Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Flash Fiction Project: Piece #3

This week, I'm participating in the Flash Fiction Project founded by +Becket Moorby. Each day, there's an image for inspiration and we all write a piece. I'm excited about participating just for the promise that I will, indeed, write something every day. 

Today's image is:

morocco carp
Image courtesy of radcarper on Flickr Creative Commons (Attribution Link)

My piece: Lucky Bastard

My brother has always been the lucky one. We went to the same schools and earned the same degrees, but who scored the prestigious job right out of college? We played on the same teams as teenagers, him two years ahead of me. I was the one to make all-state, but everyone remembers the homecoming game that he won with a last minute mid-court shot. It was true even when we were little kids and Mom would give us quarters for the gumball machine. My quarter would get stuck and I'd get nothing. His would spin and the machine would spit out an extra prize. 

It's not that I haven't had successes of my own. I own my own company. I won the John Fritz Medal--the bragging rights alone will keep me in jobs until I retire even if I never have another good idea.  I'm the one who got married to the right girl, stayed married and has three amazing kids. But I didn't get here by luck. I earned it. 

Even Max's worst luck is lucky. After his first marriage ended, he took a trip around the world to find himself and ended up in India, out of money and phoning our parents for a plane ride home.  It was the lowest point of his life, he says, even while spinning adventure tales for my daughters after Sunday dinner. On that trip, he saved the life of the millionaire who employs him now. This spring he's going to marry that millionaire's daughter.

So, when we took the fishing trip, I admit to being more than a little competitive. It was ridiculous really, how important it was to win. I wanted to catch the biggest fish, the most fish, to have the best story about the one that got away.  I'm surprised Max could stand to be with me I was such a pain in the ass. 

I was going on about something, bragging probably, when Max fell off the boat on the third day. He didn't resurface for one long second, then two, then three. I jumped in before it could be four. He had gotten tangled in a piece of netting, and was hanging upside down beside the boat, flailing. Lucky for him--I had my knife on my belt. 

When I told him later that he's always been a lucky bastard, he laughed. "You are my luck, Steve," he said. 

"So does that mean that I'm the bastard?" I asked. 

"Guess we'll have to ask Mom."

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