Penny Fate

Penny Fate

A short story about how fate may control our lives. A lucky penny is found and it helps keep the routine of the protagonist’s walk home, uneventful. That is even despite the tragic wreckage that plays out in front of them. How much luck is there to go around?




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It happens so often. Nothing. Or at least what I perceive to be nothing. The routine of walking home every day. Point A to Point B. The objective just an uneventful repetitive loop of nothing. Don’t bump into anyone. Don’t trip over the broken pavement. Don’t cross the road until it’s time to. Don’t make eye contact, just play music loudly to avoid the risk of human interaction.


I watched it flow in front of me. The car skidding along on its roof, hitting the curb and flipping, sending it rolling towards the bench. In its destructive path, it cut a stunning and graceful figure. There were sparks flying around, smoke getting tugged in a chaotic battle of ever-changing drafts of disrupted air. The smell of burning rubber, a strange acrid char mixed with fuel. There was a dancing chorus of flames lapping at the edge of the car’s bonnet lighting the way, being fanned by the air, as the car took a sideways swipe at the bench, sending it into the middle of the street.

The car also caught a traffic light pole, standing sentinel-like in its authoritative stance of precision-timed scheduling. But as the bench was lifted asunder from its anchoring in the pavement, the pole’s stern stance was shattered too as it tilted over then fell. The light exchange hit the ground and splintered into fragments. The car’s momentum was abruptly halted by the immediate resistance of the bench and the pole combined, the twisted metal carnage coming to rest, half on and half of the pavement.

It was a scene that I could never forget. Not because of the explosive misfortunes of the accident in front of me, but because it confirmed that my walk home was truly uneventful.

Yet again.

Having a moment of carnage and terror unfold in front of my eyes, wouldn’t normally be described as uneventful. But for me it was and that is because it didn’t happen to me. I wasn’t the one tumbling around, tossed like a rag doll inside the flipped car. I wasn’t sitting on the bench into which the car crashed. Although I should have been. It’s easy to see things like that, to revel in the relief of retrospective moments where things could have turned out a lot worse. Like running late and missing the plane that ended up nose diving into the ocean. But I feel it is accurate for this situation.