I decide to pick up a scratch off ticket on the way to work partly inspired by Lucky’s gambling habit plus I am feeling a little lucky myself today. The ticket is a can’t lose. It is called “Lucky Cherries”. For those of you who are versed in my history you know that as a youth I used to play accordion for spare change at a brothel named “Lucky Sherry’s”. Sherry was an ugly broad but a remarkable lay that would let kids entertain her customers in the waiting area when there was bad reception on her television. That spare change aided my fun dip habit in getting out of control until rehab and methadone gave me my life back. The scratch off ticket was a bust. “Lucky Sherry’s” might have given me carpal tunnel, aka accordion wrist, but the name similarity didn’t give me any luck.
So I get to work and find that my luck might have come around. As a training exercise we are assigned a partner and are to go on a scavenger hunt in a district in the city. I get Chuck as my partner or shall I say, Chuck gets me. Chuck is a large black man who no doubt spends his days kicking ass and some how I’m sure he carves out time to take names as well. This just means if on this scavenge we encounter any street toughs or surly shop keeps that Chuck will have no kwalms with dispatching them quickly with the business end of a tire iron. We hit the south west streets like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. As I fumble in my pocket for my cell phone Chuck Cassidy asks me if I’m “scratchin’ my balls”. I tell him it’s “winter itch”. Because I don’t want to pay for heat in my own apartment I go to bars to take an available unsavory lass back to her place. All it costs me is a little dignity, an ounce of my seed, and sometimes living space for some microbial squatters in my unmanscaped shrubs. These squatters cause the itch. Chuck stares me down and says, “Seriously?” I grin and reply, “Chuck, look at me. Do I look like a man who would have had the look or the skills to work the business end of any woman’s reproductive system since the last winter Olympics?” “The bobsleds weren’t the only thing not sliding through the tubes these last four years.” Chuck laughs and we move on. We’re Cassidy and the Kid again. We complete the hunt with only a few hitches. We are brothers. I have found my place in the group. We make it back to base as we left, a team. I cherish my luck.
All trainees sit reporting the findings of our scavenge. Chuck and I are both for one and one for both. At least I thought we were. We got to number fifteen: a flier from a museum or historical attraction. Chuck lets out a laugh. My accordion wrists start to ache. My teammate regales the class on how I suggested we get a flier from what I thought was a museum across the street but what was actually City Hall. A bellowing laugh came from all students. The teacher exclaimed that I would need a “little extra help.” I clawed my way out of resource in kindergarden only now to be once again considered “slow”. Chuck was no brother. He was just another person using me as a springboard to complete his vault on the horse and get his medal. Just like Sherry using me and my fun dip habit so she wouldn’t have to pay for cable. I should have realized on Saturday, March 18th, 1980 at “Luck Sherry’s” that luck never existed as I sang and played my last song with my aching wrists and my aching heart. “But I want to let go/ You’ll go on hurtin’ me/ You’d be better off alone/ If I’m not who you’d thought I’d be…Oh Sherry.”