Today is a new day. Today’s the day I turn everything around and follow my dreams. You see I recently read something about the Self-fulfilling Prophecy and it sort of made sense to me. If I visualize all my subsequent endeavors, then the likelihood that I’ll find success increases significantly. I figured it couldn’t hurt. My name is Brandon Moore, and I’ve worked for the same company for the last 15 years. You’d think that’d show devotion, but in reality I’m just stuck. Every year I apply for the lead sales manager position for the busiest region by launching a new proposal to increase sales numbers and every year I lose out to Kerrie Thompson. It wouldn’t be so bad if my ideas weren’t so great and if she wasn’t my ex-fiancé. Kerrie seems to relish in taking every dream from me. But as I said before, today is a new day and the first step on my path to success. Today’s proposal will go differently. I’m not going to let my hateful ex jade my outlook anymore.I decided I’m going to do everything different from now on. Follow my gut and not just my head. For example, today I feel like walking to work so I can stop at my favorite cafe. Sure, it means that I have to leave about 45 minutes early, but I don’t mind because the rewards outweigh the costs. My day is always brighter when I start it with a Cinnamon Dolce Latte from Cup O’Joe.Noticing the line as I walked into the cafe, I grabbed today’s paper and started perusing the headlines. Most of the news covered the same depressing shit it does everyday; a shooting in East End; a twelve-car pileup on the freeway; another cop killed in the line of duty. I typically avoided the news like the plague, but today something caught my eye. Apparently they were tearing down the old fountain in the park. Sure it was an eyesore, but I love that rundown fountain. It was the spot of many fond memories for me: my first kiss in elementary school; my first date in high school; where I proposed to Kerrie. Ok, that last one didn’t pan out too well, but it really was an amazing proposal involving butterflies and dozens of roses.“How may I help you sir?”The barista’s question pulled me out of my reminiscence and I ordered my drink with extra cinnamon. While waiting for my drink I read the fountain article. It seemed that the demolition was due to break ground tomorrow and they would be replacing it with another skating rink. I guess anything they can pull revenue from. Looks like today would be my last day to visit one of my favorite places. Good thing I decided to walk to work today. It looks like my decisions are already setting me on the right path. My walk takes me through the park and I am definitely willing to spare a few minutes to say goodbye to a place with so many fond memories. With my latte warming my hand, I made my way to the park. It was one of those mornings where everything was perfectly in sync. Traffic lights turned just as I needed to cross the street and crowds of people parted like the red sea as if fate itself was granting me the few extra moments I needed to swing by the fountain. Even the sun felt warmer and colors seemed brighter today, grasses greener and flowers more vibrant while I made my way through the park.As I approached the aging ornamental statuary fountain, I spared the extra minutes that fate had granted me and sat down to enjoy the morning with my latte. Taking my customary seat on the lip of the fountain I took a blissful sip of cinnamon dolce heaven and looked around at the extraordinary way the morning light was illuminating the park. One particular garden of primroses planted around a rowan tree seemed to keep drawing my attention. Not only were its brilliantly colored dichromatic petals eye-catching, but there seemed to be every color imaginable.Transfixed, I walked over to the menagerie of colors to get a better look. It was as if they drawing me to them. I needed to see how the silky petals shimmered as the sun hit them, feel how smooth each one felt between my fingers, and smell their intoxicating perfume. Being in marketing, I explained these urges as creative inspiration. People were starting to look at me funny as I continued to inspect the blossoms but it felt like what I was supposed to be doing. Under my new mantra, I just went with it.Noticing the time, I got up to leave for work feeling energized and confident from my unusual morning. As I stood, my cell phone slipped from my pocket and fell into the garden. A little put out by this hitch, I stooped to pick up my phone, hoping it wasn’t damaged, and noticed something that I’ve never seen before. There, right next to my cell phone was a four-leaf clover. My day couldn’t get any better now. It was as if, once again, fate was intervening and pointing me in the right direction. What better way to show my luck was finally changing than with a four-leaf clover?Placing the clover securely in my wallet so it wouldn’t get damaged, I continued my walk to work with a noticeable spring to my step. I felt unstoppable. People were even looking at me differently. Everyone seemed to have a smile or a nod for me as I passed by. As I was leaving the park I couldn’t help but notice the most beautiful woman that I had ever seen. She had wavy blonde hair, more appropriately described as spun gold, her skin looked like peaches and cream porcelain, and her eyes were such a vibrant green that I could clearly see them from where I stood. The most remarkable part about the whole thing was that she noticed me too. She looked right at me and smiled. This really is my lucky day.I hurried into my office realizing that I was ten minutes late. Starting to panic just a bit, I worried that I was keeping my boss waiting. If my boss was in one of her moods, it wouldn’t matter if I told her I could guarantee a 300% profit increase next quarter instead of the 30% in my proposal, I’d be shot down before I could load the PowerPoint. Luckily, her secretary told me everyone was running late and I was the first to make it to the conference room.I started to get my laptop connected to the PowerPoint projector, when my boss’s shrill voice entering the room startled me so badly that I dropped the cord. Sharon Jenkowitz is a “no bull” kind of gal. She came from nothing and clawed her way to the top of a fortune 500 company using cunning and cutthroat sacrifice. Needless to say, she isn’t exactly your warm and fuzzy type of person. She blew into the room, took her seat, and barely glanced my way. “Where’s Ms. Thompson? Doesn’t she deem these meetings important enough to be on time?” Ms. Jenkowitz asked.