A Fair Opportunity, by Catherine Davis

“Step on up! Get your CO-incidence Plan, OR: your FOR-tay’un MYS-ter-ies! A ONCE in a lifetime OP-portunity!”

Miranda’s friends had taken off: no bialys or bracelets here. But the silver-haired man, his musical voice, his conjuring hands – this electric air had captured Miranda.

“Invest in your OWN beliefs, LAY-dies and Gentle-MEN!”

Suddenly it’s her turn. The silver-haired man and his partner rush her: Birthday? Right-handed; left? Favorite color? Now, THE question.

“My mom says there are no coincidences.”

“And your dad says – nothing but.” Miranda frowns. “Lucky guess,” he shrugs.

“Still, I don’t know what ‘fortayun’ means!”

“Sure y’ do, hon, otherwise you wouldn’ta come. Your Fortean Mystery is exactly the opposite of coincidence, see? How much you got?” Man Two talks fast.

Coincidence: one quarter; Fortean: five bucks. Miranda shifts foot to foot.

Man One sighs. “Coincidence is cheap. Popular. Makes people comfortable. But you seem a young woman of… ? Ah, you get what you pay for. Then, Fortean is… complex.”

“No guarantees!” interrupts Two. “You got the opportunity to make life easy.”

Miranda studies the piggy-bank money cupped in her hands. “One of each?”

“Noooo,” they chime. “Gotta be one way or the other,” Two adds, arms folded.

She starts– but they shush: “Whisper into my ear,” says One.

Pocketing her money, they flourish a fancy certificate: gold seal and all.

“Keep it to yourself,” they say, rolling it up.

Miranda hurries through the crowd, past cotton-candy vapors, clutching her prize – eyes wild with worry and wonder.

.

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12 Comments

Filed under Catherine Davis

12 responses to “A Fair Opportunity, by Catherine Davis

  1. This moves so quickly, and that is what makes it so fascinating. Nice.

  2. Melissa McEwen

    I hear the voices so clear in my head. I am like Miranda — captured by “the silver-haired man [and] his musical voice [and]…conjuring hands.”

  3. there’s a lot going on here. i had to read it a few times. the air of mystery and quirkiness work really well together.

  4. yes, the speed…marvelous and also the characters. form works very well here for me, i found myself breathless.

  5. Kim Hutchinson

    Captivating from beginning to end. Loved it.

  6. I am so so lucky to have such a terrific gathering of readerly writers reading my work. And commenting, no less. I thank each and every one of you – Susan, Lynn, Melissa, Len, Marcus, Kim – for your warm and generous words. This is a pretty crazy piece, a second flying leap at this week’s theme after the first turned into something longer. @ @ @ @ @

  7. Great ‘lady and the tiger’ feel to this. I like that we don’t know her choice.

  8. Michael Parker

    The ending of this is perfect. I agree with what has been said above regarding the pacing. The dialogue helps this story move fast. But what helps this is the tension you create by having the narrator forced to make a decision she’s not so sure she wants to make. These two elements of storytelling help make this ending spot on perfect. Great work. Best,

  9. breathless. i can’t believe you got so much in in so few words. cotton-candy vapors — wish i had written. peace…

  10. Pingback: Week #41 – Coincidence | 52|250 A Year of Flash

  11. Michael, I very much appreciate your insight about the tension. And hearing that the ending works is , well – music! Endings, ah, so tricky. Thank you.

    Linda, what a compliment. Truly, thank you.

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