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The Lucky Piece of Glass

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posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 08:08 AM
Heath and Pandora looked on in horror and disbelief as a several-ton truck bore down on Herbie and splattered him across the road.

Tentatively they crept out from behind the large dumpster they had used as a refuge when they saw the wayward vehicle heading towards them. The very little that was left of Herbie was not inviting to look at and Pandora wept softly as Heath bent down and picked up something shiny that showed itself amongst the ragged remains of Herbie's already tattered old coat.

'Here's Herbie's lucky piece of glass' he muttered. A grim smile flickered across his face 'well, it must've been lucky to survive that'. He snickered at the old and well-worn joke.

Herbie was a down-and-out who had haunted the downtown streets and befriended some of the kids and runaways in the hope that they'd share what little they had with him. Most of them would give him a hot drink when they could afford to or share a fag with him. Some of them handed over old dog-ends they'd found in the road.

Herbie was always good for a story and they'd feel safer sitting around a fire with him about, warding off the unsavoury elements of society with his unsavoury habits.

He'd been worse off in his youth than most of them could imagine, even after they'd lived on the streets or in squats.

Abandoned as a baby by alcoholic parents, Herbie had spent his life in care homes where he'd been brutalised and neglected. A small and runty kid, he'd been the target for bullies and workers alike.

No-one had ever found him loveable until one day in his late teens he'd met a scrawny girl who was just about as battered by life as he had been. Together they'd tried to make a go of their lives, failing miserably at every opportunity. Herbie couldn't hold down a job and, when his wife had become pregnant, he started drinking to blot out the worry of how they were going to cope with a new life.

After about five years, three kids and good few batterings from a drunken Herbie, the wife had left, putting their kids into care to repeat the cycle.

Herbie, knowing what they must be going through, suspected that his kids hated him as the cause of their misery. And so he'd drunk some more and gradually found he'd created the great holes in his memory that he'd been hoping for.

Sitting in the streets his true early life had seemed like a half-forgotten dream and so he began to tell the tales that so fascinated the kids, some of whom probably believed that he'd once been a high-flying banker who'd lost everything due to bad investment advice. He certainly seemed to know what the high life entailed - or so it seemed to those who'd seen little of life outside of the downtown slums.

Fascinating, too, for some of them was Herbie's lucky piece of glass which he always carried in his left-hand coat pocket and which he'd caress and fondle as though it were his baby. Often he'd say “this here piece of glass is lucky” and such was his belief that some of the kids actually started to think that one day it would bring Herbie his lucky break, so they revered it too, hoping that some of the luck would rub off.

The piece of glass in question was clear with a slightly bluish hue, little bigger than a watch-face. Fortunately it was quite thick which made it none-too sharp and Herbie could turn it over in his pocket as he walked - always aware that his lucky piece of glass was with him. So long as he had that piece of glass, all was well in Herbie's world.

Now, here it was being held by Heath who had never been a true believer in its powers. He shrugged as he looked at it and threw it in a nearby bin “No need for that any more” he sneered “especially after what happened to Herbie”. He and Pandora went away to tell everyone about the accident that had befallen an old vagrant who would be missed by no-one of any importance.

* * *

Sitting on a cloud, up in Heaven, Herbie found himself kitted out in a white gown and an actual pair of wings. A small harp nestled at his feet. He rubbed his eyes in astonishment “So it was all true, after all” he thought.

Having had little education Herbie's idea of the afterlife had been gleaned from cartoons he'd seen in the newspapers. He always read the funny pages before he settled under a pile of papers for the night, or folded one up to line his shoes.

He'd half suspected the depictions of Heaven were just a cartoonists' invention, but here he was, harp and all.

A gentle cough to his left startled him out of his thoughts. He looked round to see the very St Peter as illustrated in the cartoons. Nearly falling off his cloud, Herbie choked a bit. “Ummm...hello St Peter” he said politely.

St Peter smiled at him “Hello Herbie, do you know where you are?”

'Yes” said Herbie “I'm in Heaven and I never expected to come here. I thought I'd be going to the other place” - he'd seen Hell and the Devil in cartoons too and thought he knew what might have awaited him.

