Peter Dudink

The Miracle Man

1

When I was a teenager, I always wanted to be a saviour. Trouble was, I could never find people less fortunate than me, and one day I so got desperate that I decided I had to help the ones more fortunate than me. Anyway, one day while I was puttering about in a garbage can I heard this pitiful groaning next door: “Oh sweet Jesus, how long must I wait for a child? I’ve been a good girl all my life, haven’t I?”
  Without hesitation, I straightened my shirt and rang Ms Lucky’s doorbell. Yes, that was her name. Anyway, she didn’t answer, so I heaved a brick through the window and shouted, “EXCUSE ME! I THINK I CAN HELP!”
  The wailing stopped. The woman picked up the brick and looked at me in astonishment, possibly because the brick was made of baked dung.
  “Ms Lucky, I know a spell that can make you pregnant,” I said and waved my wand to help her understand.
  The brick plunked onto her foot, filthy slang leapt from her tongue, and in the ensuing silence her loneliness returned and she considered my offer. Perhaps she was mulling over what people would think once she was pregnant, since it was common knowledge that her man was sterile.
  “Well,” she finally began, “it’s certainly very kind of you to offer. But can you promise that the child will be good?”
  “Hmm. What would God do?” I wondered, and suddenly realized I should check the woman’s qualifications to rear a child. Still, I had already raised her hopes, and I didn’t want to add insult to her despair.
  “It will be a fine child,” I promised.
  “Sweet! But hey, is this cheaper than the fertility clinic?”
  I stood there, stunned by her insensitivity. She noticed, apologized and took me in. The filthy apartment needed help too, but that wasn’t the time. I cast my specially formulated spell of immaculate impregnation and departed, confident of a job well done.

2

A few months later some depressing journalist reported domestic violence connected to the very residence where I had provided copious succour. So, the following week I stopped by to determine the truth. I could hear the screams and the violence a block away and dared not ask about the plume of smoke rising from thereabouts. Undaunted, I skipped onwards, danced up the steps and rhythmically rang the doorbell.
  Mr Lucky opened the door, belching smoke.
  “Hi. My name is Cootie Bugle. Could you get Mrs Lucky for me?”
  He hesitated, looking at me with suspicion.
  “COOTIEEEE!” a woman cried inside.
  The moment I grinned a great fist grabbed my collar and held me flush with the giant oaf’s face.
  “So it was you! You slept with my wife and gave us a colic baby!”
  “Ah, no, no, m-m-my wand did it, I swear!” I beseeched him to spare my life and produced the diminutive branch as proof of my innocence.
  “Oh,” he growled. “Then is it my child?”
  “Sure, if you accept it.”
  “YOU IDIOT! I mean, am I the father?”
  “I’m sorry, I never thought to–”
  The oaf screamed and I flew like a bird, or maybe more like a bag of garbage, before I could whisper a bruise-preventing spell, while hurtling through space, an angelic apparition distracted me with the words, “Cootie! I am your father! The man you inadvertently helped won’t be happy until he has a job. Help him!”
  That was when my body got intimate with the pavement with a great KERCRACK.
  “NEXT TIME I’LL FIND YOUR MOTHER AND PUT YOU BACK INSIDE HER!” Mr Lucky promised.
  I wondered how he would do that. I didn’t mind suffering to make people happy, but what good would I be dead? Presumably, somewhat less good.

3

One sunny day, after the fire department extinguished the flames and life returned to normal for the Luckys, I returned to discover, much to my surprise, that the Lucky’s and all their neighbors were living on the sidewalk near the burnt hulk of the low income housing complex. The adults looked pretty unhappy. Me, I barely resisted the temptation to drag them into the abyss of despair, and just managed to put on my winning smile before cheerily greeting the miserable lot.
  “Good morning everyone! Isn’t it an absolutely phenomenal day to be outside?”
  The Luckys looked unconvinced. Indeed, they looked ready to murder me. To make matters worse, with exceptionally poor timing, their little cutie-pie burst into a fresh round of high-pitched, ear-violating shrieks.
  I bent down and whispered into Mr Lucky’s ear, “Cheer up. I can help you get the best job of your life.”
  “Really?” he asked in wonder. “I have no education and my IQ is just 82.”
  “Never mind that! You see Mr Lucky,” I said, donning my Tony Robbins hat, “you have to believe in yourself and always understand that you have so much potential. You can do anything you want with your life. There’s no such thing as luck; just set goals for yourself and if you stay focused and eat your breakfast you can have the whole universe! Do you want a suit and tie? You can have them! Do you want a car and a carport? You can have them too! You only need a reasonable plan.”
  By the time I finished my spiel he was standing up and cheering me on in a fit of excitement. As soon as he got his feet back on the ground we decided he would definitely become the CEO of a major beer brewery. We started planning and had just finished drafting our day’s itinerary and initiated a personal transformation trip to a business suit discount outlet, when, as luck would have it, Mr Lucky tripped over an empty bottle and broke his honker.
  Whining, he said, “I’ll never get hired now!”
  “Not with that attitude! Listen, you’re more employable than ever! Faces don’t get hired, people with confidence and exuberance get hired! Now, pick up your feet and let’s go! There’s a new fast food joint looking for a short order chef.”

