Fantasy Fiction Funny

Leroy grew up being so superstitious that he avoided black cats altogether, never walked under ladders, wouldn't consider opening an umbrella in the house or hanging a horseshoe upside down. He wouldn't think of uttering the word "Macbeth" or saying "good luck" to someone in the theatre. He often crossed his fingers, always stayed home on Friday the 13th, avoided elevators that went to the 13th floor, and threw salt over his left shoulder whenever he went into the kitchen. And if he found a penny on the ground, he made sure it was heads up before taking it, or he would turn it over lest it give the next person bad luck. 

He read that for the Navajo it was bad luck to point at a rainbow or throw rocks into the wind, so he avoided these, too. While he never planned to visit the Isle of Man, he read that there he should never refer to a rat as a "long tail." In Turkey he should avoid chewing gum after dark. In Russia, he shouldn't give yellow flowers to anyone. And while he certainly never intended to become pregnant, he knew that if he were in Japan and checking into a maternity ward numbered 43, it would most definitely mean a still birth. 

To keep all of these omens in mind, he kept a notebook that held a long list of things to do or not to, to avoid misfortunes. Even though he was not religious, he always said "God Bless you" to a sneezer, and he shunned the number 666, an aversion known as hexakosioheckontahexaphobia—the longest word in his notebook of notes. 

His phobia began when he was four, and his mother broke the mirror of her compact while driving and simultaneously powdering her nose. "Seven years of bad luck!" she had shrieked. He never forgot that moment, mentally counting to 11 to determine just when her bad luck—and consequently his—would run out. But just after his mathematical feat, their car had crashed into a light pole on the median, immediately proving the adage.

Ever since that day he marked the passage of time with tally marks on the wall behind his desk. For the first few years, these were done with color crayons, alternating blue and red. Later, he used ball point pens—red and blue as well—and still later sharpies. Although his palette of choice colors had extended, he kept to the same pattern of colors lest disaster prevail.  

At 11, when he was sure the misfortune ban would lift, he placed his chopsticks straight up in a bowl of Chinese rice at the Royal China Buffet. The waiter, gasping and turning white, refused to come back to their table. Thus began the unfortunate phase of his pre-teen and teenage years. Pimples popped out when he accidentally put his shoes on the table or tipped the saltshaker over; every girl he asked to the school dances turned him down, no doubt because one of his shoelaces was always coming undone. He actively sought out ways to override his misfortunes by analyzing any small triumphs during the day and replaying in his mind the sequence of his beneficial actions. Even knocking on wood dozens of times a day did not seem to reverse his bad luck—nor did keeping a rabbit's foot in his pants pocket or searching for four-leaf clovers in the back yard.

At thirty, Leroy took it for granted that he was still single because his mother's Brazilian housekeeper had swept a broom over his feet by accident when he was only 16. At that time, he had not known that the curse would be lifted if one immediately spits upon the broom. How he regretted not spitting; he even had dreams in which he tried to spit but the spiraling spittle had only ended up on the floor, resulting in a life-long curse. 

In college he took a course in philosophical logic but was horrified when his professor said disparaging things about superstitions and pseudo-sciences such as astrology and numerology. He immediately went to his local bookstore and found books on these subjects. After pouring over them, he worked out the numerology of his teacher’s name. He immediately dropped out of the class when it worked out to a 4, a homonym for the word death in Chinese.

One day when he was forty, Leroy reached down to mark the tally of days on his wall and noticed he was almost at the baseboard. This alarmed him, as the pattern of marks had gone from the height of the desk to the floor in only thirty-six years. He sighed heavily. What could this mean?

The following day, he returned to the wall to mark the passage of time, and to his astonishment, all of the marks had disappeared! No one had been in his house; his mother had died the year before, and in any case, she hadn’t entered his room for decades. The wall was simply blank, with no traces of crayon, pen, or sharpie markings. 

Dispirited and in a state of shock, he left the house to go for a walk. While ambling down a heavily cracked sidewalk and avoiding stepping on the cracks, he ran into a lamp pole, which sent him spiraling out of control and then headlong into a large holly bush. When he opened his eyes, he could scarcely believe what he saw before him: a tiny little man with bright shining eyes, silver beard and a rainbow-colored suit that sparkled with glitter. 

The little man held out his hand and said in the kindest voice he had ever heard, “My sweet, dear Leroy. I am here to help you if you just allow it.”  

Leroy rather feebly extended his hand to the little man and said, “Charmed to meet you. Are you a Leprechaun?”  

“Yes, that’s right. I am a Leprechaun fairy. The name’s Luckividious Lightningrod, and no longer will you spend your time looking in your back yard for four-leaf clovers or marking your days on a wall while opportunity is knocking at your front door.” He paused and then continued. “Know this: at the dreadful age of four you hit a pole after your mother cracked that cursed glass. Now a blessed post that gives you light will end your curse and lift your plight. You must do one thing to set things right.” 

Leroy, stupefied, nodded with his whole being. “Tell me!” 

“Just say these words aloud: ‘I love my lucky Leprechaun and live to learn new ways. Loyal, I will spend with him the rest of all my days.”

As Leroy recited the words, the gravity of what he was pledging became clear. Fear fell away. Not only had he found the perfect roommate, he had reversed all of his ill fortune. He now understood why the marks had vanished—his life was re-beginning.

To prove his new-found courage, he stepped directly on a crack. And nothing bad happened! 

December 25, 2020 05:21

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19:23 Jul 23, 2021

A really fun and creative idea! The ending was surprising! A bit out of my regular dark genres, so it was very refreshing!


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Anne Perry
17:32 Jan 02, 2021

I don't know anyone like my character, Leroy! But it was fun inventing him and researching the various superstitions he held. While writing the story, I also brainstormed with two friends who contributed ideas. Thanks, Michael and Nilaa!


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