St Peter looked at him kindly, “You're not quite in Heaven yet, where you go from here depends on a little chat you're going to have with me”.

Herbie's heart sank – “How did that happen?” he asked himself “I distinctly remember leaving that in the road”.

“You're quite superstitious, aren't you Herbie?” asked St Peter “All your life you had no belief in anything, you certainly weren't religious, and yet you had your lucky piece of glass. How did that come about?”

Herbie told the story of the lucky piece of glass, how he'd found it discarded in the gutter where it had gleamed as the Sun's rays had hit it, making it the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. Certainly the most beautiful thing to be found in the gutter in that part of town.

So he'd picked it up and wiped off the grime from its edges. Cleaned up, it sparkled and became even more beautiful. A thing in its own right, not just an old shard from a shattered bottle.

From that moment Herbie had loved and treasured his piece of glass until it came to mean the world to him and he swore never to be parted from it. He'd told everyone how lucky it was and had managed to gain it a reputation among the kids he counted as his friends.

“Did you ever feel that way about a living being?” asked St Peter.

Herbie thought hard and felt a tear trickle down his cheek “I loved my wife once” he said “and I remember the day our first baby was born. I felt that way about them, but they were hard to look after. The glass was easy, even when I was drunk I could still treasure it”. He thought some more “It never complained about my drinking either”.

“What about your other two children?” asked St Peter

Herbie sighed and cleared his throat “It wasn't so easy to love the second one, because by then I knew how hard it was to look after the first one. So I closed off a bit” he admitted.

“The third one was just another mouth to feed and I couldn't bear it. My wife hated me by then, too”.

“So you never loved anyone or anything else until you found the lucky piece of glass?” asked St Peter.

“That's right” agreed Herbie “until that day, I'd never loved anything again. But it felt like it was meant to be. As if the piece of glass shone just for me, hoping that I'd pick it up and care for it. That's why I called it lucky – because it called to me and I heard it”.

St Peter struggled “So the glass wasn't lucky for you?”

posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 08:09 AM

“Oh no” said Herbie “it was lucky because it had me to look after it. Do you know what happened to it? I think its luck must have run out when I got hit by that truck”.

“The glass survived” St Peter told him “but it's not lucky any more. It's been thrown into a bin where it will be forgotten about and neglected”.

“Like my kids”said Herbie, immediately getting what St Peter was hinting at.

“It's what happens” said St Peter “when anything is abandoned by someone who loved them”.

“I don't deserve to go to Heaven, do I?” asked Herbie

St Peter shifted on his cloud, a bigger, more luxurious cloud than Herbie's. “What do you think will happen to your piece of glass now?” he asked

Herbie considered the idea, “Well”, he ventured “it will probably go to a landfill site and spend millions of years rotting down. Or maybe” he brightened up, “one of them archaeologists might dig it up, like Tutankhamen”.

“I read about that in the papers” he added proudly.

“Have a look” said St Peter indicating a gap in the cloudy Heavens. Herbie looked down on a recycling plant and, squinting, was just in time to see his lucky piece of glass go into the grinder.

“Oh” he said in awe “it's going to be ground up and used to make something else”.

“Yes” said St Peter “I arranged for that to happen. I thought you'd be pleased. It's my job to make sure everyone and everything goes on to the right place. And because that piece of glass was special to you, and you had designated it as lucky, it will have a bright future now as part of a new and beautiful object”.

“May I see?” asked Herbie, anxious to see that something he'd loved had actually achieved a good outcome from him having loved it.

St Peter parted the clouds again and indicated a shop window in an extremely posh and exclusive part of town. Taking pride of place in the centre of the display was a beautiful bluish glass vase. Outside of the shop a young couple were admiring it.

“Will they buy it?” Herbie wanted to know.

“Oh yes” replied St Peter “that's the first thing they'll ever buy together for their new home. They'll treasure it and it'll become a much loved family heirloom, especially to be treasured by their first born son, who will notice it's beauty from the first time he sees it. His mother will put it in his nursery, near the window and the sunlight will shine on it and the baby will love it.'

