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Chance Pool

Gabriel had never been interested in this sort of thing. Not in the slightest. It was too risky.

All his friends had put their name in the Chance Pool at some point in time. If people didn't do it during high school, they typically would in their twenties. The possibilities were just too tempting.

But not Gabriel. He'd stayed away from that thing. He had the worst luck already. He was always tripping over things or getting into fender benders (when his insurance premiums got too hight, he'd given up the whole driving thing and got the bus) or getting ketchup on his shirt. Everyone heard the horror stories about putting your name in the chance pool when you were down on your luck. No one wanted to end up like Jerry Edwards of 1995 - poor guy hadn't even made it half a mile away from the Chance Pool offices before a bus slammed into him.

So Gabriel truly had to be losing his mind.

He stood outside the Chance Pool office building, staring up at the garishly painted blue and purple brick and sweating.

"Are you sure this is a good idea?" Gabriel said.

Marco nodded. "Absolutely. This is the only way you're going to get that job, you know."

Gabriel sighed. "I know. You're right. If I hadn't been late to that interview, I'd probably be in a better position."

There'd been terrible traffic - a power line had fallen in the street. Just his luck.

"Remember Lorrie from Comm 101?" Marco said. "She was having pretty tough luck when she came here and things turned out ok for her."


"Yes, I mean her boyfriend broke up with her. But she did get over her migraine problem."

"Well, that's good for her," Gabriel said.

He took a breath and stepped inside.

The lady behind the counter didn't look up at him right away. When Gabriel cleared his throat, she held up one finger while she finished typing something into a computer. Her glasses balanced on her long nose and a beaded chain held them behind her ears.

At last she looked up. "Here to drop your name?"

Gabriel glanced at Marco behind him. "Uh, yes."

"Both of you?"

Marco nodded.

The woman opened a file cabinet. "Purpose of the name toss?"

Gabriel picked at a loose string on his jacket. "Oh, well there's this job at Hendleton, Marvin and Girsch Law that's kind of above my level, but it's not completely out of reach and my dad says it'd launch my career, but if I..."

"Career advancement," the woman said. "And you?" She looked at Marco.

"Romantic relationship," Marco said.

"Very well," the woman said. "Fill out this paperwork." She handed them each a couple forms.

Gabriel felt like he was giving a new dentist his information. When he handed the lady back his forms, she glanced at it and nodded. "We drop names for career advancement on Mondays and names for romantic relationships on Thursdays. Good luck."

On Monday, Gabriel waited to feel something, like a change in the wind, but it never came. Maybe it hadn't worked. Maybe nothing had changed. Or maybe the luck had reversed. Maybe bad luck was on the way.

Gabriel waited and waited. When the phone rang and he saw it was from the law firm, Gabriel held his breath. He let the phone ring three times before he finally answered it.


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