The Unfortunate Fortune | Short Story

It looked like a crown on the horizon. The white tent didn’t have any signs, nor any indication of its purpose, but people gathered there every single day. At sunrise visitors were magnetized to it even though the show starts a bit later. One by one they formed a single-file line, which grew with a frightening pace, making all the other business envious. Sometimes the line snaked around, hiding behind corners, and even blocking the entire street. On other occasions, the people formed a chaotic mass that encircled the tent. This would, ultimately, lead to a peculiar experience, where an individual’s name would be called out.

“Timothy Burke.” A resonant voice echoed from within the tent.Some people called it a swindle, but to many it was a chance for the tent’s resident to put his skills on display. He knew exactly who arrived first.

“Here is your coffee.” A thin man handed both of his companions a cup. He had a humble posture, narrow shoulders, and a timid appearance. His name was Chris, and he was now third in line.

“So, Chris, as I was saying, I truly hope for a good wish. Something to do with my work would be nice. Maybe a promotion, or no, I’ve got a better idea, a raise. Or maybe both.” Robert, a burly man with an athlete’s posture, spoke wiggling his eyebrows. He was second in line. He continued to talk about what could be fixed in his life, and what should be left alone. When his rant was over, he asked. “What about you Chris?”

Chris took his phone out and typed.

“I have an idea.” Nancy interrupted, standing right by the tent. Her hands twitching with excitement. “I would like a new car, and a vacation. Sprinkle that with the good news of my kids getting into a prestigious collage, and I’m a happy, little soul.” She smiled.

“Nothing more?” Chris rolled his eyes.

“Well, my husband could spend more time home, or something like that. But the vacation is the priority.” She begun with a brief statement, but her story dragged on and on. She declared her yearning for affection and a little bit of adventure in life. Her monologue included everything from minor issue with her daughter to a desire to find a work. She didn’t skimp on the details, elaborating about anything and everything.

“And you Chris?”

Chris typed.

Nancy disappeared in the tent when her name was called.

“What would you like?” Robert insisted, asking for the third time.

Chris finished, and tossed his phone in the backpack. He contemplated, sighed, and smiled. “In all honesty, I would like my business to grow.”

“Oh, yea? You work around here, or somewhere else?”

“See that spiky tent over there?” Chris pointed to a purple enormous tent that was partially obscure. “It’s not as huge as this one, nor does it have the look of a crown, but it’s my cherished home.”


“The thing is it won’t grow until something stops. A certain someone is interfering with my business, and that is why I’m here. I will not cease until it stops.”

“And a fortune will help?”

“An unfortunate fortune for that certain someone, of course!” Chris cried out.

“I can’t say I understand.”

“Don’t worry. It’s a complicated matter.”

“Hey, Chris, you’re here again?” An elder asked, passing by. “I’ve been seeing you almost every day talking to people.”

Soon, Nancy exited the ethereal tent with a jubilant look. She shook with excitement and couldn’t stop gasping at the revelations she had heard.

Robert vanished inside. The entrance to the tent was completely dark and still. No sounds came from within in, and Chris grew impatient. He wanted to start another conversation, but decided against it. He had enough info. He was prepared. When his time came, he sauntered inside.

“What is my fortune?” he asked.

“Your scheme will succeed. People will believe you. You will spark anger, sadness, and disappointment in the hearts of my visitors. You will win. This tent will collapse, and disappear. Your dwelling will be the greatest, attracting more and more patrons.”

Chris shook in excitement. His been talking to people. He wanted to make it seem like the resident of the tent is sending his minions to do research for him before you walk inside. There were already a few instances where he convinced people of that. It’s only a matter of time.

Chris stood in awe as a malicious smile stretched across his face. “Anything else.”

“You will discredit me, and it is too late to change that.”




I hope you enjoy it. Comments and suggestions are welcome.
Thanks for reading.
Patrick Rain.

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