Luck be a Lady (10-18-17)

You alone have the ability to give any “power” you wish to anybody any time… but you’re also really petty and use it for revenge / personal amusement

“No, it’s fine, go ahead and cut me off you bastard. Obviously you’re more important than I am,” I whined at the green truck that suddenly decided it needed to be in front of me to catch a turn. I needed to pump the brakes a bit, but it was more annoying than dangerous. I breathed deeply, trying to calm down. For my wife’s sake I began taking anger management courses, and they seemed to be working. I calmed down and forgave the rude bastard. It felt good to forgive him, and I smiled to myself when I decided I wanted good things for that person.

“Your safety is now a major priority for all policemen within a 10 mile radius of you,” I said aloud. I was alone in my car. Speaking helped me focus, though I did not need to say the words aloud. It was not long before red and blue flashing lights appeared behind the truck. He was speeding a bit, that can be very dangerous. I drove by with a smile on my face and continued to the grocery store. My pregnant wife had a craving. She insisted I not help her get over her cravings.

“It’s our first child, I want the FULL experience,” she said. Though she did say that if we had another child she would likely want my help to make that one easier on her body. Part of that full experience was me making eggnog in June. I could give her the power to always have eggnog in the fridge, but she insisted no powers during pregnancy. I had already been planning a subtle power set to give my child a good life, without it being obvious. She only specified the pregnancy, but I knew once she held our daughter she would insist I don’t power her up. I would have a small window between birth and that moment to give my daughter a successful life.

I made my way to the checkout to pay for my groceries. My wife would demand the receipt to be sure that I did things “properly”. I got in line behind a woman who looked completely worn down by life. One of her kids, probably about five, begged for candy. Her other child cried because she wanted to be down on the floor looking at candy with her older brother. She had the bare minimum of food on the conveyor belt. Both in amount, and in context. Two loaves of bread, quart of milk, peanut butter, and a case of ramen noodles. She held her benefits card at the ready, watching the rising total on the P.O.S. display. I needed a receipt, she didn’t. While I considered most effective way to help her, other than just “you have money now”, a large man behind me coughed loudly.

“Get that foodstamp bullshit out of here. If you can’t afford kids, don’t have them.” He said with obvious disdain.

“Sir, one more outburst like that, and I’ll have to call security to escort you from the premises,” The cashier said. The woman in front of me stared at the total with tears streaming down her eyes. I knew she was trying to decide what to put back. Rather than help her privately, I decided to make a public gesture for her, then punish the asshole behind me in secret. It’s more fun that way.

“Excuse me ma’am, I’m super duper sorry. I don’t normally do this, but my wife is super pregnant and I’m in a bit of a hurry. Would you mind terribly if we just grouped up our groceries so I can pay and get out of here? I know it’s rude to ask, but by way of apology please let me pay for your groceries this time. I need to get home to my wife,” I said. Placed my carton of eggs and cinnamon sticks next to her bread on the conveyor belt. I grabbed a couple of chocolate bars to throw on top.

The woman seemed confused, still reeling from the humiliation from the guy behind me, but luckily the cashier understood. She nodded at me and began ringing up my couple of groceries.

“Just what she needs, more handouts,” the guy said under his breath. Loud enough to be heard, not loud enough to be a disturbance. I turned around and smiled at him.

“I think everyone can use a hand every now and then, don’t you?” He glared at me.

“A real man does things on his own,” he gruffed at me. I just smiled at him in return, and turned around to pay the cashier. The woman in front of me had not said anything, but the kids noticed the candy bars. They stood next to my bag that held the eggs and cinnamon. Then, a flash of brilliance hit me. After I paid the cashier I gave the woman a 100$ bill and a five dollar bill. She looked at me confused while the man behind me grumbled about being held up.

“I thought you were in a hurry to get home to your wife?” He said. I gave the patrons behind him the power to choose different lanes and cleared the way.

“Those chocolates are for my wife, I’m sure you understand. But I want you to take this right now. Go stand behind that man and buy chocolates for your kids,” She nodded at me. I needed to give her a bit of power over her emotional state to get her to move, but she did. I took my groceries, and decided to wait. It might arouse suspicion, but nothing I couldn’t power my way out of. I wanted to watch the fun.

I moved, and finally the man stepped forward to pay for his case of beer. I gave him the power of luck, just for a second. Alarms went off.

“You’re our millionth customer! You’ve won a year’s worth of groceries for free!” The cashier said with a smile. The man whooped and hollered while everyone stared. The managers and store owner came over to congratulate him. The woman behind him stared at me and looked sadder somehow. She thought I missed out. I just smiled at her in return and winked as friendly a wink as I could manage. I took away the man’s luck. Seconds later he yelled in a rage.

“What do you mean I don’t get the groceries??? What kind of bullshit is this?” His face was red and splotchy with strain as he screamed.

“Well sir, several eye witnesses reported hearing you say that a real man doesn’t take hand outs. Free groceries for a year is a hand out.”

“But it’s a contest! I won!” he yelled. The manager shrugged.

“It’s more of a company wide promotion. You didn’t actually do anything to enter the contest, and of course we have the right to refuse service to anyone anyway. I believe that based on your behavior we are refusing you service today. But you may take the beer for free as a sign of our appreciation.” All activity had stopped when the sirens went off. Four members of the security staff stood next to the owner, and I gave the large man the power to understand he could not win this particular situation, because he definitely needed it. I left after he left, on my way out I heard the alarm go off again and knew the woman behind me had won.

I hoped not having to worry about groceries for a year would help her get to a better place. I could have given her the power to be successful, or rich, or any number of things. But, I decided the best way to help her was to just give her a hand up, and hope she wants success for herself.

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