My luck—it's running out!

Submitted into Contest #180 in response to: Write about someone losing their lucky charm.... view prompt


Fiction Funny

I lost my lucky charm last night.

Well, technically, I didn’t lose it… it was taken from me. But I’m a man who believes in accountability, and if I allowed someone to take my lucky charm, then I really actually lost it, didn't I?

It makes me cringe just thinking about it.

Things were going so well!

I’d been standing, far more relaxed than those around me, beside the roulette table. I mean, what better way to test your luck than on one of the most luck-based activities around, right? And unlike those around me, I was $100,000 up, enjoying how other gamblers sneered openly at me. I loved the sound of them quietly and loudly accusing me of cheating.

Does a lucky charm count as cheating?

I mean, it wasn’t like it was predicting the future or telling me what to do. If it was making the roulette wheel spin and stop to my benefit, I could never know nor control that.

Eh, who knows. I’d never lost sleep about it before and wasn’t going to start now.

My fellow patrons took their anger out on the poor sod running the roulette table anyway. Periodically they insisted that he “do something” and accused the ‘little schmuck’ of being “in on it.” The young man insisted he had nothing to do with it, but his voice trembled with anxiety, making him look guilty. I pretended not to notice his subtle but venomous glares, as if he could scare me away from the table.

But he did look like a little schmuck, and my night was just getting started.

Too bad for him.

Sometimes one man’s luck is another’s misfortune, right?

The roulette wheel whirred to life again, making a hypnotic sound—like the buzz of a hive. And I was ready to reach my hand inside and take more nectar for myself.

Unfortunately, the hullabaloo did distract me long enough that, when next I reached into my pocket to nestle the charm in my palm, my fingers found nothing.

And, you know…

What the fuck kind of luck is that, eh?

Are you kidding me?

You go through all the trouble of getting a LUCKY charm, and the fucking lucky charm just fucking fucks off and gets lost?

It defeats the whole point, doesn’t it?

I could never have predicted that, man.


The metal ball click-clacked, bringing my mind back to the table just in time to see about a third of my winnings go down the drain. The only thing worse than that realization was the chorus of celebration that swelled around me. A flood of grinning and brutal countenances compressed me. Mocking fingers jabbed like a horde of shining insects around my head.

The sound of “ha!” and “finally!” and even some “maybe he was just lucky—well, not anymore!” made my ears ring. But I didn’t even have time to be disappointed. Instead, my chest tightened with absolute panic. Where could it have gone? I was so careful this time.

Funny enough, almost as if the smallest drop of luck was still stuck to my fingers—or maybe clinging to the inside of my pocket like perfume that soaked into the fabric—I looked up just in time to see a twinkle of movement.

It was so quick no one would’ve seen it unless they’d seen it before—and, even then, you’d have to be looking for it.

I let go of the breath I hadn’t realized I was holding, and my anxiety melted into aggravation.

I abandoned the roulette table and the buzzing mockery immediately. Time was not on my side. I didn’t bother to look unbothered as I jogged from the casino floor into the hallway that traveled to the restaurants and hotel lobby.

Another twinkle of movement around a corner, and I chased after it with a moan that was both grateful and exasperated.

You son of a bitch.” I hissed under my breath. I was sure most onlookers assumed I was seething for the same reason that most folks storming out off of the casino floor did. Some even gave me a compassionate ‘better luck next time’ smile, and it took all of my restraint not to spit in their mouth.

When I turned the next corner, there was no telling twinkle to guide me. Instead, I noticed the door to the ‘family’ restroom whisper with movement. I had no other lead, and I had to make a move one way or the other.

I headed for the door, ignoring the weary sneers of concerned citizens that watched a sloppy, middle-aged man enter the ‘family’ restroom with just a bit too much gusto.

I was so grateful it was empty, though I could smell the tang of a freshly discarded diaper oozing from a garbage can in the nursing lounge.

Close call for both of us, I guess.

I also smelled something else—something that did not belong in a public restroom, no matter how family-oriented it was.

I surveyed carefully, seeing no human feet occupying the stalls, though all doors were suspiciously closed. I felt like I was standing in front of one of those street magicians with three cups and a ball.

Which one is it?

But then I heard the slightest squeak, as if flesh pinched against the surface of the toilet seat. I sighed in relief.

“Come out, now. I know you’re in here. This wasn’t part of the deal!” I growled, careful that my voice wasn’t too loud. I heard a sniff, which echoed haughtily through the stalls.

“It sure as hell is, Cinderella.” Barked a voice just a pitch too high for a normal man. I watched as two patten-leather feet hit the tile with a barely audible clap. From the second to last stall, the full figure of Alby Sweeney squeezed underneath the door and stood combatively before me. My lucky charm was in his stubby little hand, glistening gold and embossed with Alby’s ugly little mug.

“It’s way past midnight, and I’ve got shit to do, Arthur. You’ve played enough with my things.” He hissed at me, dressed as smartly as anyone hustling about the casino. A nice grey dinner suit over a black button-down. His fiery hair was just a bit tousled on the sides of his square head.

I looked at my watch. Despite the little bastard’s protests, it was only 11:57 PM. “Your watch is slow.” He grunted, pointing up at the clock over the restroom door. It read 12:03 AM.

“How do you know that clock isn’t fast?” I demanded, and Alby made a disgusted noise.

“Come on, Alby! Everything was going so well! I was about to win it all back!” I pleaded, my hands outstretched piteously. I learned long ago to appeal to Alby’s ego. He liked when I looked pathetic. Though, sadly, he seemed unmoved tonight.

“Yeah, I hear that every month, Arthur. And every month, you’re late getting my coin back to me. And ya keep gettin’ yourself into worse and worse trouble—I can’t risk my gold.” My chest tightened with annoyance and offense, especially at the piteous look on his wrinkled little mug.