4

Three months later, still homeless, with his mighty minimum wage earnings going into medical treatments for his daughter, with dreaded winter edging nearer, Mr Lucky’s confidence began to falter and I was running out of speeches and advice.
  “Maybe you could use your wand again, Mr Cootie,” the man suggested.
  “I can’t just magically give you a job. Imagine all the questions people would ask.”
  “Could you improve my skill set?” he asked.
  “Your employable assets?” I repeated, musing. I knew very well that no miracle could grant intelligence to anyone, not even to the most woefully short-changed child of humankind. Well then, what was I to do?
  “Maybe Bob could start his own business,” the woman brilliantly suggested. “He used to deliver cold pizzas on foot. With super-powers he could deliver pizzas ten times faster than any car!”
  I was desperate for a solution, anything to salvage my honor and confidence in my life-enhancing, magical powers. I considered consulting with my father, but decided not to tempt evil. With a deft flourish of my wand and a catchy spell, Mr Bob Lucky received twin, gas-powered prosthetic devices.
  “HEY, THANKS!” said Bob, beaming as he dashed off through a blur of traffic.
  Though Bob believed in himself, no one else believed in his ability to deliver pizzas on foot, so it was back to life as a short order cook for the Lucky Heart Restaurant, to everyone’s surprise, he robbed a few churches and banks and sold all my sex toys to some kids. Then he bought a house and retired, leaving me to deal with the cops. Luckily I tracked the Luckys down to an affluent, uptown neighborhood. When I arrived, I heard the whole family weeping, sobbing and some wailing too. I offered a box of 30% more absorbent tissues, but their hands were full of crumpled, wet newspapers.
  “So, you’re feeling guilty, aren’t you?” I assumed, trying not to show my complete exasperation.
  They shook their heads. The child, not yet a year old, cast a murderous glance my way, shook a flaming finger at me and complained in perfect English, “Sure we’re rich now, but what about the rest of the world? It’s drowning in abysmal poverty, rock music, synergistic mob behaviour, wet dreams, fast food, family destruction, global cooking and 7-11s 24/7; – not to mention electrolytic advances in vitamin pill production systems. Did you think to read a newspaper, just once, before creating me?”
  I stood there, transfixed by my daughter’s piercing accusation. Then I did the only thing that seemed to make sense: I gave them my wand. Laura Lucky’s eyes lit up. Before I could escape, she jumped halfway across the room and nearly gave me an enema with my own wand! I escaped through a window and hobbled away, my buttocks impaled. Ten blocks away, out of breath, I wiggled the stick free and let out a blood curdling scream of frustration.

5

The whole family was after me, so I hid in a cemetery and wept and thought, “Why isn’t anything going right? Why can’t I make anyone happy? Why was I so unlucky?”
  “Cootie, don’t feel blue. Lots of people need you.”
  I turned and there he was, my confidence angel.
  “Ha! Who needs me?” I asked.
  “All the cadavers buried here. Resurrect one and you’ll see”
  I rolled my eyes.
  “Trust me,” the angel said.
  I fumbled for my bloody wand and reluctantly looked among the tombs for someone to revive.
  “Be careful,” the angel shouted after me and flew away, forever, I secretly hoped.
  Be careful, be careful, I repeated to myself until I found a headstone with the name, “Mr Totally Unlucky.”
  “Here’s someone who deserves to live again,” I concluded with confidence. In a magical jiffy I opened the grave and sprinkled the corpse with a secret concoction of invigorating vitamins. Within moments, the dilapidated body was reconstituted and stood before me, a beastly, horned silhouette in the night.
  “Aren’t you going to thank me?” I asked, hoping I had not made another mistake.
  No such luck. The resurrected monster laughed brazenly before bowing and saying, “I am much obliged for your kindness. BUT THE WORLD WILL PAY FOR IT!” With these words, he winked and left for the city.
  Unable to bear another failure, I snapped my wand once, twice, three times and leapt into the empty grave. I clawed the earth down on me and lay there, sighing, sighing until a complete idiot noticed me and convinced me to give life another chance.

Peter Dudink © 2008