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Save Me!

by Sara Genge

Before Ted was born, a fortune-teller told his mother, he'd be the luckiest of men.

Ted must have heard her because, ever since then, he displayed an absolute faith in humanity. When the doctor failed to determine Ted's relative position to his mother's pelvis by palpation, he ordered an x-ray (it was the 90s) which showed him sprawled like a parachuter, face down, head firmly lodged against his mother's liver, back arched impossibly and feel pushing at his mother's lower left ribs.

He probably expected his mother to give birth to him in this position and even love him after the ordeal.

Other babies are pretty good at making a fuss when they're sick, but not Ted. He had total confidence in his mother's ability to tell hunger from pneumonia and indeed, she got pretty good at it after years of running after her child with a thermometer, catching him in her arms when he jumped out of a tree, hiding his bike after he'd crashed twice and, in general, rescuing him so effectively that Ted reached adulthood without breaking a single bone or ending up in the hospital even once.

He was born lucky, he knew, but that didn't save him from depression.

It was three in the morning. The barbiturates hadn't been easy to get, but he knew someone who knew someone. Even in that he was lucky.

Ted downed the pills with a shot of whiskey and cradled the bottle in his arm, hoping he wouldn't pass out until he had enjoyed a few more swigs. The phone rang and the answering machine went off.

"Ted, darling, what a stupid thing to do," came his mother's harried voice. "I'm sending the ambulance over, I've told them about the key you keep under the mat, so why don't you do everyone a favor and go to the bathroom to puke? It'll save them a lot of trouble."

"Why do I feel so bad? I'm supposed to be so lucky."

"I think it's obvious you are lucky. Anyone else would have been dead by now. You are a lucky man, Ted, and I seem to be your good luck charm."

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