Tears came to Herbie's eyes “I'm so happy for it” he said “My lucky piece of glass will still be lucky and loved. It's because of me, that, isn't it?”

“Indeed it is” agreed St Peter

“What about me?” asked Herbie, finally remembering his own predicament, which he'd forgotten in his concern over his lucky piece of glass.”

“Well now” said St Peter “you've proven to me that after all that happened to you in your unfortunate life, you still had a loving heart. You loved your wife and your first child, against all the odds. After all, no-one had ever loved you and yet you found a way to love them. I agree, you went off the rails for a while – well, most of your life, to be fair, but you found your loving heart again when you found that piece of glass.

You treasured it and loved it and even now, you cared more for it and its welfare than you cared for your own. You deserve another chance” he continued “and I know the very place to send you”.

* * *

Lying in his cot a little baby looked across the nursery at a beautiful pale blue vase that his mother had put near the window where it could catch the sunlight and amuse her precious child. The baby giggled in delight and reached out chubby little arms to try and touch the vase.

Well, he was a baby. A bit early to expect him to understand about space and distance. His mother picked him up and took him closer “Don't touch, Darling” she warned him, anxious not to see the vase broken. The baby wailed, so she held him just a little nearer and saw him happy.

Throughout his long life he loved the vase and treasured it, finally intending to pass it on to the favourite of his many grandchildren. How often he'd sit and gaze at it, marvelling at the way the Sun made it sparkle.

He'd point it out to his grandchildren and found himself happy when they shared in his delight. He'd make up wonderful stories about how the vase was pirate treasure, or a magical, mystical artefact from the East and listen happily to the kids as they wandered off discussing his latest tall tale.

But, as an elderly man he became frail and unsteady on his feet causing his family great concern. They made sure that someone was always around to care for their beloved grandfather, the best in the world, they all agreed.

One afternoon, after dozing in his chair and occasionally waking to look at his vase shining in the sunshine the old man knocked it over as he reached out to touch it. He saw his beloved vase shatter into many pieces.

Hearing the noise his favourite grandchild came rushing to his aid “Oh no – grandfather, your vase” she cried looking at the forlorn shards strewn across the floor.

The old man bent to pick up one of the pieces as it shone in a sunny spot on the carpet, it was little bigger than a watch face. “It's alright” he said “this piece is lucky”.

And so it was, because the piece of glass was kept by the old man, in the left hand pocket of his dressing gown, where he caressed it as if to comfort it and himself. He was holding it when he died, peacefully, in his bed.

* * *

He found himself on a cloud, up in Heaven, a small harp at his feet. He looked over to his left and saw what seemed to be a familiar figure.

“St Peter?” he asked

“You remember” smiled St Peter

“Well, yes, yes I do” said the old man “we've been here before”. He paused as the memories flooded over him, most of them uncomfortable.

“Are you ready to go on now?” asked St Peter “Or are you still fixated on your lucky piece of glass?”

The old man smiled “I did better in that life didn't I? I loved my family and worked hard for them, so I think maybe now I can move on”.

“Good man” said St Peter “so you shall”.

“Is this real?” asked the old man “these clouds and harps and things. Is this the real afterlife?”

St Peter looked gravely at him “The afterlife is what you make it” he said “just as your Earthly life was what you made it. Remember, you made a piece of glass important, something that no-one else wanted or cared about. You cared enough to go back and treasure it all over again and, in so doing, you righted some wrongs from your previous life”.

“My wife and kids?” asked Herbie “they were among my grandchildren weren't they? My favourite, that was my wife. But I didn't go back for them, did I? I went back for a piece of glass”.

“Don't be so hard on yourself” said 'St Peter' “you went back for love”.

edit on 17-4-2015 by berenike because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 09:23 AM
a reply to: berenike

Nice story! I'm not religious myself, but it almost makes me want to own a lucky shard of glass.

posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 09:50 AM
a reply to: berenike

Berenike what a lovely story. I enjoyed it so much, as well as it's implications......

posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 10:27 AM
Marvelous! What a wonderful story!

posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 10:30 AM

Daz - thanks for dropping in.

