Thursday, July 12, 2012

So Jumped the Luck Stealer ( Short Story 1)

This is back from 2008

                                    So Jumped the Luck-Stealer

            He stood there.

            One could see the bridge out of the hospital window, in the room where his mother was. In the bed covered in “It’s a Boy” cards, gift certificates, and germs from the hands of the many people who came to visit, lay a sick woman with a beautiful view of the world. Outside, a building company was building a bridge across the New York Bay. Its arches bent into fabulous shapes of geometry, connecting mainline New York City to the huge Pyramid City that now stood on its waterfront. It was a technological marvel, a city inside the most secure shape in the world, standing on water. At first, it was a Japanese invention, meant for Tokyo, but Ethan Crosby brought the rights to it a long time ago.
Angelina Tyler, just gave birth to a beautiful baby boy in this very room. She pushed him out, the end of her bed pointing towards the window, into the beautiful new world, expanding in its own glory. She had been a victim of war, revolution, and the bombing of her country. She had lived through bomb shelters, reformations, and mass poverty. She saw the men who fixed the world, lucky people, their actions written down into the history books. It came of course at a price, her brother died in Iran, her assets were destroyed in Korea, but they were all right now. She had dealt with it all, the war, the poverty, the death toll, the reformation, but the cancer, that was going to kill her.
She found out 18 months ago, they gave her 19 months to live. 9 months later she was pregnant. Dr Ann Toberson brought back Vincent, Angelina looked at him, her son, and she felt a warm feeling in her breast, maybe love, quickly subsiding. She knew she didn’t have long to live.
Many people showed up at the funeral of Dr. Ann Toberson. She had died of cancer. It was a long fight that lasted five years. Angelina Tyler and her son Vincent, recently six, wore black. Angelina, looking blushed and beautiful, held Vincent’s hand, as the casket was put away into the earth. She kissed him; and turning to her husband they decided to get into the car to beat the traffic over the Crosby Bridge.
When he was in seventh grade, with the help of his mother Vincent Tyler build a miniature solar system, it was his idea to insert the isometers. The thing spun around on its own, the isometers, carefully monitoring that the ratio between all the planets was accurate. The teacher had no hardship deciding that this project was better then the one Pierson Allen of ninth grade had presented. Vincent brought home his science project with its official Crosby Junior Achievers Award, a blue sticker with a golden 1 on it, and placed it on the mantelpiece in the living room, next to a picture his father took of Pyramid City, from the hospital window; in the room he was born.
With his second place red ribbon tied firmly on his Wind Funnel, Pierson Allen, went to the house of Joey Patone. The Patones were friends with the Allens, however were always at work. It was here, that Pierson began to drink. Drinking a whole beer, in a minute, he slammed the bottle down on his wind tunnel, and threw both in the trash. Pierson’s life was never the same; he was sent to Crosby School for Troubled Children, his window looking down upon a graveyard. The only visible tomb from his room was a tomb with a medic cross shaped headstone upon it.
Standing in his Advanced Sociology course, Vincent gave a graduation presentation, which in no way reveled he was merely 18. Surrounded by his classmates, teachers, guests, parents, members of the Crosby Collegiate Association, and other people who wanted to see what the ruckus was about, he made a speech to an ever growing crowd, about the benefits of social monopolization. He quoted Ethan Crosby five times in speech, each time without the use of note cards. He looked at the whole audience and never down on the floor, the only person he looked longer at was his mother.
He spoke confidently, and explained everything well. Kids understood him, teachers admired him, and he was even able to convince old people that the current definition of a monopoly, did not have the same negative connotation it carried in pre-Crosby years. He was awarded a free scholarship to the college of his choice to study any social science he wanted to. He accepted it, on one condition. For the first time the Crosby Scholarship was split among two people, Vincent Tyler and Steve Kruz, the boy who won second place. They went to college together and were best friends for life. Steve never forgot what Vincent did for him, and was loyal to him forever.
In college he met his wife, a petite little girl of 20, with dark hair. He beat up her boyfriend who abused her, onto a status that later caused the man to commit suicide. He threw the best keggers on campus, participated in tons of activities, and got frat pledges laid. He participated in starting a movement that legalized marijuana, and throughout all this he managed to graduate with straight A’s, helping his fiancée and Steve achieve similar grades.
He went to graduate school for three years, but was soon called out by the Crosby Company to fill in on their management staff. He filled the role of a man named Shelton Bates, who was close to Mr. Crosby. The man’s son recently died after smoking too much tainted weed, from Florida which caused him to OD on traces of heroin. Vincent soon found jobs at the company, for both his wife, and Steve. Himself he got close to Mr. Crosby.
Crosby, lost for words by the death of his oldest colleague’s son, gave Vincent the job as the new head of the Crosby Science Department. 9/10 of the world brightest people worked for this department. After a few years, some luck, and some hard work by Vincent all the world smartest people worked there. Under Vincent they produced theories on black holes, cured cancer, and closed ozone layers. Vincent himself was there when Brian Dawning’s proved that Genesis and the Big Bang were most likely the same event.
