Tuesday, 6 January 2015

‘BORN LUCKY’

Captain Damnation and Other Strange Tales | Fiction / Short Stories
by Harry Riley

‘…within a few minutes he had poured out the sorry tale of his dismissal as an inept and bumbling constable in the police force…’

It was a boiling hot summer’s day as Osborn Lucky walked dejectedly away from the police station. His naturally cheerful countenance wore a frown as he considered his options. He’d just been sacked, in a loud and humiliating manner by his boss, following a series of blunders, culminating in his latest disaster which had wrecked a carefully planned, joint operation, with the Custom’s Authorities and wasted hundreds of man-hours. Osborn was a big clumsy-wild eyed Irishman and had been nicknamed ‘Born Lucky’ for as long as he could remember. At this moment though he felt far from lucky, in fact he felt just about as low as he had ever been.
Now as he wandered along the lonely streets he didn’t feel like going home to his rented house where he lived all alone. Instead he pushed open the door of his local public house and sauntered up to the bar, intent on drowning his sorrows. Ordering his beer he noticed something slightly familiar about the man already there at his elbow. The man was short, fair haired and middle aged but had a friendly expression and Osborn acknowledged his greeting, now remembering the man as a near neighbour. The fellow wiped his sticky brow with a bright red handkerchief and then put out his hand, saying he was Walter Newall and lived four doors along the same street as Osborn. The ex-policeman took stock of his neighbour as by mutual consent they both walked across to a table in the corner of the half empty room and sat down. Walter was casually dressed, wearing black leather jacket, blue jeans and an open necked checked shirt. As they sat down he pulled out a brown leather wallet and passed Osborn his business card, saying if he ever needed a good jobbing builder he was the man. Osborn took an instant liking to Walter’s easy manner and within a few minutes he had poured out the sorry tale of his dismissal as an inept and bumbling constable in the police force, after falling off a metal dustbin, creating one hell of a clatter and giving the gang their chance to escape. Walter sympathised and said it was surely for the best. They continued talking for another hour or so and the ex-policeman left feeling much better.
When he arrived home, Osborn reached down to retrieve a fresh carton of milk from his doorstep, kindly left there by the woman next door, and glimpsed a black shadow just behind him.