Ladyinwaiting - Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed the story - I was a bit apprehensive about it.

I'm not religious but I like to explore ideas of the afterlife. Usually the outcome is a bit sillier than this time.

Oh - hi Night Star. Thank you very much.

I appreciate you all taking the trouble to comment.
edit on 17-4-2015 by berenike because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 12:31 PM
a reply to: berenike

One more thing! Because it was you -- and I hope you know I mean that in the best possible way - I love your stories- I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, I mean, I assumed there would be a shocker at the end, and Herbie would not be human! He would be something different entirely! So the great shock for me was that he was in fact, human!

Even when I saw "his tattered coat" I thought AHA! Lots of things have "coats". lol.

I read something once that said one's final 'judgment' will be based on 'how well you loved', and that would be shown by 'how well you were loved'. And it included dogs thank goodness! (for those of us of the 'introvert' persuasion.)

I realize that last sentence has nothing to do with nothing. Just thought of it, that's all.

It's supposed to rain here all weekend. I wish you'd write some more stories. : P
edit on 4/17/2015 by ladyinwaiting because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 12:42 PM
a reply to: ladyinwaiting

Have you seen the Do Dogs Really Love Us thread in BTS? I actually believe they do love us, but probably even more of their oxytocin flows when we have a bag of treats hidden behind our backs

I'd like to write more stories- but inspiration is hard to come by. If you want to throw any ideas my way, I might be able to rustle something up.

I've got at least one more story I could try to write - on the Dragon theme they had a couple of months ago. I've got the beginning and the end, and a plot with a twist, but the middle eludes me. Just didn't want to be bothered meandering off into the middle of someone's life. At least with Herbie I could skip the middle of his second life

I read somewhere that laziness is a frame of mind and not a lack of action - guess I got hit with the double whammy lazy stick...

posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 01:10 PM
a reply to: berenike

I remember once you said you write better when you have a topic. See what you think about this:

A young man or couple, hiking in woods, see an old dilapidated house (not a cottage, a big house). It appears to be falling in, overrun with vines, etc. When they manage to open the door and go in, MAN! it's completely in tip-top shape. It's beautiful, and contemporary, and, it appears to be equipped with very high tech equipment. Things so high tech, they are not sure what it is..........

Or a ghost story. Ghost stories are always welcome. : )
a haunted cave. A haunted bookstore, or prison. Ghosts who are coming from the water, somehow. The sea, or a lake.

or a person is shocked to find they have somehow become interdimensional.

* of course our dogs love us! Mine apparently go into comas during my absence. : )

Any of these sound interesting?

posted on Apr, 17 2015 @ 01:21 PM
a reply to: ladyinwaiting

I've got a ghost story - I've just been in two minds about posting it. Apparently the ending doesn't suit everybody

Those are nice ideas though - I think I probably do weird and spooky best

Meh - brace yourself. Miserable ghost story coming up

edit on 17-4-2015 by berenike because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 20 2015 @ 01:52 PM
a reply to: berenike

This one is great as well

I'm enjoying your stories. I've tried to write short stories. I think I've shared just one story.. I mainly write poems

The part where St. Peter said the afterlife is what you make it, that reminded me of the movie what dreams may come.

Nice talent for stories

posted on Apr, 20 2015 @ 02:10 PM
a reply to: natalia

Thank you, Natalia, for your comments here and for my other stories

I'm glad you enjoyed them.

I haven't seen the movie you mention, but it makes sense to me that people would create their own reality. It's just theories though, and I like to explore different ideas. I just hope I never offend anyone because things get a bit dark and silly sometimes.

posted on Apr, 20 2015 @ 02:27 PM
a reply to: berenike
You're welcome

I just want to say that you should watch that movie if you ever get a chance. It's really good imo. You shouldn't worry about offending anyone. We all have our own way of writing and it's unique and if someone gets offended, maybe they shouldn't read in the first place

Much peace

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