Excerpt The Improbable Legend of Lucy George:
I have this weird ability to be at the right place at the right time. I don't know why or how this was true, but it's happened to me more than once in my lifetime. For example, when I was six, I just happened to be the ten-thousandth customer at a grocery store. Mom had already gone through the line, but I wanted a candy bar. My mom had given me cash and taught me how to go through the line behind her. As soon as I paid, balloons flew into the air, music started…and I cried. I was handed a thousand bucks, which bought me more than my fair share of candy bars for a few years. I guess it was just my lot in life to be lucky, because it happened to me a lot.
Some people seem to think my life's story is a true legend, but honestly, it's just because I'm lucky. Always have been, and even though it seemed not to be true for part of my life, it always will be.
The last day of my senior year in high school was typical for me. After the niceties of handing in all our books and signing yearbooks, the students gathered in the auditorium so the administration could make sure there would be no senior pranks. Like they could stop it. The thought cracked me up.
The principal stood in front of the room. Mr. Wilder was a portly man, whose shirt's buttons always looked like they were going to burst open at any time. He wore a white shirt and a dark blue tie, with gray pants and a gray jacket. His glasses were those half-dealies, resting on the end of his wart-ridden nose. I wasn't a fan of Mr. Wilder, because he followed every rule to the letter, regardless if it made sense or not.
"Senior claaaasss…" That's how he talked, drawing out every last word in emphasis. "We're going to keep you here until the end of the daaaaayyy."
Everyone groaned, but we all knew that would happen, because we'd been told the same thing all week long.
He continued. "We want to diminish the probability of senior praaannnkkksss."
My friend and neighbor, Tristan, leaned over from beside me. "Shoot me now," he whispered. "It has to be less painless."
I covered my mouth so Wilder couldn't see me laughing, but Tristan was a hoot.
"What'cha gonna do about the offer?" he whispered.
"What offer?" I whispered back to him.
"Didn't Daria call you?"
Daria Tuff was the world's top stock car racer, currently participating in the Green Racing League. Tristan was my go-to guy for Daria. He spoke to her and the rest of the team on the phone, at least. He also went with me to races, because he was just a nice guy. But he hadn't interacted with Daria much at all. He'd avoided her at all costs, whenever possible, because she was a flirt.
"No, she didn't call me," I said. "What does she need now?"
"A race. Saturday in Kentucky. She called me to make sure you'd be there. She wants to go on vacation with some guy."
We lived in Indiana, north of Indianapolis, about four hours from the racetrack. "Won't someone see her when she's supposed to be running a race?"
"Probably. She's setting everything up for the vacation and will just fly in for the race. But she thinks she'll be too nervous to race, so you're elected. She thinks this guy's the one."
"How much?" I whispered to him.
"Five hundred grand for the total prize, so you get fifty grand. I didn't know why she didn't call you."
The principal droned on and on about the prizes for the senior class.
I leaned closer to Tristan's ear. "I don't know. But fifty grand would be nice."
"Miss George," Mr. Wilder said.
I jumped in my seat.
"Come up here."
Yikes. What had I done now?
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