The two colleagues casually walked through the streets of Manhattan. The woman was a beautiful blond but wore black sunglasses designed for the blind. She didn't use a cane but was assisted by the man next to her. She was professionally dressed for a job interview she was scheduled to attend. In her left hand she carried a black briefcase while her right hand was ahead of her as if sensing the air. The man to her left wore a black suit. His eyes and hair were dark but his complexion was pale. The two seemed to know each other but did not behave romantically.
"Are you confident about this interview?" the man asked her.
"Perhaps I will be lucky this time," she smiled.
"It is ironic that you can give others fortune but not yourself," he said.
"The same could be said of your profession," she teased.
The man suddenly stopped the woman as she was about to cross the street. Cars rushed by in front of them with no intention of stopping for anyone. "Is this really a good idea?" he frowned at her.
"I don't know. Maybe I will learn something interesting," she said.
"I have a feeling you will be giving me more work to do," the man said.
"I'll try to make it interesting for you," she offered.
"I don't know how that is possible," he doubted.
"Just don't do anything rash while I have my fun," she asked playfully.
"Anything for you," he said with a parental tone.
The two then came upon the office building where the woman would come to interview for a secretary position. It was one of the taller buildings in Manhattan hosting stock market analysts for Wall-street. "Wish me luck," she grinned.
"You know I never will," he replied back.
She frowned at him and shook her head dismissively before turning back to the building. A businessman opened the door for her upon seeing her glasses. "Thank you," she said pleased and then headed towards the elevator.
She felt the engraved numbers on the elevator buttons and pushed the appropriate floor.
It was a rare occurrence for Rick to get his own cup of coffee. He emptied the pot and took a sip of his coffee in the hallway outside his office. His friend and fellow analyst smiled amused at him. "Now that your secretary quit you have to get your own coffee," he said.
"It's only temporary I assure you," he grimaced.
"I heard you're doing interviews today."
"That's right, but none of them are attractive enough," Rick frowned disappointed.
"I'm sure someone will turn up. This is New York City after all. There have to be millions of attractive women."
"Well, I just got a referral by some government agency and get this: she's blind," Rick scoffed.
"A blind secretary?" his friend wondered.
"Yeah, I'm going to give her five minutes just for the hell of it," Rick said.
"Well, good luck with that."
"Thanks Scott," Rick said and then walked back to his office.
Rick had no intention of hiring a blind woman to be his secretary but equal opportunity employment agencies had been harassing the company recently and some applicants were thinking about suing. He didn't have to hire her but it did behoove him to give her an interview. The blind woman slowly walked through the cubicles before she was stopped by someone.
"Can I help you miss?" a worker asked.
"I'm looking for a man named Rick. I have an interview," she said pleasantly.
"Oh, he's down the hall. I'll help you get there," the worker said eyeing her beauty.
The worker assisted the woman towards Rick's office and then went back to his cubicle. She knocked on his door but he did not reply. He pretended to not hear the knock and wait for her to knock again. She had to be made aware that he was in charge. She knocked again and he replied this time. "Come in."
She walked into the office and closed the door behind her. Rick looked over the woman's features with interest. She had great hair and her face was lovely. She looked to be in her mid-twenties and other than the fact she was blind she seemed perfect. He also enjoyed how she dressed; it revealed her figure without showing too much. At that point Rick wondered if he could interview her for an entire hour.
As she came towards her desk she greeted her by gently holding her hand and putting his hand on top of hers firmly. "Take a seat please," he said and then assisted her into the chair.
"Thank you for seeing me," she said pleased by his manners.
"Of course. So, do you have a resume?" he asked.
"No," she smiled.
"Resumes are overrated and they don't give the full picture. It doesn't tell me about a person's personality or their potential," Rick said playing along.
The woman just smiled amused by Rick. "So, what experience do you have in stock market trade analysis?" he asked her.
"I don't," she said.
"Well, that's not a big deal. You're applying for a secretary position, not my job," he chuckled.
The woman chuckled with him. "Can you type?" he asked.
"Yes, quite well," she said.
"Do you have a certificate?" Rick asked.
Rick smiled at how poorly qualified this applicant was and wondered why any government agency would have sent her to this company. Still the woman seemed confident despite not having any qualifications. "You have a bachelor's or a graduate degree?" he continued.
