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Luck Like Hers: Chapter Three
Published Aug 23, 2010


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Written By

spladoum

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A double feature today! Holden Wozny continues his endless fumble towards level five of the medical career! With a mild snag ...

Again, thank you to all of my readers and commentators! I have many MANY guestbooks to sign now! :)

A double feature today! Holden Wozny continues his endless fumble towards level five of the medical career! With a mild snag ...

Again, thank you to all of my readers and commentators! I have many MANY guestbooks to sign now! :)
The jam session went excellently. For Gwen, that is. As usual, her obnoxiously good luck got in the way of someone one else's, and that someone had no qualms about letting her know that he wasn't pleased with the amount of attention she was getting. "I don't normally hold a grudge against cute girls, unless they happen to be cute girls who poach my tips. And you're definitely cute, but you're cuttin' into my moolah, y'know?" "Oh, but I don't get the tips because I'm so cute. People just like the hat."

"Really?"

"My tips drop on non-hat days. I tracked for a week. Hat, lots of tips. No hats, no tips."
"Should I get a hat?"

"You should SO get a hat."

And just like that, an enemy was converted into a friend.

She came home to a note from Holden taped to her door. 'Need to talk to you in the a.m. Important. Don't leave the house before we talk!"
Holden's alarm woke him up right on time. He slid out of bed and skimmed through the cookbook one last time. Pancakes couldn't be that hard! Just put some batter in a pan, cook until golden and fluffy, top with fruit. He had a beautiful cluster of black cherries that would be absolutely gorgeous on top of lightly crispy cakes. And then ... then he could probably persuade Gwen to let him skip rent for ... oh, say, the next six months!

The batter actually seemed to be coming together. It wasn't so hard! Complete fools and morons cooked every day and people actually PAID for their slop! Surely a genius like himself could cook a stupid pancake!
He flipped it carefully and turned the heat up by one notch before dashing into his room to change. Everything was going according to plan so far. He wiped his hands on his pants before knocking on Gwen's door.

"Morning," he said cheerfully when she opened up.
"Morning," she yawned. "Am I crazy, or do you have something on the stove?" Her sleepy eyes were suddenly quite alert. "Holden, do you have something on the stove? Because if you do, it's burnt."

"It can't be! I haven't been out of the room even a minute yet--"

Gwen shoved past him into the kitchen.
They both stared at the flambéed food. And the scorched pans. And the burning plates. And the melting countertops. Gwen marched right back into the bathroom and retrieved a fire extinguisher. Holden stood there, quaking. "Um, Gwen, considering that this could be the last opportunity we have to speak--"
"Holden, shut up and run!"

"You're sure?"

"Would you go already?!"

"Thanks a million, Gwen!"

He hung around outside, shamefaced, until smoke stopped rolling out of the front door. Gwen was fine, he knew that much. But the breakfast ... and the trip to Egypt ... and his job ...
"Holden." Her cheerful, squeaky voice was now a very serious squeak. "I know I asked you not to touch the stove. So tell me, please, what you were trying to prove? I mean, you could have died. For what? Breakfast in bed?"

"No!" he blurted out. "For plane tickets!"
"Plane tickets?" "PLANE TICKETS?" "You risked both of our lives and this house for some lousy plane tickets?! What airline is it, Fireball Express? I'd pound some sense into your head if I didn't already know it's full of rocks!" She stomped out of the door and down the block. Holden watched her go before checking the stove. Just to be sure it was turned off.
He called her, of course--while he unclogged the toilet. He explained as best he could the impossible choice that his boss was forcing on him, and his hope that breakfast might go a small way towards soothing the inevitable rift when he defaulted on rent. But it was all for the scarab beetles! He was doing it for the beetles! Her voicemail cut him off yet again. Completely disheartened, he went to the park and played pick-up chess with one of the nursing home's crotchety residents.

"Mrs. Vail," he asked in a faltering voice, "do you think I--I act like I have rocks in my head?"

"Hell yes," the elderly woman snapped. "I knew that the minute I laid eyes on you. That's why I don't never let you give me my pills!"
They kept on playing and she kept on abusing him, but he had begun to formulate a corollary. Every test, every teacher, every normal mode of establishing intelligence said that he was a smart guy, and yet bad luck rained down on him like ... rain. Gwen was just on this side of functionally illiterate, but she seemed to be coasting through life.

Could his brains be responsible for his bad luck?

"Ha, checkmate! Take that, whippersnapper." Mrs. Vail departed and left him staring at his losing position.
"... I can't believe he nearly killed himself over something as foolish as pancakes!" Gwen hadn't stopped fuming yet. Her friend Rosalind listened patiently. "And now he's just calling non-stop to tell me about some beetle and how he needs to go to Egypt and how he won't be able to make rent for, like, half a year! This hospital is the worst job yet! He was better off working at the laundromat!"

