Another Day Jim

Jim was convinced this was going to be his lucky day. Luck wasn't exactly the first word that entered your mind when you met Jim. He was a happy go-lucky guy who enjoyed life despite the fact that life hadn't been particularly fortunate to him. Even the day of his birth Lady Luck seemed to be smiling on everyone but him as either he lost his parents or, more probably, his parents seemed to have lost him - if parents he ever had.

As a result he was brought up by a dragon-like, elderly lady who instilled in him the importance of finding a name other than Jim, at which he was volubly assisted by a classful of young prep-school brats who gratefully proposed several such appelations none of which Jim felt particularly at home with, and of which only one stuck.

Jim was a bright intelligent boy who enjoyed researching things of all kinds. Indeed, it was the general opinion of most of his teachers that he would go far in whatever direction he chose to go. Until, at least, his teacher had the bad luck to mistake a single letter on a chemical formula for an after school experiment to be conducted by several of the more promising school boys; The bad luck might have been the teacher's but it was Jim who concocted the explosive mixture. So the school got a new science laboratory paid for by the insurance but all Jim got was a ceremonial boot in a rather sensitive part of his anatomy.

So Jim returned home and did his best to eke out some sort of a living as a writer. Indeed, he was quite talented at it and several people seemed interested in his work. A friend even promised to do what he could to alert an uncle of his who was in the publishing business, so at last it seemed Jim's luck was changing. Well, indeed it was. Jim's work was read and published and the author soon became a household name... at least the supposed author. For when showing the work to his publishing uncle Jim's friend had actually taken all the credit to himself, conveniently forgetting to mention that it was actually Jim who had written such wonderful masterpieces.

It was then that his one stroke of luck really came about. After a short but difficult illness the dragon finally became no more. At last, Jim was free of her constant taunting about her name and revelling in the prospect of the will. Jim was convinced there could be no other other inheritor than he, and so it was with great excitement that he learnt two days after the funeral that he was now the proud proprietor of several thousand pounds worth of debt and a totally unsellable country mansion. Negociations with the state brought an offer to take over the house at zero cost if Jim promised to vacate within the week. But Jim's hope of obtaining reverse death duties, i.e. have the state pay him taxes for inheriting nothing but debts failed to materialise. It was just two days after relinquishing the house that the Van Gogh was found.

Jim was by now in fairly desperate straights. He was penniless, homeless and living off the charity of his good friend Wild Oscar who had apparantly not succeeded in persuading his uncle to sell any of Jim's but who had become a renowned author himself. Wild, in an obvious attempt to atone for his subterfuge, was showing an uncharacteristically charitable disposition towards Jim and the two were seen everywhere together. It was in Wild's library that Jim found the book.

It was an old volume of case histories and the moment Jim read it, he knew it was going to make his fortune. To cut a long explanation short, if an item of value is found within one month of its having changed ownership, the original owner had the right to claim 10% of its value, on condition that he staked his claim personally and within the hour of the item having been sold. If that was true, then Jim's luck really was about to take a turn for the better. After all, 10% of 70 or so million would be a tidy sum to live off in anyone's book.

Jim realised that a lot of his back luck, at least the kind one experienced every day, was due to his own lack of organisation. So this time he promised himself to be particularly meticulate in preparing his plan. The auction was to take place at the Sotheby's house in Paris. He would travel over to Paris the evening before. He knew enough French to stake his claim although it was likely that English would be acceptable. He booked a hotel just 100 metres from the auction house and he checked and double checked that all the papers he needed were on hand and valid. This time nothing could go wrong. This was to be his one lucky day. In 48 hours he would be rich and his luck would change. Indeed, so lighthearted was he as he made his way to the local train station that he completely overlooked the large billboard outside the newsagent's which read:

Lightening Transport Strike Paralyses Eurostar

6 comments:

Great story! I really enjoyed reading it!

13 June 2008 at 15:58  

Happy-go-lucky guy with great misfortune. Great take on the challenge...Makes me wonder if he is really oblivious, especially with the sign.

I like that he overlooks the sign and I think that this can be used on a larger scale...Missing "The Signs" throughout. If that makes sense.

13 June 2008 at 19:58  

OK, combined with your comment on Write Anything, I'm trying to figure out the references, especially given the bit about Jim being teased and needing to find a name.

But it seems like Jim has a good run of bad luck going on!

13 June 2008 at 22:04  

Sometimes when reading about anyone wealthy you find out the truch about their personal life- Like Elvis- Mega star- haunted with drugs and depression.
Awe the ying/yang of it all... supposed to keep us balanced... but in the matter of luck, I would like to be on the good side.

13 June 2008 at 22:45  

A really entertaining read with a great sting in the tail!

14 June 2008 at 01:35  

The ending was perfectly sublime. Nicely done.

14 June 2008 at 06:20  

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