The Flawless, Perfect Burden of the Luckiest Man Alive

Luck Zach Diamond

Chuck slid off the side of his bed so that his feet rested against the floor, then lowered his head into his upturned palms. It was another Saturday, another meaningless day on an even more meaningless planet. He glanced over at the clock above his door without moving his head. 5:42pm. He’d been asleep for thirteen hours, which was unfortunately a lifetime too short. His friends all said he was so lucky to not need a job, to get to sleep in whenever he wanted. He sighed heavily, lifting his head back up and pushing himself off the bed.

Friday had been long. Much longer than the last Friday. Or maybe it was just as long—Chuck couldn’t really tell anymore. All he knew was that everything was just too fucking long now. He walked over to his dresser and pushed several Rolexes off the top that he’d won earlier in the week, then slid open the drawer. His favorite outfit lay perfectly folded inside, just as it always did. He hadn’t folded it the night before, and he sure as hell didn’t wash it. Yet here it was, flawlessly arranged and completely spotless. Of course, what luck.

Chuck wandered over to the mirror while tossing his shirt over his head. The cashmere felt just as soft and comfortable as it did every other day. He’d won it in a contest he never entered. Apparently the cashmere was of the absolute finest quality, and the cyan was not a color marketed by the designer. It was for “special people only.” Chuck hated how great it was.

He stared at his reflection. His hair was absolutely perfect, despite sleeping with a pillow crushed up against it—everyone always commented how fortunate he was. It always looked great, the pomade spread flawlessly to give it the ideal matte yet slightly shined finish that stylists train their entire lives to achieve. Lucky. He spread his fingers and ran them through it, momentarily feeling his stomach tighten as he imagined a messy outcome. Instead, a fantastic faux-hawk emerged, as if he had specifically planned his motions to produce the ideal “I wish I was in a punk band, but I also want to keep my job” look. He rolled his eyes.

His face was flawless, his jaw line and nose literally crafted by the best. He’d won a contest, which he was positive he never signed up for, to receive full plastic surgery on any imperfections by a team of the world’s best plastic surgeons. He’d argued at first, said it would be weird, but his ex-girlfriend made him do it; she said it would be ridiculous to pass up such a once-in-a-lifetime stroke of luck. It was completely paid for. He no longer remembered what he looked like before the surgery, but he was sure it was wonderfully imperfect.

Chuck turned and wandered toward his window. A scratch-off lotto ticket rested on the windowsill. He picked it up and stared at it. “Match any two numbers and win. Match all the numbers and win the jackpot!” He’d scratched half of it the night before, the numbers 11, 3, 24, 7, and 99 staring back at him—his favorite numbers, lucky him. He picked up the penny next to it and sighed, then slowly began scratching the remaining five spaces. A second pair of 11, 3, 24, 7, 99 emerged. Chuck pulled open the window and threw the card out onto the street below, just as his cell phone began to ring.

“Hello?” Chuck said after pulling the phone from his pocket. It had full battery, despite not having charged it during his 13 hour nap.

“Is this Chuck Greene?” said a cheerful, slightly elderly voice.

“Yes,” said Chuck. They were always so energetic.

“I’ve got some great news for you, pal,” said the voice. Chuck sighed.

“What’s that?” he said.

“You’re New York’s newest millionaire.”

“Great,” Chuck said, as if someone had just told him he’d have to work the night-shift.

“You won a million dollars in the Glassburg ‘Win a Million’ sweepstakes. We chose you from millions of entries. You are incredibly lucky; how do you feel?”

“Great,” Chuck repeated. “Look, I need to run, I was right in the middle of something.”

“You, uh, won a million dollars. You understand that, right?”

“Yeah. Hey, thanks for calling.” Chuck lowered the phone from his ear, a high-pitched voice still squeaking from the other end, then threw it onto the bed. He slowly shook his head and walked to the door of his room, then pulled it open and continued down his hall. It was perfectly lit, although he hadn’t paid his electric bills in ages. In fact, he hadn’t even received his electric bill in ages—or any bills, for that matter. Apparently he’d won a sweepstakes a few years back to receive “no bills for life” from his local government, which he not only hadn’t entered, but could find no information about online. As far as he could tell, it only existed for one day, and on that one day he happened to win. He quit work that afternoon and tried to see a therapist. “How lucky you are,” she said, brushing his worries aside as mere paranoia.

Chuck continued to his bathroom, then turned on the sink. The temperature was perfect, not too hot and not too cold. He sighed once more, then walked over to his bathtub, knelt down, and turned it on. Once again, a stream of ideal water flowed out. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d cleaned the tub, but it was absolutely spotless. Chuck stood back up and pulled his shirt off, then his underwear. He walked back over to the counter and opened up the bottom shelf.

He had put his toaster in it the night before, in preparation. He hadn’t used it in years, yet it was the first place he looked—under his bed. He’d never put it under his bed, but there it was. “Lucky guess,” his mother would have said, ignoring the distress on his face. He’d brought the toaster into the bathroom shortly after winning another Lamborghini Aventador as he wandered around the street at around 1:00pm. He figured it was time.

Chuck pulled the toaster out of the shelf and placed it on the side of the bathtub. He grabbed the plug and pulled it to the outlet across the bathroom. It reached perfectly, so that there was just enough slack to not trip over. He walked back across the room, turned off the water in the tub, and climbed in, toaster next to his left arm. He took a deep breath, closed his eyes, then pulled the toaster into the bathtub.

The toaster sprung to life with a mechanical clink, two slices of perfectly cooked toast propelling into the air and landing on the only dry part of the bathtub’s side. The wire had been pulled out of the wall before hitting the water, the toaster now floating next to Chuck. He exhaled deeply and picked up the toast, staring at it in his hand. He had no recollection of putting anything in the toaster. He took a bite. It was perfect. He was sure they’d call it luck.

_____________

Writing Prompt: The opposite of Paranoia is Pronoia, wherein one believes that the universe and the world is conspiring to help them. Write a story about one such person with an extreme case of Pronoia.

 

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