The Superstitious Boy

By
Jerome’s eyes scanned the test, looking for errors that the teacher may have made. Finding none, he stuffed it into his folder. An A was an A, he thought to himself.

“Pssssst!” his friend Andrew whispered, “What’d ya get?” Jerome made the sign of an A with his fingers. Andrew’s eyes and mouth widened, followed by the look of “you dirty dog.” Jerome smiled pleasantly. Trying to do the math in his head, he finally came up with somewhere around 94%, an A in language arts. He sighed, he had done well this quarter. And after all, a B in the first quarter would be bad luck.

On his way to cross country practice, Jerome looked at his watch, 15 minutes. He had to hurry or he’d be late to cross country. His pace quickened. He looked down at his watch again, 10 minutes. Again, his pace quickened. Jerome heard the rustling of leaves overhead, the wind shook the trees and tousled his dark hair. A chill crept up his spine, definitely autumn in the Mile High City. The school was in sight. He looked down at his watch once more, 5 minutes, plenty of time to change. Jerome trotted easily down the stairs and into the locker room.

Jerome paused at his locker, remembering the combo, 12-18-20, CLICK, it opened. He slipped on his Under Armor and running shorts and hurried upstairs.

“Ahhh, just in time, as usual,” Coach James said.

“Well, if I changed it, something else might change, for better or worse,” he responded. Coach James merely chuckled to himself. The team followed him to the track and huddled around, shivering in the autumn chill.

“Today, is a recovery day, we just had a meet yesterday, so take it easy. How about a nice easy thirty to forty minutes,” Coach James said, “Alright, head out.”

Jerome found Andrew in the crowd,

“Nice race yesterday,” he reminded him. Andrew’s response was a mere groan. Jerome laughed, he had done really well in the race, he finished 15th out of about 300 runners, whereas Andrew had finished 45th, not his best race. They started off towards Mountain View Road. After running for about twenty minutes, they decided to turn back. Jerome turned around and stopped dead in his tracks. There, twelve feet in front of them, he saw a black cat as it trotted across the sidewalk. Jerome started to feel sick inside, his great grandfather had gone insane after a black cat crossed his path. On the way back, Jerome tripped twice, leaving his right knee a bloody mess.

Jerome walked in the front door,

“Hello, I’m home,” he called to his family.

“We’re upstairs,” his mother replied. Jerome followed the sound into his little brother’s room.

“How was practice?” Mom asked.

“Not good. I saw a black cat and I tripped twice and bloodied my knee.”

“Is your knee okay?” she asked.

“Yeah, it’s fine,” he replied, “What’s for dinner?”

“You’re on your own, make a sandwich or something.” Jerome walked downstairs and took out the food. He snatched a knife from the drawer and it slipped between his fingers. It seemed to hang in midair for a second, point down, then it began its slow descent, faster and faster it went until THUNK! It landed point down in his foot. His nerves, surprised by the sudden injury, burst into flames.

“AHHHHHHOUCH!!!!” he cried.

“Are you alright?” his surprised mother called.

“Yeah, I’m fine, I just have a fricken knife in my foot!”

“What?”

“I have a knife in my foot!” He heard footsteps rushing down the stairs.

“I’m coming! George, get the first aid kit!” His mom came screaming down the hall into the kitchen, closely followed by his little brother, George.

“Sit in the chair,” she commanded. Jerome hopped to the chair, wincing with pain. Carefully, Jerome’s mother slid the knife out of his foot. Jerome let out a yelp.

“Sorry, I tried to do it carefully.” She yanked out some bandages and wrapped his foot.

That night, Jerome thought he was doomed. He didn’t think he’d make it. Not after seeing the cat and especially not after getting his foot impaled by a knife, what horrible luck.

Jerome trudged to school, limping because of his lame foot. It had been two days since the black cat incident and he had a math test and an economics test since then. Both of which he had gotten C’s on. That will bring my grade down by a lot, he thought. At school, he realized that he had forgotten to bring in more lunch money. This meant another lunchless day. His stomach growled and a weird drowsiness came over him.

Over the next couple of weeks, his grades began to get steadily worse. He was kicked off of the cross country team because he skipped practice four days in a row. None of his friends wanted to be around him anymore, he had become really tired and he was detaching himself from the social world, or so it seemed to them. He couldn’t help but feeling like there was absolutely nothing he could do bring back his luck.

“Jerome, I need to talk to you,” his mother said one night after school.

“About what?” he groaned.

“Jerome, your grades are way down and you were kicked off the team. And not to mention you also stopped hanging out with your friends.”

“It’s that stupid black cat, my rotten luck is the reason, it’s that stupid cat,” he replied.

“Jerome, you need to improve your grades and start talking to your friends again,” she said, “Just fix it, somehow.”

“Mmmmkay,” he sighed, “I’ll try.”

“Now go to bed.”

The next day, he told himself he was going to start to do better, until he fell down the stairs on the way into school.

During Language Arts, he felt horribly sick.
“Mrs. Kitorakie, can I go to the nurse? I feel horrible,” he asked.
“Sure,” she replied.
The nurse called his mom to come pick him up. She pulled up to the front door of the school. Jerome climbed in.
“Let’s go to the doctor,” she said.
As they pulled up to a red light, it suddenly turned green. Jerome saw a ray of hope. Some good luck, he thought.
A huge semi-truck came barreling through the intersection!
Jerome’s eyes opened to a lot of white and he could feel that he was on a nice, comfortable bed. He could see a few blurry figures mumbling amongst themselves. There were a few beeping noises in the background.
“Where am I?” he asked. His eyes came into focus again.
“In the hospital,” a soft voice answered, “You’re gonna be fine. You’re mom was just released a couple hours ago. And I think someone is here to visit you.”
“Grandpa!” Jerome exclaimed excitedly.
“Yes, I heard you were having some bad luck. I came to talk with you. I just want you to listen. Now I know how superstitious you can get but I hope you realize that seeing a black cat means nothing, absolutely nothing. Everything is in your head, snap out of it and don’t bring anymore bad luck upon yourself. Now, I must go, I have to tend to your grandmother.”
“What you’re leaving already?” Jerome asked.
“Yes, I have to,” he answered, “See you later.”
“Yeah see you.”
“Umm, you can leave with your mother now,” said the nurse a few minutes later.
On the way home, Jerome thought long and hard about what his grandfather had said.
The next day, he returned to school and aced the math test. His friends were talking to their cured friend again. Life was normal once more. Then, on his way home, he accidentally walked underneath a ladder at a construction site. But he wasn’t going to let his stupid superstitions ruin his life again.





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