Friday, April 1, 2011

One Lucky Turtle

This post was written for the Red Riding Hood Prompt. This week's assignment was as follows:
This week we want to challenge you to try something new.

Is there someone who drives you crazy?

Someone who really gets under your skin.

It doesn't have to be someone you know (although it certainly can be). It could be someone famous. Or even a character in a book.
I had no idea where to begin with this until I read this horrific article from TreeHugger yesterday which actually made me cry. I decided to take the clueless route (forever on a quest for the good in people) rather than demonize this guy, but there is definitely another, sicker tale that could spring from this article...

"No!" his fist came down on the table,"You never understood this. You are too old for this teaching! Listen carefully to me: There is no luck, there is only life," he leaned in, speaking in low, harsh tones, "Life flows like a river. Can a river be controlled? No, not totally, and not ever by 'luck'. You must position yourself in your river so that you control what you can and be ever-aware of its changing directions. Be present in life, don't be lucky."

He grabbed my hand and looked into my eyes, "NO LUCK! If you wait for luck, you will get washed away! That, my son, is what you have been missing." When my hand dropped to the table, I knew the conversation was over.

That was last night. I know my old man thinks he knows what he is talking about, but all I ever hear anyone talking about is luck. It's sad that he doesn't even realize how lucky he is! He found my mom, got married and had a kid all by the time he was 31 years old. By that time he was already in a management position in the Geely office (they make cars). I, on the other hand, am 33 years old, sitting on this damn subway after another non-management shift at Jiangdu Dajiang Chemical, which works on... well, it is nothing like cars. And, oh yeah, I'm still single.

I look around at all these people on the train with me and they look satisfied. Here's a group of kids with a camera having a blast - I remember those days - I can't believe I'm going to be the miserable guy in the background of all of their video. How the hell did it come to all of this?

Something's gotta give. My luck's got to change...

Here's my stop. Sihui - almost home.

Wait a second. What's that? There's a vendor by the entrance, she looks pretty popular, I wonder what she has, she's new.


She's selling key rings to bring luck! I must have one. I give her my money and she asks, "Which one?"

That's easy, "The turtle."

What an unbelievable find! A turtle good luck charm. I am on my way, climbing out into the sun of the last day of my luckless life when I am stopped by a reporter, "Hello, may I ask you about your purchase. I am from The Global Times."

 Whoa. If that isn't an instant shift in luck, I don't know what is - The GLOBAL Times?! I tried to compose myself, "Sure."

"OK, great then," pulling out a phone to record our conversation. "Sihui station C entrance. Tuesday afternoon. Man in 30s purchases the Brazil turtle keyring," then looking at me says, "Sorry about that...  Can you please tell me why you just bought that keyring and what you plan to do with it?"

"I'll hang it in my office, it looks nice and brings good luck."

I don't know if I imagined it, but I think the reporter looked at me for a beat too long. I wonder if he is like my father and doesn't believe in luck. He stopped recording and took a picture of my new purchase. I was overwhelmed - now a photo, too? I asked if he could send it to me on my phone. Here it is:
A turtle keyring. photo by Li Bo
That's one lucky turtle.


  1. I fear this guy will always be clueless.
    Poor, poor turtles.

    This was great writing! And great character development, too. It would also be interesting to read your take on the prompt making this guy into a villain too.

  2. I like that you chose the clueless route but I also think it'd be interesting to see this written as a man who knows what he is doing but just doesn't care. I can't believe that this was based on a true story!