Peter Halbcorb, of the newly bankrupted Halbcorb Science Institute stood on the roof of his repossessed building, looking at the Crosby Pyramid City. His last hope, a scientist he nurtured, funded, taught, and raised, a man by the name of Brian Dawning, had a new boss now. He clutched the newspaper which held on it a picture of Vincent Tyler and his wife, Ethan Crosby, Steve Kruz, and Brian Dawning all standing as a group. He threw the newspaper of the roof, and the wind carried it like a feather, next to it he fell like a stone.
Steve Kruz, hand on the bullet-wound, said goodbye to the world. He saw the shooter a women being placed in a cop car yelling “Jesus saves”. He saw his best friend, a man who he had stood by his entire life, crying
“You should have let her get me, Steve”
“I owed you one buddy” was all that Steve could reply.
Steve was buried, the only thing in the casket but his body, was his second place sociology award.
Crosby retired, handed down his company, everything, to the only person he trusted. Vincent, the son Crosby never had, now 35, stood in front of the Pyramid City Bridge, looking out into the bay addressing, his employees, his staff, and the citizens of New York and Pyramid City. He talked about the company in the new century, and the new name it would fly under. Pyramid City would be renamed after its creator Crosby, as The Crosby Pyramid City. The company building was renamed too, after the man who died for its ideals; it would be named Kruz-Corp. Both stood under the titles of Vincent Tyler companies. Perhaps only one man looked upon this unhappily, he was an elderly man who was visiting his son’s grave. Shelton Bates knew the company was supposed to be his.
He had kids, four sons and two daughters. He named one, Angelina, after his mother, who was always his inspiration. He named the other kids after his father, his friend, his wife, Ethan Crosby, and Brian Dawning, a man he strongly admired. He made sure they all had successful childhoods, and would have successful lives. His kids were privileged, but not spoiled, but none turned out like him. In his family room, were six racks of second place ribbons, all placed under a bigger rack of his first place awards. His kids hated him a little for it, because they were always known as Vincent Tyler’s kids. They all moved away when they got older, none of them wanted to do what he did.
His work was fine. He stood there, 55, thinking he would give it 10 more years and retire. He was blind to the metamorphosis his company had made.  Crosby Pyramid City was now overrun with crime and corruption. Members of his own company, making the poor poorer, and the rich, themselves, richer. In the days of Crosby, the company stood for raising the level of the economy by “teaching the poorest members how to fish, so they could provide for themselves”. Now the company taught nothing, and cared little for the poor. In the slums of Pyramid City, people took down the statue of Steve Kruz, at a protest, kicking its head around on the streets.
He retired and left the company at 58, he reconnected to his family. He brought a house in LA, his whole family moved there. He saw his grandchildren and smiled seeing them. The only traces of his former success were the luxuries all around him, and the company being talked about on TV.
He was 62 when he realized what he had done in his life. He walked throughout each step he took and noticed all the people his actions affected negatively. It took him ¾ of a year to see the damage his luck caused others. It took him the rest of the year to figure out what to do about it.
He stood there, on the bridge, which he closed down for the night, due to his good connections. He looked down at the world thinking about all the lives his life ruined. The doctor, who absorbed his mother’s cancer, the kid who died because he legalized marijuana, the father of the kid who lost his position, to the man responsible for his son’s death, and many maybe-countless others, all of whom had terrible luck when interacting in the life of Vincent Tyler. He heard the sounds of police cars, and saw the lights approaching the edges of the bridge. On one side of the bridge was his legacy, Pyramid City, on the other side, his birthplace. However, all around him was the truth, with it as his guide he jumped into the waters below, everything went black.
He was ascending on a cloudy elevator towards some gates in the sky. He looked down, into the city, then up into heaven and smiled. Down below, squinting carefully he could see millions of people standing around and on the bridge. It was his world and his legacy, his people he was leaving behind. However it now appeared different.
Down upon the main coastal street, adjacent to the bridge, a homeless man wanted to see what the ruckus was all about. He was almost hit by a car, crossing the street, and would have been if he didn’t luckily see its reflection in the glass building of Kruz-Corp across the street. It was Vincent’s decision to use reflective glass, when the building was erected. He said when the world looked upon his building they would see reflected the thing that inspired him to build it.
A poor man, jobless, walked along over the bridge to his house where his kids are waiting hungry. After losing the last of his money gambling, he doesn’t have enough for a loaf of bread. He walks over to the heart of the crowd and spots a paper in the sewer drain, next to area Vincent jumped off. He finds the first check Vincent ever wrote which is easily sellable for thirty million dollars as memorabilia. It fell out of Vincent’s pocket when he jumped.
Vincent Tyler’s life ends as luckily as it began, he spends the rest of his days in heaven, if there is such a place, looking down finally seeing all the good things his life did for people. It is too late to go back, he made his mind up now, he chose to only see the bad consequences he had put upon the earth. That is the curse of man; who spends his whole life looking at a tree, instead of stepping back and seeing the forest. One rotting tree or one strong tree for that matter is no indication for the status of the forest as a whole.
 But it is too late; you can’t go back and change the things you have done. So: jumped the luck stealer, so he then taught me, and so I tell you now.      

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