“You think I’d let that happen, Alby? How long have you known me, Alby? You know I would never. After everything we’ve been through, you don’t trust me?” Alby looked both pained and irritated by my pleas. He took a deep breath, like a father about to lecture his wayward but charming son on responsibility.

“Arthur, I’ll always feel grateful to you for what you did back then. If not for that, who knows where me and mine woulda’ ended up. But I canna risk my gold—and risky it feels tonight.” His stress made his old accent come through, and it was as annoying as it was endearing to me. He was serious.

He was actually fucking serious.

“So, what—after everything, you’re just not gonna let me borrow it anymore? Cuz I’m maybe a few minutes late, and it feels risky to you?” I made quotation marks with my fingers, leaning a bit into my knees to convey how ridiculous I thought he sounded.

“It’s o’ piece of me, Arthur! Not some bauble—losing it means losing a piece o’ myself I canna get back!” Alby’s tone strained, he was desperate that I understand.

“And you think I would do that to you? I saved you, Alby!” The words left my mouth, and his expression darkened so intensely that the fluorescent lights stuttered. I felt a little chill, and the air grew salty and thick.

Maybe I took it too far.

“Aye. You did, Arthur. And for that, I am forever grateful. It is in spirit of gratitude that I take my coin back for good—and just my coin. You’re a good man, Arthur. You don’t need luck to make a good life for yourself.” Alby was wrong. I was not a good man. But I wouldn’t correct him.

Ugh, he really was fucking serious.

I sighed, collecting myself so that my weight carried on my shoulders again instead of my sagging knees. “Fine, Alby. Whatever you say. It’s your gold piece, and if you feel like you can’t trust me, I respect that. I guess I’ll just have to figure out what to do.” I watched his little amber eyes sparkle with relief. I could almost feel the air in the room start to move again—get lighter.

“You’ll be just fine, Arthur—and it ain’t like we won’t still be friends! I’ll never let ya get into any kind o’ trouble ye canna get out of!” He was stuffing the coin into his coat as he spoke. I watched it disappear into a pocket barely big enough for a pair of toddler's fingers to squeeze into. I nodded glumly, trying to see the bright side of only losing a third of my winnings tonight.

“Well,” I sighed again, “I suppose I should go claim what’s left of my winnings and go home. Tonight’s a bust.” Alby looked disconcerted at my moping. I had only met one, but I was sure that Alby Sweeney was one of the nicest of his kind. Perhaps that was what had gotten him into the kind of trouble that brought us together all those years ago.

“I know inflation is bad right now, but sixty-five thousand USD isn’t chump change, Arthur.” He chuckled, smoothing his glistening, tiger-colored hair into quaffs. It seemed that trying to scramble and hide on a toilet seat had disheveled him. But that was what was funny about Jack. He’d wanted me to find him. Otherwise, I’d have never seen his little twinkle of movement in the first place. Like the rest of his kind, he did love playing games—even if he didn’t realize it sometimes.

But I did.

“Goodnight, Arthur.” He said with a grin. He seemed lighter, relieved that I hadn’t lost my temper. But, even if I had, no harm would’ve befallen Alby Sweeney… it was my safety he would’ve been concerned with.

I’ll never let ya get into any kind o’ trouble ye canna get out of!

“Goodnight, Alby. Cards next week?” I offered with an acquiescent smile, and he beamed. “I think I can make it, yeah!” He reassured.


With a wave he was gone as if he’d never been, leaving only the delicate scent of clovers that belied the working of his magic.

I straightened my jacket while smiling at my reflection in the smudged mirror.

Whether it be by bet or by brew, next week’s game of cards would end as they always did.

Just like how nights like tonight almost always ended just like this.

Poor Alby.

Alby Sweeney really was, perhaps, the nicest of his kind.

And that kindness had been—most likely—what got him into the kind of trouble that brought us together.

January 08, 2023 22:18

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Jonathan Page
08:16 Aug 31, 2023

Great stuff! I want to know more about how Arthur and the Leprechaun became acquainted. Masterfully crafted just like your other story. Little things that come through as genuine--like the rest of the gamblers rooting against Arthur really hit home. Also thought you did a great job with Alby's accent!


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Carole McKelvey
00:42 Jan 26, 2023

Really delightful story. Held my attention and I liked the characters even when they at odds with each other. I found both vulnerable but honest. Well done!!!


Kenz Ross
23:06 Jan 26, 2023

Thank you so much! I'm very glad you enjoyed it and it means a lot you took the time to read it. :D


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Caitlin McDaniel
00:28 Jan 19, 2023

You did a nice job of having your character have a distinct voice. Nice work! Just one thing, at one point you mentioned his name was Jack, but at every other point his name was Alby. Not sure if it was just something I missed, or a typo. Thanks for sharing your work!


Kenz Ross
19:20 Jan 19, 2023

GAH! I missed a "Jack" I changed his name last minute! >.<. Thank you so much for noticing and taking time to check out my story!


Caitlin McDaniel
00:20 Jan 20, 2023

I wondered if that was it! Also, I love the name Alby for the story so nice change!


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Wendy Kaminski
00:36 Jan 15, 2023

Great story, Mikenzi! I liked the plot, really cohesive storyline and good inner monologue on the part of the main character. The ending wrap-up was particularly well-done, too. Terrific storytelling, and good luck this week!


Kenz Ross
14:30 Jan 16, 2023

Hi Wendy! Thank you so much for reading my story AND taking time to leave such a nice comment. :,) I can't describe how happy it makes me that you enjoyed it! Thank you again!


Wendy Kaminski
15:49 Jan 16, 2023

My pleasure! :)


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