Suggested Audio Candy:
 The Persuaders “Some Guys Have All The Luck”
 Art Mooney “I’m Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover”
Cricket “Lucky” McKenzie was no stranger to ill-fortune. It started the very moment his parents named him Cricket on account of the fact that he was home-birthed at their rural farm amidst a chorus of chirpy grasshoppers and things only escalated from there. In the past year alone, he had been struck by lightning seven times, been bowled over by a milk float travelling at a paltry 3km/h, stubbed his toe so many times that it now resembled an overcooked kidney bean, and suffered uncontrollable diarrhea during the third lap of the 300m backstroke whilst trying out for the state swimming team. He finished 0.07 seconds outside of qualification that day and, on his journey home, suffered multiple lacerations when attacked by an alley cat after dropping his kit bag on its tail while waiting for his bus. The abrasions then turned septic three days later.
Bad luck just seemed to find Cricket wherever he went, despite his very best efforts at thwarting it, and it had led him to becoming an acute agoraphobic. Somehow he had managed to muddle his way through to twenty-one years old, though not without significant incident. Six months back his entire family had been decimated by a plummeting Brontosaurus skull outside the nearby museum and, while he did inherit the house, it was in mortgage arrears thus he also took on their debts. For the first few weeks he could barely bring himself to vacate his bed, culminating in an agonizing open sore the size of an orangutan’s fist on his right buttock. Eventually he decided he would be required to become more active as he had no intention of trekking to the emergency room, as his last visit to the hospital had ended on a bum note also.
What should have been a routine tonsil removal turned awry when one of the interns accidentally pre-loaded his intravenous drip with his own colostomy bag. He hallucinated for three days straight and contracted MRSA shortly afterwards, leaving him sworn off medical care for life. Cricket swapped his bedstead for the downstairs armchair and sat in front of the television day after day, attempting to numb himself of the pain with daytime home improvement programmes. Alas, the armchair in question was defective, and one of the busted springs shot straight through the cushion and directly into his open sore, causing him to kick off his left slipper which, in turn, shattered his flat screen. He took this as a sign and decided instead to dig out his father’s old wireless from the wine cellar. Astonishingly, it still worked. This provided a rare stroke of luck for Cricket but it didn’t last long.
The armchair was filled with duck down feathers. Whilst scrubbing his dishes the following evening, a wayward quill brushed past his nose causing an ungovernable sneezing fit. The force of his nasal attack blew said wireless off its perch and into the washing up bowl, electrocuting him where he stood and causing every last hair on his body to vacate its follicle. And there wasn’t a single person present to wish him “gesundheit”. After that incident he became terrified of his own shadow and there appeared to be no secure way of passing the time. He had never been particularly green-fingered but figured that, considering his own home wasn’t safe, a spot of harmless gardening was the only way of getting some fresh air every day without needing to socialize.
His first and last girlfriend had dumped him three years back after suffering a urinary tract infection after their failed attempt at intercourse. He wasn’t what you would call unsightly; even God couldn’t be that cruel. Indeed, he was somewhat dashing, or at least until the great storm of 2013 when a hunk of tarmac loosened from the main road and hit him square in the face, causing his eyes to cross permanently. Since then he had sworn off girls also and taken to excessive masturbation. This, in itself, ended in tears as he had been born with too much skin around his Johnson and it became snagged in his thumb ring during one particularly rigorous session. As he laid sprawled naked across his divan, gushing blood from his genitals, he asked himself a question. “Why me?” There appeared to be no forthcoming answer to that poser.
Anyhoots; back to gardening. Cricket decided that, given his appalling track record, he would leave the pruning scissors in the tool shed and stick to his blunt trowel instead. It was going rather splendidly for the first three days or so and he managed to dislodge all manner of unruly weeds from his plot. At this point he began to grow a little more adventurous and erected a bird bath in the center of the lawn, filling it with nuts and seed for his local feathered friends. Suddenly Cricket began to feel a real sense of ownership and accomplishment. The tide appeared to be turning and nothing untoward had occurred for almost a week when he broke his duck with no shortage of style. It was all going well until Matthew swooped down from the rooftop.
