Superstition – 1 of 2

Dexter pulled out his handkerchief and coughed violently into it. When his cough fit was over he looked at the wrinkled piece of cloth and he saw blood. He cursed under his breath and continued on walking. He had not yet taken ten steps when a speeding car passed him by. In any other circumstances a speeding car passing you by would not have been troublesome or even uncommon. On that time however, the speeding car ran over a deep puddle. Brown colored water splashed all over Dexter’s newly bought jacket. This time he cursed loudly. Passersby looked at him strangely as they kept their distance from him. Dexter was only twenty five years old but by looking at him you won’t believe that. You’d think that he’s at least twice that age. Most of his hair had fallen off and those that stubbornly remained on his scalp were a shade of dirty gray. Wrinkles had formed under his face (and wrinkles were starting to form under those wrinkles). He had not been able to sleep properly for almost a year (A YEAR!). His once muscular physique was now changed into that of a “Biggest Loser” contestant. He looked like hell. Dexter had no one to blame for his misfortune but himself. You see, Dexter was once an unbeliever. He once broke a mirror on the thirteenth of January. That certain date was a Friday.

They were drunk and they were having a good time. One of his friends told him to do it. All of his friends were superstitious. Dexter liked to think of himself as above them because he did not believe in bad luck or good luck—he only believed on himself. His three friends were coaxing him to do it. Dexter agreed. He had done it to prove something. He didn’t do it because he was triple-dog-dared to do it. He didn’t do it because fifty bucks was involved. He wanted to prove that they were stupid and he was right. He was eighteen. He was at the top of his class and a star in his own right. He had a beautiful girlfriend and friends who idolized him. He gave it all up because he wanted to prove something.

Dexter looked them all in the eyes—a smirk on his lips. “You better pay up Marv,” he told his friend.

Marv waved the fifty in front of him like a flag. Dexter looked at himself in the full length mirror standing before him. They saw it just standing on the street. They figured someone must have thrown it out. Dexter should’ve known better that fate just tossed him a line. Dexter should’ve known better than to be caught hook-line-and sinker. He rubbed his hands together and blew on them. Then he raised his hands, a fairly large rock held within, and he smashed the mirror without care. The others laughed. Marv paid the fifty. And Dexter got his seven years of bad luck.

At first nothing happened and life went on as normal for Dex. In other words, life was good. Three weeks after the dare Dexter graduated from college. Everyone was amazed. At such a young age and already out of college. But then the misfortunes started coming. The beginning was not that bad. A bumped knee here, stepping on a dog shit there. One would never figure out to connect the misfortunes to the broken mirror incident, especially if one was like an unbeliever like Dexter. The first years were mostly made up of scattered unfortunate (but on a minimal scale) events. One could say that Fate was just warming up. After all, it has seven years to dish out crap on Dexter. Why rush?

Everyone expected Dexter to easily get a job. His grades were good and he had a pleasing personality. But to the surprise of all he was still left unemployed on his second year out of college. Whenever one company started to consider hiring Dex, something would happen that would prevent it from coming to pass. One company Dex went to was about to hire him but unfortunately for Dex that company suddenly got bankrupt. Another company got sued and eventually closed down. The other one burned down. Doubts began to take shelter in Dexter’s head. But he shoved them aside and told himself that the next company would accept him. It never happened. Eventually he was forced to handle the family business. He told himself that maybe that was his stepping stone to greatness. It never was.

Another year passed by and another set of misfortunes plagued Dexter. His girl had left him for a more successful fellow. His parents’ pride started to disappear. His friends lessened (as well as his hair). On one afternoon, in the middle of Dexter’s fourth year of misfortunes, Marv visited him. He was on the couch with a beer in one hand and a chilidog in the other. His gut was starting to go round by that time. His parents had left him and moved out to a new house. Marv was seated on a chair beside the couch. His friend looked at him with the mixture of pity and disbelief.

“How you doing Dex?” Marv started asking. After they graduated, Marv immediately got a job as a scriptwriter. It had always been his dream job. Dexter was proud of him then, now Dex was just annoyed.

Dexter grunted in reply. Why wouldn’t he just leave so I can focus on what I’m watching, Dexter thought to himself.

“I know things had been tough but, well, you’re a great man Dex,” Marv said, “I know you’ll be able to get out of this hole soon.”

Easy for you to say, you’re a big shot now. Before you’d be doing anything I tell you to do.

“This is just so weird,” Marv continued, “you were the best of us. I’m sure things will start to change for the better. I know they will.” Dexter took a bite out of his chilidog. “So, yeah, I think I should be going now.”

About time.

Marv stood up and was about to head for the door when something hanging out of Marv’s pocket caught Dexter’s eye.

“What’s that?” He said, his voice hoarse.

Marv looked at where Dexter was pointing. “Oh this?” Marv laughed. “It’s nothing. It’s just a rabbit’s foot. I know you don’t believe in those kinds of things.”

“Rabbit’s foot?”

“Yeah, I keep it for good luck.” Marv said.

Good luck. The rabbit’s foot triggered something in Dexter’s memory—something that happened before they graduated. A challenge and a full length mirror. Dexter laughed. No, that’s just stupid. Marv left. Dexter continued on watching. That night, his television would suddenly stop working.