Such Supervised Luck

Tommy wasn’t known for his short temper. He’d once run the numbers on a dockworker with a penchant for . . . well, lets just say the porpoise, the seaweed, and that really unfortunate tarp would all rather forget that particular day. PETA rally within sight and the sonofabitch walks away with a spring in his step. Fucking 26 with a plus 20 back and doubles for three. And he didn’t even have the foresight to play the goddamn lottery.

Then there was the nun. That poor nun. Just an innocent little six with a minus three, and a half chance at losing before she even started. The third time – the third time – she broke her leg while sleeping, that was almost enough to break Tommy right along with it. And when she tried to stop and smell the roses and ended up snorting up two separate bumblebees, well, at least that had been comical. Tragic that they stung her every time she sneezed, but Tommy couldn’t resist irony. Or coincidence. Or whatever the fuck it is when someone tries for sweet and simple and gets a big fat boot to the ass for their trouble.

Bad luck. That’s what that is.

But this was worse. Worse than the shitbags with loaded dice or the sweethearts without a die to roll. This was the slow, mad torture of a water faucet drip, drip, dripping in the background. This was the low hum of electronics that would never go away. This was a gum-smacking, pen-clicking, baby-crying, nails-on-a-chalkboard, Janis-laughing, spittle-flying, mosquito-bite sort of torment. If the mosquitos bit you over, and over, and over again.

Because it just. kept. happening.

 

Username: JacobSilver651@mymail.com

Password: 12inche$offun

The e-mail or password you entered is incorrect.

 

Good old Jacob was remarkably calm for having already reset his password six times. Each time he tried to log in and got, ‘The e-mail or password you entered is incorrect,’  he scrunched up his face, double-checked his password, and tried again.

At the moment, he was studying the powerball ticket, with it’s array of scribbled and crossed-out password scrawling haphazardly across the back of it. Five scratched out, one still standing. Lips pursed in concentration, he read it over, giving each character a serious look. He started again, this time forming each one with his mouth. One. Two. I. N. C. H. E. S – Damn. He frowned and began again. One. Two. I. N. C. H. E. Money sign. Dollar sign? He nodded to himself. Dollar sign. O. F. F. U. N. Twelve – the number 12 – inches (money sign) of fun.

He typed it in, each keystroke precise. Insecure, he erased it and typed it all again. Tommy, watching carefully, knew perfectly well the poor bastard had done it right both times.

He ran the numbers.

 

The e-mail or password you entered is incorrect.

 

“Motherfucker.” Jacob shoved away from the table, refusing to look at the offer to reset the password again. He paced the room, hands dragging at his hair.

He snatched up the powerball ticket and tore it up. “Fucking piece of shit password. Goddammit.” He threw the ticket away, while Tommy quietly sighed. If that wasn’t a winner, Tommy didn’t know his luck. And Tommy knew his luck. Tommy was a luck runner.

“Ok. Ok. One more time.” Jacob breathed out carefully. “One more time. None of this strong password bullshit.”

 

Enter new password: 1

Confirm new password: 1

Your password must be at least eight characters long.

 

“Fuck you. Eight characters long my ass. Dozen different long-ass passwords and none of those fucking worked.” He closed his eyes. “I just want to see if they’ve e-mailed.”

They hadn’t. Short odds hadn’t skewed for Jacob today. It was just the long odds. The billion-to-one odds. The minuscule chance of server-side error preventing Jacob from logging in. The comparatively better chance of winning the lottery.

“Fine. Fine. Eight characters.”

 

Enter new password: 12345678

Confirm new password: 12345678

Your password must contain a combination of letters and numbers.

 

“Godfuckingdammit. Ok. Ok.” Another calming breath. Jacob didn’t know it, but he was actually holding it together remarkably well. The odds of throwing his computer out the window at this point were about ten-to-one.

 

Enter new password: 1a2b3c4d

Confirm new password 1a2b3c4d

Passwords do not match

 

“Son of a fucking fucking piss-soaked apple cobblers whore dick of a mother.”

 

Tommy choked out a laugh. The poor, poor bastard.

 

Enter new password. 1234abcd

Confirm new password: 1234abcd

Your password has been changed. Log in here.

 

Username: JacobSilver651@mymail.com

Password: 1234abcd

The e-mail or password you entered is incorrect.

 

The laptop crashed into the wall. To add insult to injury, the battery popped out as it hit the floor. Crash. Snap.Thump, thump . . . thump.  It was like a prolonged death scene at the community theater. Jacob threw himself onto the couch, fingers digging into his face so hard they left marks.

Tommy watched the powerball guys come on the muted TV. Casually, he walked over and looked in the garbage. The pieces of the shredded lottery ticket had fallen into a half-filled 44-oz soda cup. They were unreadable. Useless.

He kicked the cord out of the wall as he strolled by the TV, hands in his pockets. Tommy didn’t need to see the numbers to know who’d won. And Jacob would be better off never knowing what might have been.

Fucking skewed odds, man.

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