“LUCKY 14” by Meeah Williams

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The assistant bank manager was dressed in camouflage; it’s no surprise, they all are nowadays. He was, he said, sorry to inform me that my loan application had been denied. He didn’t look sorry, though. He looked like my father looked when he told me I was dead to him.

Luckily, I have learned to equip myself for precisely these kinds of devastating moments. Here’s how: I go deep inside myself, into the desert, and like in any desert, it’s not long before there’s a man on horseback, who gallops up to save the day.

“It’s a magic coin,” he explains, reaching down from the saddle to hand me what looks like a burnt potato chip. “Take it to any casino in the land. You can’t lose. You’re sure to make your fortune.”

I take the chip, thank the crusader, and watch him gallop away in search of the Holy Grail. This being the desert, there’s always a casino close by. Fountains, palm trees, gold-plated lions—it’s everything you’d expect.

I step inside like I own the place, the only way to step inside anyplace. The air is Arctic—so bracing! I walk right up to the roulette table and put my coin down on lucky 14. The ball falls into the slot marked 25. I lose everything.

Now with no loan and no lucky coin there is no way I could ever be—well, what was it I wanted to be, anyway? Rich and famous? That’s a laugh.

The assistant bank manager and my father were right to turn away from me like I was dead to them. I turn away like I’m dead to me, too. I feel like Lazarus stepping from the tomb, no longer Lazarus anymore.

 

Meeah Williams’s  work has appeared in Otoliths, Phantom Drift, Uut, The Conium Review,  The Ginger Collect, Anti-Heroin Chic and lots of other places, more places than you’d expect for someone seemingly uninterested in communicating with the world outside herself as she so often appears to be. She lives in Seattle and tweets from @pussy_nagasaki.

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