You delete a chain email that says if you don’t forward it to ten people, you will have bad luck for ten years. On your way out of the office, a black cat passes you. Then you find a parking ticket on your car. And, to top it off, your car won’t start. Was it actually the email? Write your response to the bad luck, as well as other ensuing events that make you wonder about hitting the delete button.
* * *
I awoke on the pavement as a piano crescendo faded in my ears. Three Jennies were staring down at me as they slowly merged into one.
I shook my head a couple of times. “Jenny?”
“Are you okay, Tim? A piano fell on your car.”
“Yeah, they were moving it to the second floor of the Arts building and the crane let go. I think you were knocked back.”
I looked at my car, now a Baby Grand Smart. The parking ticket still flapped under the one remaining windshield wiper. I tried to remember what brought me to the parking lot.
“There was a bottle of Aspirin in my car. I tripped over Inky.”
“Mrs. Grundy’s cat?” I nodded. “Let’s go back to my room.”
She helped me up and we made our way across campus to her dorm. Along the way I tripped over my loose shoelace and fell face-first into a slab of cake being moved between buildings. When I stood up some workmen went by with a ladder, which I hit my head on. As we got inside I heard a boom behind me.
Jenny looked back. “Small plane crash. The world has really got it in for you today, doesn’t it?”
“Yeah, I guess. What’s going on?”
“Well, let’s see. It’s Friday the thirteenth and there’s a full moon tonight. Did you do anything else unlucky?”
“No. Oh wait, I deleted that chain letter.”
“You deleted a chain letter on a paranormal nexus day? Ouch!”
Jennifer Nelson was my girlfriend, a foreign exchange student from fairyland. She was a wood sprite who used magic to assume human form, and she knew about this magical crap, so I trusted her. When we got to her room she took out my laptop while I collapsed.
“We’re in luck! It’s in your Deleted Items. Okay, one, two, three, … , twelve! Oh no, you’re the thirteenth link in the chain. This is really bad. You’re going to have to send it on.”
“But I don’t forward chain letters.”
“You’d better forward this one. It says ten years’ bad luck! Look what it’s done the first day!”
The fire alarm went off and the sprinklers activated in her room. She took out an umbrella and held it over the laptop.
“Come on, Tim. You have to send it, not me. Otherwise the luck doesn’t break.”
I picked ten names from my contacts list – people I didn’t particularly like. I made sure Steve, my lab partner, was one of them. Admittedly his dumbass stunt in chem lab had introduced me to Jenny, but other than that he was a total screwup. When I hit ‘send’ nothing happened.
“What’s wrong with this thing?”
“I think you have to apologize for deleting it.”
“Apologize? To an e-mail?”
“Just do it, Tim.”
I felt like an idiot. “I’m sorry for deleting you, chain letter. Please let me send you on.”
The message went into my outbox. At last it was over.