Matthew was a magpie who Cricket decided to name on account of his regular attendance. It wasn’t as though he had acquaintances to spare and it got mighty lonely without someone to lend an ear, thus he decided to voice all his woes despite the fact that all conversations remained strictly one-way. It really felt like Matthew understood his plight and he never appeared to object to offering a shoulder to cry upon. Finally, Cricket felt like things were starting to look up. They weren’t. Eventually, Matthew grew tired of hearing Cricket’s hard-luck stories and decided instead to launch an unsolicited attack on his so-called buddy. After landing directly on his bald head and digging his talons into both peeper sockets, ironically curing him of his crossed-eyes in a rare stroke of luck, the bird commenced to peck his cranium furiously.
Three smacks with a nearby shovel killed Matthew stone dead. Alas, every time Cricket attempted to remove the carcass from his skull cap, his eyes crossed over once more. The bird’s claws had somehow managed to become ensnared in optical nerves both sides and the only solution appeared to be donning a bird hat for the rest of his natural life. Matthew’s orphaned offspring took great umbrage to Cricket’s new bonnet and took it as mean-spirited taunting. Since then, they had circled his house with vitriolic contempt waiting for their moment to strike. He may have been shockingly unfortunate, but Cricket was nobody’s fool. The garden was now strictly off-limits also.
Things were steadily spiralling towards crisis and he knew full well that this was no kind of existence to lead. The boredom was intensifying daily and he just wanted it all over with. However, something his grandfather had said to him as an infant had always stuck with him. “Son, one day your luck will change. Never give up boy”. The very next day, Lawrence McKenzie III perished when a routine windsurfing expedition ended in tragedy and they were the last words he ever spoke to Cricket. In honor of gramps, he battled on through the torment, desperate to find some truth in his personal heroes’ encouraging statement. Surely you ultimately make your own luck? Something had to change; Cricket would be required to buck this abominable run of misfortune.
Armed with new-found positivity and a zest for life, Cricket decided to answer his door the following morning, despite the fact that Jehovah’s witnesses were the only visitors he ever seemed to get. True to form, upon opening his front door, it was Mabel Croucher, the dotty old dear from the local parish, clutching a pamphlet all about the marvels of the spoken word. Sensing that he may be interested in what she was selling, Mabel began to rattle on about the holy spirit and why it was a critical time to banish oneself of any sins and indiscretions. It all amassed to white noise for Cricket and he found himself daydreaming whilst waiting for her to cut to the chase.
Then it happened. “Son, one day your luck will change. Never give up boy”. It was like some sort of epiphany; almost as though his grandfather was right behind him, whispering the verse into his eardrum. Suddenly something happened which Cricket had no explanation for and neither did he particularly care. Bottom line was that the black cloud above his head which had followed him around doggedly for twenty-one years appeared to lift and shifted itself across to Mabel. It was like a massive weight had been lifted and instantly he felt Matthew finally relinquish his death grasp without any repercussions whatsoever. He was cured; 20/20 vision once again and the dull ache in his right butt cheek began to subside.
He slammed the door in Mabel’s face, possibly a little too hard as it caused her to commence choking on her false teeth, and darted straight for the kitchen where he remembered leaving a scratch card months ago. Frantically he scored away the strip and, lo-and-behold, he had won fifty bucks. It may as well have been a million as it denoted a change of fortunes which he’d all but given up on long ago. The world, once a glum place filled with peril and angst, was now his oyster. Hurriedly he grabbed his coat and house keys, and headed off to the nearest bingo hall to continue his fluky turnaround. As he bounded down the street, carefully sidestepping a discarded banana skin, with an additional spring in his stride, he gave one last look of consolation to poor Mabel who was running away in the opposite direction soundly panicked, pursued by a flock of embittered magpies while still retching on her lodged dentures. For the first time in what felt like forever and a day, Cricket felt truly lucky.