"I don't have that either," she said.
"You must have a lot of confidence to apply for a position you are completely unqualified for. What do you have to offer this company other than a pretty face?" he asked.
The woman then opened her briefcase and took out a piece of paper. Rick wondered if it was some kind of reference letter as she handed it to him. He looked it over and recognized the company symbols written on it. The list contained a dozen companies with instructions to buy or sell scheduled for tomorrow. Rick looked back at the woman but she didn't reveal any expression.
"Where did you get this?" he asked.
"I wrote it," she said.
"How can you know the prices of these stocks before they happen? Is this a projection?" he asked.
"No, this will happen tomorrow as it says," she said.
Rick pretended to be disinterested and put the piece of paper aside. "I can do analysis on my own. I don't need this kind of help, but what I do need is someone who can type," he said condescendingly.
"Your skills are good, but this is perfect. I can give you stock prices and trades well into the future and they will never be wrong," she said.
Rick stared at her and considered whether she was crazy or simply overconfident. "You some kind of fortune teller?" he mocked.
She smiled at that. "No, whatever I tell you will be the truth."
"You have no degree, references, resume, certificates, or skills but you can tell the future. That's your pitch to me?"
"Precisely and I will make you very successful and wealthy."
"You have connections in the stock market. You an insider trader?" Rick asked.
"No, I just know," she said vaguely.
Rick looked over the paper again and read the specific details. "Tell you what, if these trades match perfectly I will hire you on. But they can't be in the same ballpark; they have to be exactly the same as what this paper says."
"Then we have a deal?"
"We have a deal." The two stood up and Rick guided the woman towards the door. He then realized in his disinterest that he hadn't even bothered to find out the woman's name. "The agency didn't give me your name," Rick said awkwardly.
"My name is Fortuna."
The next day Rick looked over the trades of the day and eventually considered the list he had been given. The trades appeared to be headed in the right direction to what the paper was saying. By the end of the trading day the stock prices had matched perfectly to the piece of paper. Rick studied the paper and his computer but couldn't think of an explanation. The results were too random, too exact. If she was an inside trader she would have to have been connected to two dozen companies at once.
Rick considered giving his colleague Scott the list to look over but thought better of it. If this were true this information was gold. He wondered if the woman he interviewed named Fortuna had more information other than this page. If she could somehow predict future stock prices he could make ridiculous amounts of money for his clients, the company, and himself. He could be promoted to Vice President. He calculated how money he would have earned had he followed the woman's advice and realized just how much money he had lost.
He considered calling the woman but realized he hadn't collected any contact information. Kicking himself he left the office bewildered. As he was about to exit to go to the elevator Fortuna was sitting patiently in the lobby. Rick stared at her spooked by her smile and presence.
"How long have you been waiting here?" he asked her.
"Not long. Did you find my information accurate?" she asked.
"Yes, they were perfect. How did you do it?"
"Perhaps this isn't the place," she smiled.
Rick knew her meaning. If she were for real he couldn't have any of his colleagues know about it. "Let's go out for dinner and discuss business," he invited.
"I would like that."
Rick patiently guided the woman to a cab and took her to an expensive restaurant he knew. When they were seated Rick began questioning Fortuna's abilities. "How did you acquire that information?" he asked.
"If I tell you the truth you have to believe me," she said.
"I'll believe anything you say," Rick said.
"First, let me tell you a story. In ancient times there was a Greek goddess called Tyche. She gave men good and bad luck randomly. She was unpredictable and impartial towards all men. Some men would accomplish great deeds and then shortly thereafter lose everything; rags to riches and riches to rags," she said.
"Okay, I understand," Rick nodded wondering where she was going with this.
"Well, the Romans called her Fortuna and they say she claimed the lives of Augustus Caesar's heirs Gaius and Lucius when they were young men so that Tiberius could become Emperor," she said mockingly.
"Interesting," Rick allowed.
"So, when Christianity took hold of Europe my true origin was finally revealed," she said happily.
"And what is that?" Rick asked.
"I am the angel of fortune. I cause men to be prosperous or impoverished, and I have been given this authority by God," she said.
