Can you narrate a short story about any situation?

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Here’s a story about the ability to see the future and why it might not be such a good thing.


by John Lance Jayne, 2014

Every morning, before going to work, Matt looked into the tall mirror next to his desk to check that he had put his tie on straight and that he had folded his collar all the way down. On this particular morning, he noticed something in the mirror that he had never before paid any attention to. Namely, he had crossed off six days on the calendar in the mirror, but only five days on the actual calendar on his desk. Evidently the mirror was not reflecting the actual reality outside it, but rather was showing how things would appear the next day.

"Irene!" Matt called out to his wife. "Take a look at this."

Irene came over to the mirror and looked in.

"Look at that calendar," continued Matt. "Its reflection in the mirror is a day ahead of the real calendar on my desk. It appears that the mirror is showing tomorrow."

"Well, then, go play the lottery," replied Irene. "Since you'll see the numbers a day ahead, you'll always win."

"I don't think I'll do that. I don't believe in gambling. Especially with this unfair advantage."

"Well, then, I'll gamble. I believe in it."

So Irene moved the TV in front of the mirror and looked at the numbers reflected in the mirror. Sure enough, the numbers in the mirror were different from the ones on the actual TV screen. She wrote down the numbers that she saw in the mirror. She then called in those numbers and bet $20. Sure enough, those numbers proved to be the winning numbers for the next day's lottery, and she won $200. Then she looked into the mirror and wrote down the new numbers that she saw in it. She called in those numbers and bet $200. Those numbers proved to be the winning numbers for the following day's lottery, and she won $2000. Then she bet $2000 and won $20,000. Then she bet $20,000 and won $200,000.

Irene never got a chance to bet again. For, before she got a chance to look into the mirror again, Matt looked in to check his tie and his collar ... and saw a skeleton looking back at him. There was a little hole in the side of the skull, and blood was dripping out of the hole. Matt felt around his own head, but felt no hole or blood.

"Irene!" he called. "Look at this."

Irene gasped when she saw the skeleton where Matt's reflection should have been.

"I think that means that I'm going to die today or tonight and not be around tomorrow," continued Matt.

"Why would you die?" asked Irene. "You're so young and healthy. And you have no known enemies. I can see why I might die. For my fellow gamblers see me winning all the time and probably think I'm cheating. And they all know who I am, since I have to give my name and address and let the host announce who the winner is before he will pay off. So my fellow gamblers might want to kill me. But I don't see a skeleton looking back at me from the mirror. I just see my ordinary self."

"Well, let's see what happens. It's always the unexpected that happens."

That evening, while Matt and Irene were enjoying a TV program, they heard a knock on the door.

"Who's there?" Matt called out.

"It's your neighbor Jake," said a voice from outside the door.

Matt knew his neighbor well and recognized the voice. So he opened the door and let Jake in. However, instead of acting with civility, Jake shoved Matt aside, went over to Irene, and pointed a gun at her.

"You're cheating at the lottery, aren't you?" exclaimed Jake. "Give me all your money! It isn't rightfully yours!"

"It's not here," replied Irene. "It went straight to my bank account by direct deposit."

"Then I'm going to kill you!" exclaimed Jake.

Before Jake could get a shot off, Matt jumped on him and struggled with him. During the fight Jake managed to point the gun at Matt's head and shot him, right in the spot where the little hole had been in the skull in the mirror that morning. Matt fell to the floor and never moved again. Jake then pointed the gun at Irene and pulled the trigger several times, but the gun had jammed and would not fire. He then ran out of the house and disappeared into the night. Later, when the police and medics arrived, they examined Matt and pronounced him dead. So the tall mirror next to Matt's desk had been correct in its prediction.

On the next trash-pickup day, Irene dragged the mirror out of the house and left it at the curb with her trash. She renounced gambling, donated all her lottery winnings to charity, and resolved to play fair for the rest of her life. She lived to a ripe old age, though only after having learned her very costly lesson at her husband's expense.


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