My imaginary daughter, Mary, came to the gym with me today. She enjoys watching TV on the elliptical machine while I turn purple on the gauntlet. Mary keeps one eye on me at all times and reminds me to be “suh … tull” when I encounter a rather attractive specimen in tights. As we left the gym and climbed into my Jeep, she noticed a ladybug on my window.
“Oh my gawd, Daddy! Look! It’s good luck.”
“It’s a bug, sweetheart,” I said atheistically as I lowered my window. Naturally, instead of flying away or falling outside the car, the bug rode the window down and landed in my lap. You would have thought a starving piranha was tossed there based on Mary’s reaction, which caused me to flinch, open the door, and swat it away.
“Jeez Louise. It’s a goddamn bug, you nut.”
“You said a bad word. Oh, and you killed an innocent creature sent from the afterlife to bring you good luck. You’ll probably have a satellite fall on your head or something now. I’m not standing anywhere near you. In fact,” she continued as she got out, “I’m calling a taxi.”
“Get in this car right now, young lady.”
“The bug’s not even dead, anyway.”
“How do you know?”
“Because it has wings. It just flew away. I saw it.”
“Get in the car.”
“Fine, but if some eighteen wheeler careens out of control and splats you all over the window, I’m not even going to mourn. You do have life insurance, right?”
She reluctantly got back in and secured her belt. She stared at me as we drove out of the parking lot. As fate would have it, some idiot came tearing around the corner, slammed on his breaks, and stopped within three feet of my door.
“Look, honey, we don’t do superstition in this family.”
“Then how do you explain what just happened? I think it was a sign from Juno.”
“It was just coincidence.”
“Didn’t your horoscope say something about staying in bed today?”
“It’s just some punk in a damn Toyota who was probably on the phone.”
“Oh, and he just happened to be passing by at the exact moment you reached the corner.”
“You’d better go back and check on the ladybug.”
“I will not. Stop being silly.”
I pulled out and turned left on my side street. As I accelerated up the hill, a bird took a giant dump which landing in a perfect star formation at driver’s eye level. Mary raised an eyebrow as I pushed the windshield wash button, resulting in a white and yellow semi-circle smear.
I turned to the right and flipped a U-ey. When I pulled back into the space next to my original one, I was careful to avoid running over the bug, which would have probably caused a lightning strike. As soon as I put the Jeep in park, Mary jumped out. Sure enough, she found the ladybug crawling around on the pavement, unaware of the angst it caused me. She lifted the bug gingerly, showed me, and gently blew in her palm, causing my lucky bug to fly away.