Rick was not a religious man and was apprehensive about this woman claiming to be an angel of the Lord. He was about to leave the scene but the prospect of future success kept him in his seat. It didn't matter if she was crazy as long as she had true inside knowledge of the future. "So, you keep the universe in balance? Every time a poor man becomes rich a rich man becomes poor?" he asked.
"No, I have been given the grace to decide how I wish to use my powers. I could make everyone prosperous or impoverish everyone. There is no equation that has to be balanced and there is no finite amount of riches one can receive," she said.
"So, why not make everyone rich?" Rick asked.
"If everyone was rich no one would need God. They would make their wealth an idol and then everyone would be lost. People become closer to God through their suffering, but people also need to prosper to keep their hopes alive. Everyone's fate is on a wheel so to speak, the wheel goes up and then it rotates back down and then up again. You could say it's like a wave length going up and down and up and down," she said.
"If that's true than why are some people poor their whole lives while others are rich," Rick smirked.
"When you're dead you lose everything you have," she smiled darkly. "Not every fortune is money. For some it is a large family and for others it is the ability to travel the world."
"So, you control the fortunes of everyone on Earth? How are you here now?" he asked.
"Think of me as a fraction of the entire thing. I can sense everything all at once backwards and forwards in time. I can sense the smallest point in existence and go through the universe all at once. I can be here and watch over billions of souls all at the same time. What you see now is like one cell of the entire body," she said.
"So, you take orders from God?"
"Sometimes but most of the time I do what I want," she smiled childlike.
"And God allows this?"
"You humans assume that you are the only ones being tested by God and that we angels are just slaves doing God's will continuously. We are students too always learning new things about the universe and what makes you humans do what you do."
"Why can't God just tell you everything?"
She gasped at that. "Where would the fun in that be? It is better to learn for ourselves the mysteries of the universe and then teach others. Having all of God's knowledge downloaded into my mind would be so boring," she shook her head.
The waiter then took their order and placed a wine bottle between them. "Do you drink?" Rick asked.
"I love wine," she said her eyes like saucers.
"Can you get drunk?" Rick wondered.
"No, but I can be if you want me to," she said.
"Well, that won't be necessary," Rick pushed back.
Fortuna filled her glass and then tasted it. "It gets better and better," she remarked. "By the way that waiter is going to have a good tip."
"What makes you say that?" Rick asked, he was usually stingy on that sort of thing.
She shrugged. "I hope you don't get food poisoning. That would be unfortunate," she smirked.
Rick caught her meaning. "So, what do you want with me?"
"I want to have some fun. I haven't done this in a while, not since 1929. I will give you stock prices so you and your clients will become prosperous and in return you will make me your assistant," she said.
"How can I trust you? Maybe you're trying to ruin me."
"Maybe I am and maybe I'm not," she shrugged.
"Why not do this yourself?"
"My power can affect people in a general way but with you I can focus my power in a specific way. I could change the world quicker and more effectively with you as my partner. And I want to learn more about human nature when it comes to wealth," she said.
The waiter then placed their food on the table. Rick looked over his steak with some concern and then looked at Fortuna for an answer. When she gave no hint he ate a piece. "This must be secret from anyone else. No one must know that I am getting information from an angel," he said.
"As you wish."
"I won't apply all of your knowledge or else it would look suspicious. The last thing I want is an insider trade investigation on me. Over time I will pick the right stocks and make my clients rich, but it has to be under the radar," he explained.
"Oh, you're different than the others who wanted riches immediately. Their wheels went so quick," she complimented.
"Right, so you will be my assistant at the office but if even one of these predictions is wrong I will know that you're trying to ruin me."
"You're a very untrusting man," she giggled.
"Is there anything else?"
"Not only will I be with you at the office but I will appear at your apartment as well. Wherever you go I shall go," she said.
"Fair enough," Rick allowed. He then brought forth his wine glass to hers. "To riches," he toasted. That night the waiter received the biggest tip of the week. After his shift was over late at night he went down the street towards his apartment. A gang of thugs quickly met up with him. They took hold of him and beat him almost to death and took his money.
Rick looked flustered in New York City traffic while Fortuna whistled a song. On the other side of the street an ambulance sped by but Fortuna kept whistling.