Small Pieces of Luck by Spencer Wile
I rode to my English school everyday on a bicycle the they called “Blue lightening.” It was a very fast bike. Working my way across the small white pedestrian bridge, my ears were assaulted by the rushing water. It sounded like some great natural waterfall. But it was actually caused by all of the stone obstructions put in place to slow the flow of the river. Someone thought they could stop the erosion. It was so loud.
Along the south bank of river, a narrow bike path led directly to my school. There was a small patch of grass that people brought their little dogs to go poo-poo. I’d noticed for some time now that an older women, maybe in her seventies, was collecting the doo-doo.
Seeing her collecting the pieces of feces one afternoon on the way to work, I stopped to ask her what she was doing. She forced the words on me. “Un dayo. Un. Un.” She explained that “un” meant luck in Japanese and “unko” meant shit. She seemed convinced that unko meant “little-luck”. And by gathering the piles, the combined total would bring her big fortune. But I couldn’t understand why she would take her time to put all those nasty piles of crap in a bag and take them home.
The seasons changed the way they always did. Mt. Fuji changed from white to red, and then blue to grey. I was admiring the view of the mountain from the second story window of my school and saw the woman collecting crap. She had developed quite an eye for spotting the piles—and it was a good thing how she kept the neighborhood tidy.
I’d never given much thought to it, but I toyed with the idea that she was fertilizing her garden with the stuff. Yet I tossed that idea out the window and hoped it didn’t hit anyone. One thing I did think about was all the shit I’d gone through and how much more of it I was willing to take, and how much more of it could I let get shoved down my throat, and how much more of it did I want thrown in my face, and how much more of it could people be full of, and how much more of it could I be full of, and how much more of it could people talk. And I thought about how much it was all really worth.
I saw the women in passing one more time on my way to work. I saw some white birds and a couple ducks in the river. And when I looked ahead, the old lady had suddenly appeared on the trail and was headed straight for me. The lady quickly turned her bike so that it blocked the bike path. When I stopped, she fumbled in her coat for a second. She pulled out what looked like a lottery ticked and said, “See! I told you! See! See! I looked closer at the scratch off-ticket and it looked like she’d won about ten bucks.