Now, the Supper Club isn’t the type of place you should usually take a child, but my mom was on a business trip, and we couldn’t afford a babysitter. I was sitting at the bar, seeing how many spins I could do before getting sick (my record was 17). That’s when I saw him. He was taller than any adult I knew, and bony, as if he had never heard of food before. He nodded at me, as if I was the only one in the room. That soon would be the case. 
The Beverly Hills Supper Club fire killed 165 people. Including my father. I tried to explain to the police what had happened. About the man who had come into the club. But they didn’t believe me. Said I was in shock, and gave my mother the name of a grief counselor. She helped me work through what happened. Told me it wasn’t my fault. And for a while, I believed her. That was until 3 years later. Mom and I were sitting on the couch, watching a repeat showing of… something. Alice in Wonderland I think. I went up to go get myself a glass of milk. And I saw him at the window. It was this time when I noticed his eyes. Or should I say, the lack of them. Vacant. Empty. And his head. He was carrying it next to him, like a wicker easter basket. He took one big step, and the house shook. The whole neighborhood shook. I ran out of the house. My mom didn’t make it in time. 

I was put in the foster care system for a few years. No one could replace my parents, but I had nothing but respect for the ones who tried. Eventually, I graduated, and met a wonderful woman, Michelle. Michelle was fun. She always pushed me outside of my comfort zone. I had become a loner after my parents, and Michelle helped me make friends again. And when I would wake up in the middle of the night, Michelle would calm me back down to sleep. One night, after a visit to her parents (They lived in Lexington, so it was a bit of a drive back home to Paducah) we were driving home. We had stayed later than we were planning, so we were both a bit tired. That’s when we spotted him. “Jeremy. That guy. In that car. Is he a skele-“ That was her last words before the maniac ran us off the road. And her last words forever. 

They’d been able to pull me out of the wreckage just in time, but Michelle had gotten a major head injury. She was dead hours before I received help. Later, the coroner, and her parents, told me that she was pregnant. I gave him a name that day. The man who’s been haunting my life. “Mister Unlucky”. I haven’t seen him since then. I haven’t really left my house though either. So, when you called me up, asking to spend Christmas together, I was a little hesitant. But, I’m starting to feel happy. I can’t remember the last time I felt this way. Hold on a second. Do you hear… jingle bells, and… screaming? And is that dog flying?

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