Daily Prompt: Advantage of Foresight

Daily Prompt: Advantage of Foresight

You’ve been granted the power to predict the future! The catch — each time you use your power, it costs you one day (as in, you’ll live one day less). How would you use this power, if at all?


The Shaman had given me the secret. The spirits had told him but he had been afraid to use it. He told me instead. He told me because he felt he owed me. I had brought his son back from the wars and he was grateful.

“Concentrate on what you really want to know,” he said, “when it is firmly fixed in your mind you must stand naked on high ground. When the sun reaches its apex you need only kiss your elbow. Immediately, all will be revealed. But observe strict caution when you use this power, your life will be shortened by a day. Use this gift sparingly.”

Well naturally, I thanked him for this bit of wisdom and then promptly dismissed it – until yesterday.

Yesterday I hit bottom. I’m not making excuses or looking for sympathy or anything like that but the weight of the world crashed down on me yesterday morning and I was going to cash in my chips. It was only a question of how I would do it. I liked the possibility of suicide by train or fast moving automobile but that would create a victim. What if the driver or the engineer had a conscience? They would then have to live with my death the rest of their life. I did not want to cause that agony for a stranger so I dismissed the idea. Likewise leaping off a building would undoubtedly traumatize anyone who witnessed it. I decided that doing this in solitude would be the right way.

I left my shopping cart and bedroll under the overpass and began walking towards the shore. My intention was to find a high precipice and cast myself into the sea. Hopefully, there would be waves to pound me into a rocky cliff base or a strong current to pull me further out to sea. But as I was walking across a large field I remembered what the shaman had said all those years ago. Then, I remembered that it was Wednesday, the day they pick the lottery numbers.

I looked at the sun. It was getting high. I needed to hurry. There was a rise in the middle of the meadow where I headed. As I ran I removed my jacket and shirt. Soon I stood naked on the rise, the sun was cresting – it was almost time. Painfully I wrenched my shoulder out of its socket and twisted my arm unnaturally until I could plant my lips firmly on my elbow. Concentrating on learning the lottery numbers I puckered up and kissed.

It was like a vision. I immediately knew.
17 53 12 36 81 8 with the bonus number of 42
Tonight’s jackpot would be around 900 million dollars with a cash value of 653 million.

I was smiling and at peace when the cop used a wrestling move to take me down. He needn’t have bothered with that, I had never even seen him approaching. He and his partner took me to the station and booked me. I was charged with public nudity and creating a nuisance.

The nature of my crime dictated a psychological evaluation and I was held overnight. They brought in a doctor to put my arm back in place, so I am grateful for that but I didn’t get to buy a lottery ticket. When they released me this morning I saw the headline in the times, some schmuck in New Jersey won the prize. Guess what the numbers were: 17 53 12 36 81 8 and 42.

But I’m no longer suicidal, I now have hope.

I only need to do this one more time when the payout gets big enough again, but I know not to do it in Central Park.



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