"Whoa, whoa ... what's this about beetles? Explain again."
When Gwen finished, Rosalind smiled. "You big dope! Why didn't you say so sooner? One of my good friends is an amateur etymologist--" "Ummmm ... a what?" Rosalind laughed. "He's a bug geek. He makes trips to Egypt, China, and France on a pretty regular basis. He can get any kind of bug your friend needs. No trip to Egypt necessary. So what's he need, scarabs? I'll let my friend know so he can talk to Holden about it."

"Thanks, Rosalind." Gwen felt very relieved. She still hadn't quite forgiven Holden and couldn't face him tonight, so she was camping out in Rosalind's guest room. But when the morning came ... she'd make it up to him.
Meanwhile, Holden waited, wondering if Gwen was going to come back soon and make some dinner. He was ravenous and exhausted, but he didn't dare touch that stove. More than once he yawned only to find that he had fallen asleep standing up. At last he just went to bed, stomach aching. Even in his dreams he was a screw-up. He woke up to a new day and an empty house. The showerhead didn't fall off. The toilet didn't overflow. The sink's faucet handles didn't come off in his hand.

Still, the bad luck was coming.

As he drove to work, he heard the unmistakable siren of a police car behind him. Yes ... the patrol car was right behind him. Yes ... he was getting pulled over. He quickly checked the bank account on his phone. §911? Really? With his luck the ticket would be §245 and leave him with §666.
The officer stopped his car and got out. He looked like a extra from a Bond movie. Maybe at night this getup was cool, but at 8:30 a.m. it was absolutely ridiculous. Holden bit his lip.

"License and registration, sir. 'Holden Wozny?' ... where have I heard ..."
"... oh! You're the dope that tried to hit on my lady last week. Smooth, buddy. Just a tip ... when women roll their eyes at your jokes, that doesn't mean they secretly like you." "Anyway, I pulled you over for a reason. Apparently your roommate is friends with my roommate and I heard through the grapevine that you needed some scarab beetles. So be at my place around 1 today and they're all yours. And stay away from my woman, moron." He flicked a card through the window into Holden's lap and drove on without a backwards glance.

So Holden drove on to work, drove over to Officer Connor Frio's house that same afternoon to collect his insects and presented them to Jamie Jolina, who strangely enough seemed very annoyed to have them so soon.
He returned home and began to add fruit to a bowl. Then a layer of thick, sweet cream. More fruit. More cream. He topped the mixture with fresh strawberries just as Gwen walked through the door.
"This is cold," he said quickly.

"I hope so. Or you'd be the first person in the history of the world to destroy a stove by making a fruit parfait."

"I'm sure I could still find a way."

"Let's just eat before the roof caves in."
She still wanted to ask him why he hadn't just explained that his boss was bullying him into making a trip he couldn't afford, and he was dying to know how she managed to find the ONE person in town who collected rare bugs as a hobby. Only you could have this kind of luck, they both thought, and sighed at the same time.

"Um, Holden. Did you throw the fruit scraps into the trash?"

"No, they were so small I just rinsed them down the drain. Why?"
"Just wondering ..."
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#10Pippa22Aug 25, 2010

This is a great story! I am enjoying reading all three parts! Well Done! I hope to read more stories from you!

#11MaevynAug 26, 2010

I've completely enjoyed this series - thanks again for a great read! \:D

#12IllandryaAug 27, 2010

Oh, I feel so much for poor Holden. I love the way you make his bad luck humorous but not in a mean way - it's almost as if we are laughing with him, not at him. Fantastic job.

#13fabrizioammolloAug 30, 2010

LOL!!!! \:D

#14FlatterSep 4, 2010

What a wonderful laugh \:wub\: Phew, if Holden had flown to Egypt he'd probably had caused the plane to crash \:\)

#15kittydiva_2017Oct 16, 2010

Funny Ending! That old lady at the park was hilarious! \:rah\:

#16spitzmagicOct 19, 2010

sooo funny and heartwarming...make one just fall in love with both of them..it was over before I was ready...\:wub\:

#17flody888Oct 29, 2010

I LOVED EVERY WORD! LOL! 'The hat', 'PLANE TICKETS', 'entymologist', 'what?', 'checkmate', and 'just wondering'! So funny on every page. You really use every word to great effect! Love this series!

#18Dec 6, 2010

more more.....

#19orlovVIPApr 30, 2011

\:wub\: \:wub\: \:D \:wub\:

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