... In Threes

This story picks up where the last one left off. I've included the closing lines of the previous story as a brief reminder. But if you haven't yet done so, you may want to go read the first part before continuing.

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

And this was where Jim's luck really did begin to change. Had he seen those devastating words proclaimed to the world by that billboard, his resistance would have been broken. He had staked his all on this one last plan in the hope of obtaining some little financial comfort for all his pains. But the words of the proverb "Where there's a will, there's a way" held little resonance for Jim. He would have turned around tail between his legs and headed straight back home, wherever home might be for a destitute like Jim.

But as luck would have it that he saw nothing and so he continued striding towards the international departures lounge at St. Pancras Station, blissfully unaware of what was going on. It wasn't until he arrived on the main concourse and saw the havoc there, that he realised something was wrong. A sickening feeling suddenly rose up from within, and the observant spectator may even have seen his tail begin to droop. But Jim's luck had changed, and with that change came a change in personality. Jim wasn't going to take this lying down. So he straightened his back, took three deep breaths and ventured forth onto the battlefield.

To cut a long story short the strike had not quite crippled Eurostar. Indeed, French law had recently been changed to insist upon a minimum service being offered to the public during strikes of this kind, so there two more trains leaving that day. And as luck would have it, Jim's ticket was for precisely one of those trains. The moment his fellow passengers realised that Jim was in possession of one of these treasures, he was inundated by people shaking fists full of banknotes and shouting out ridiculous sums in a bid to get a ticket. But as no one offered him the desired 10% of 70 million, Jim kept pushing his way through the crowds until he passed check in, and took his seat in the lounge to await the arriving train.

Everything went remarkably smoothly; so much so that Jim even began to suspect that something was up. Time and again he had to tell himself that things had changed; he was now a lucky man. Nothing would go wrong. But the extent to which luck had returned to him, was not fully revealed until that evening; Safely installed in the hotel, Jim decided to take an early dinner and get a good night's sleep. But the dining room door resisted his attempts to cross its threshold and Jim realised that in other countries they did things differently. Indeed, it was possible to dine out early in France, only early wasn't quite as early as he had expected. And as he had promised himself not to drink a drop of alcohol until the transaction was in the bag, he shunned the hotel bar, finding a seat in the lobby where he could while away the thirty minutes or so. Opposite him sat a young lady reading a book, the title of which seemed vaguely familiar. He tried to recall where he had seen it before. Unfortunately, he couldn't quite make out the name of the author. Gently he leaned across the table and asked if he might not cast a glance at the cover of her book.

Amis Kingsley by Oscar Lord Wild

Jim was incensed. He flicked quickly through the pages and it didn't take long before Oscar's subterfuge was laid bare. This was nothing other than his book. How many of the others had Oscar stolen from him? The discovery sent shockwaves up his spine and Jim soon found himself spluttering like a volcano about to burst its top. He could write, after all. Indeed, he was a published writer, even if the world ignored the fact. But he would make the world sit up and listen. Tomorrow, he would go to the auction and stake his claim for 10% of the selling price on the Van Gogh. Then he would return to London and set to right all the wrongs that had been done to him. On second thoughts, maybe he wouldn't return tomorrow. That could wait one or two days, at least. In the meantime, he would set about winning the affections of the charming, if somewhat dumbfounded young lady sitting opposite him. After all, all good things, even luck, come in threes.


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