Superstitions are in doubt in this light-hearted story by H. Johnson-Mack.
DON’T put those new shoes on my table!” Jim Bunting yelled as Sam was about to unload her shopping bags. “It’s bad luck.”
With a little squeak of exasperation, Sam dropped them on to a chair instead.
“Really, Gramps. You and your old wives’ tales!”
Despite the generation gap, James and Samantha Bunting had always been the best of friends.
Jim was in the audience for every one of Sam’s sports days and school recitals; he’d introduced her to the joys of Dick Francis novels and glam rock, and was now just as supportive to her five-yearold son, Josh.
Sam and her husband, Callum, both admired Jim immensely, apart from this one little thing.
“I know what you think about my superstitions, you being a scientist.”
Jim carried the groceries through to the kitchen and fetched a drink for Josh, who was currently dancing round his legs.
“Call me old-fashioned, Sam, but this world is as full of misfortune as it ever was, so if a lucky charm can offer me a bit of protection, I’m happy to carry one.”
Sam looked up from the percolator she was filling.
“Rabbits’ feet and four-leaf clovers? You really believe in all that stuff?”
“Personally, I’d rather not tempt fate. Here’s an idea, Josh. Why don’t you see if you can find Mummy a lucky four-leaf clover in the garden?”
When he came back in from showing Josh the clover patch, Sam was shaking her head.
“We may be living in the age of technology, but when it comes to luck, there’s nothing wrong with a helping hand.” He grinned. “Take your interview next week, for instance.
“I know how much you want this job, so wouldn’t you feel just a bit less nervous with a lucky charm tucked into your handbag?” Sam wrinkled her nose. “No charm is going to secure me a position with one of the leading research companies in the country, Gramps.”
“No,” Jim conceded, “but it might make you more attractive to the interviewers! Now, where did I put that cake?”
On the day of her interview, Sam found herself thinking back on that conversation. She’d spent a lot of time preparing for this, but still she was full of self-doubt and stomach butterflies.
Would she be able to sell herself and convince an interview board of strangers that she was the one they were looking for?
She took her time getting ready, smiling when she spotted something that reminded her of Jim.
Her hand hovered over it. Did she really need to take along a good-luck charm? After all, she didn’t believe in superstitions.
Walking down the road to Josh’s school some hours later, she was still smiling, but this time with inner triumph.
The interview had gone well; she’d managed to quieten those nerves enough to convey her enthusiasm for the job and what she could bring to it.
As he’d shown her out, the head interviewer had promised she’d get an answer by the end of the day. If only it could be the one she wanted!
Sam crossed her fingers. Well, as Gramps would say, with a little bit of luck . . .
Her mind in the clouds, she narrowly avoided walking under a ladder against a shop window.
“Whoops! Sorry!” she called to the man on the top rung engaged in carefully repainting sign lettering, and whirled out of the way.
The cry came too late. Sam had barely time to turn before she felt something slam into her.
Jim was taking advantage of the afternoon sunshine to tidy up the garden. His little scientist would be calling soon to let him know how the interview had gone.
When the shrill ring came, Jim went to answer the telephone with an unearthed weed still in one hand.
“So, tell me,” he demanded, laughing as he picked up the receiver, “when do you start?”
But his smile soon faded when he heard what Callum had to say.
“No need to look so blue,” the nurse told Jim as she led him down the hospital ward. “She’s going to be fine.”
“My poor girl!” Jim wailed when he saw Sam’s leg. “What on earth have you done to yourself?”
“You won’t laugh?”
When Jim nodded, she sighed.
“I was avoiding walking under a ladder and crashed into a cyclist. Hey, you promised!” She protested as Jim covered his face with his hands, his shoulders shaking.
“Accidents happen,” the nurse soothed as she plumped up Sam’s pillows. “It could have been worse than a badly sprained limb and some bruises. You must have been born under a lucky star.”
“Something like that.” Sam waited until the nurse had gone to attend to another patient before she beckoned Jim closer with a conspiratorial grin.
She drew a book from her bag on the bed and opened it at the title page to reveal a four-leaf clover – or, at least, an extra petal stuck carefully on to a three-leaf plant to make it so.
“Josh was disappointed not to find a four-leaf one after all his hunting so we decided to create one,” she explained. “I took it with me to the interview. The job is mine – once I’m back on both feet again!”
Jim laughed delightedly. “That’s brilliant, Sam. But I thought you didn’t believe in those old wives’ tales.” Sam shrugged.
“As a wise man once said, when it comes to luck, there’s nothing wrong with a helping hand.”
Sam was a scientist, and certainly did not believe in luck!