The Luck of Norman Fisher

Norman Fisher was by all firsthand accounts, an unremarkable man. Were you to cross his path in the street, you would hardly give him a second glance. He was forty-three, balding and spoke with a slight slur to his words. There was however, one incredibly fascinating, albeit little-known detail that made him stand out somewhat from the crowd.

He could perhaps be regarded as the luckiest man in the world. Not by any particular instance. He simply was the luckiest man in the world. His luck would then begin to affect the others around him within a certain range. To illustrate, he could walk out in the middle of the street without indicating that he wished to cross and every single car would not only miss him, but any other vehicle that swerved out of Norman's way. He had in fact tested this only yesterday.

This enviable trait lent itself to certain abuses of course and as such, he would often find himself in the betting hall. He was quite careful not to rouse any unwanted attention to himself, but found it rather difficult to resist the temptation. Roughly once every month or so, he would make a small bet here and there if he was at all short on cash. He especially enjoyed placing bets on a horse named Biscuit. The rider was no doubt thrilled with the sudden success of Biscuit, completely unaware of the fact that he owed it all to Norman Fisher, currently residing in a humble home on Carmel Street, London England.

The novelty however, had long since worn out. Norman Fisher was bored. Everything he did worked out, tailored perfectly to his every whim. He couldn't help it, and had been so fortunate as long as he could remember. He desired excitement, and volunteered during the Second World War as well as Vietnam. Needless to say, he made it out alive and nary had a single bullet strayed near him or his Company at all during the wars. This good fortune propelled him through the ranks of the British Armed Forces quite swiftly indeed, until his honorable discharge as Brigadier General.

Surprisingly, his unusual circumstance was vexing to him, whittling away at his will to live. He had all he could ever want except the simple reassurance that he wasn't taking it all for granted, that it could just as easily be taken away. Part of him desperately wanted to lose something, perhaps his life, and the other was too afraid, far too accustomed to the cool shade of fortune.

One Thursday, he decided to go for a leisurely stroll and in typical fashion, the very moment he stepped outside the rain stopped and the sun escaped from behind the wall of clouds. He began to whistle a merry tune as he cavorted gaily down the sidewalk. A neighbor was surprised to see Norman in such a chipper state as he usually seemed so somber, especially of late and remarked upon this to his wife. To which she replied,

"Well maybe he's met a woman." Tongue in cheek, the neighbor shot back to his wife.

"Or maybe he's no longer got one."

Norman overheard the exchange and chuckled quietly to himself as he walked onward. He saw George Whealy mowing his lawn and stopped to chat.

"Ho, George!" Said Norman Fisher in his slightly slurred way. The neighbor stopped pushing the mower and approached Norman who stood on the other side of the solid, brown picket fence.

"Ho there Norm. Turned out to be a bloody beautiful day, didn't' it?" George Whealy was broad across the shoulders and narrow in waist even in his fifties. His snowy white hair was constantly kept in a neat trim and a thick mustache adorned his upper lip. He played football with the Oxford boys and swore on his mother's grave he never lost a game against Harvard.

"That it did. Decided to do a little yard-work I see. It's occurred to me that my lawn's about due. Don't suppose you could lend me the mower when you're done?" George nodded affably, slightly jostling the pair of imitation Ray-Bans that sat on the bridge of his nose. "Well then, I'm off. Take of yourself, yeah?" Said Norman, sticking his hands in his jacket pockets.

"You too, mate. Come by when you like for the mower. I'm just buggerin around all day."

Norman shook George's hand over the fence and continued down the road, starting to whistle again.

You might reasonably ask why Norman Fisher was in such high spirits that day. The answer to which is in the account of the previous day of that morning.

On Wednesday, Norman Fisher was going about his usual business. He dropped in to visit some of his veteran friends for a beer or two. They swapped the same old war stories, remarking as usual on their bizarre stroke of luck throughout the war. Once, Norman had indulged in more alcohol than usual at one of these socials and spilt the beans on his secret. There had been an odd sort of silence at the table, and then Fisher's former Drill sergeant burst out in a gale of laughter, spewing his beer all over the poker chips in front of him. The laughter spread across the room, and Norman had never heard the end of it since, earning him the nickname of "Lucky."

Well, later on that day Norman stopped by to make a bet of exactly six-hundred pounds on his favorite horse, Biscuit. The register was surprised, as this far exceeded any past bet he had made but the bet was on. This then brings us to Thursday, the morning of which the race took place.

Norman Fisher continued on his stroll, even skipping a little as he couldn't contain the relief he felt. Down the sidewalk from where he currently was, and inside Norman Fisher's house lay the afternoon paper, resting on the arm of a brown chesterfield. Buried among the headlines and size 11 font was a small article which explained how Biscuit lost by default, having thrown a shoe in the race that Norman Fisher bet on.

This wasn't ordinarily something that would cause a man to skip and jump on a sunny day, but then, this was no ordinary man. This was Norman Fisher, the luckiest man in the world and today he was decidedly unlucky, his wallet and heart six hundred pounds lighter.