“Here I am. I’m so sorry I’m late, but traffic was a nightmare. Apparently they are filming some movie scene on 5th and the entire road is closed. Streets are backed up all over town. Thank goodness I left an hour early or I wouldn’t even be here by now,” Kerrie said while haphazardly throwing her presentation prep work on the conference table. “How’d you make it here so fast Brandon? Your commute should’ve taken twice as long as mine?” she asked looking at me cynically.“I actually walked today. It’s a beautiful day and I thought this meeting was too important to risk,” I said casually, even though I had no idea about the movie shoot and the effect it had on the local rush hour. Lucky clover, never leave my side!“Well, that shows the type of gumption that we’re looking for. I am not accustomed to being kept waiting Ms. Thompson. For the future, come prepared for our meetings or do not come at all. Mr. Moore since you seem well prepared today, why don’t you present your pitch first,” said Ms. Jenkowitz.I presented my proposal without a hitch. Kerrie seemed so frazzled that she barely made it through hers, which wasn’t like her at all. I patted my breast pocket again feeling for my wallet and my good luck charm. That little weed was my ticket to the life I’d always dreamed of.After Ms. Jenkowitz congratulated me and we hashed out the specifics of my proposal and how to implement my policy changes, she uncharacteristically gave me the rest of the day off in recognition of my hard work. A full day off would be unheard of in my company. This was like Christmas had come early this year. I decided my first order of business was a celebratory lunch at my best friend Clay’s pub. I walked into the dim pub to the tune of “look what the cat dragged in” and sat down at the bar. It was just after 2pm so the lunch crowd was starting to dwindle and there were several seats available. “What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be at work? Oh, don’t tell me that bitch Kerrie not only stole the show at your proposal but also managed to absorb your position in the company,” Clay rattled on while he poured me a beer.“Nope, Kerrie didn’t get me fired. Hell, she didn’t even get the new position this year. Looks like my diligence finally paid off and old ‘Jenko-witch’ has decided to recognize all the good I do for the company,” I boasted.“No seriously, what really happened?” Clay asked.“Ok, well, you remember how I told you about my new mantra right?” “Yeah, yeah, yeah… Everything happens for a reason. Go with your gut. If you visualize it, it will happen. Blah, blah, blah,” mocked Clay.“Poke fun all you want man! I’m proof that this shit works! I wanted a latte, so I got one. That forced me to walk to work through the park. At the park I found a good luck charm and now I’m unstoppable!” I exclaimed.“Good luck charm? Dude, you know those chicks aren’t really fortune tellers right?” Clay teased on.“Honestly, check this out,” I told him as I pulled out my wallet.“Holy crap! He’s actually going to pay for his beer ladies and gentlemen!” joked Clay gaining a round of laughter from his regulars.It was obvious that only showing him would make him shut up long enough to actually see my new find. “Take a look at this! This is my ticket to easy street,” I said shoving the clover under his nose.“Whoa, I’ve never actually seen one of these before. Well, at least one that wasn’t pressed between laminate and sold at the drugstore,” Clay gawked. “So do you think this thing really works?”Just as Clay asked about the clover, the door opened and the beautiful woman from the park walked in causing every head in the bar to turn and all activity to cease. She took a booth in the back corner and we watched as the waitress brought her a menu. “Wow! Hey Bran, did you catch that girl that just walked through the door? She has got to be the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen and I’ve had my share of beauties.” “You are not going to believe this but I’ve seen that girl before. She was at the park when I found the four-leaf clover. She even smiled at me,” I told him.“You should go talk to her. Maybe she saw you in here and that’s why she came in. She sure as hell has never been in here before. I never forget a face and I’m pretty sure her face is unforgettable,” Clay prodded.“I don’t know. She’s in a booth, maybe she’s meeting someone.”“Sounds like someone’s in need of a little liquid courage,” Clay said as he poured me a shot of Jameson and another beer. “Now down these and go over there.”I pounded the shot and chased it down with the beer. I’m not a big drinker so I’m pretty sure this wasn’t the wisest plan, but hey with the combination of my new found confidence and a little help from my clover maybe I’d come off as debonair not crude.As I stood up to walk over, a huge bouncer-looking guy with a scar running down his right eye walked into the bar and headed straight for the blonde beauty and sat down looking oppressive and disapproving. “So much for that, looks like the liquid confidence is wasted, but I do appreciate the congratulatory drinks,” I said hoping there was no disappointment in my eyes. “Not even the luck of the Irish can land me a girl like that.”“Well, we can’t win ‘em all buddy. Anyway, it doesn’t look like she’s all that into that guy. She honestly looks kinda pissed that he’s here. Maybe you should go over there anyway,” said Clay.“No thanks; the last thing I need is to get my ass kicked by tall, dark and scary over there. I think I’ll hit the head, then continue to celebrate my awesome day,” I said while walking to the bathroom.As I exited the restroom, I stole one more peek at the beautiful woman’s table, but she was gone.“Where’d she go?” I asked.“Dunno, they must’ve left while you were in the bathroom. I honestly didn’t even notice them leave. Hey, don’t forget poker night at Doug’s on Saturday night. With your new good luck charm we’ll finally take those morons to the cleaners!” Clay said with a crazy glint in his eye. The thought of finally winning some of his money back after all these years of losing at Doug’s was getting the best of him.I raised my hand and nodded in acknowledgement as I made my way out the door. How do I let Clay always drag me into his crazy schemes? With nothing else on the agenda I decided that a nice walk around the city before heading home was in order. Maybe I’d even stop and get myself a new suit. I will need to dress the part for my new promotion after all.As I made my way to Harper’s Suit Shop, I started noticing some pretty weird shit. I passed a woman on 73rd who I would’ve sworn had pointy ears and a tail, a bum in an alley near 58th that had sharp needlelike teeth and glowing red eyes, and a little man on Elm Street who I can only describe as a leprechaun. Those drinks must’ve been stronger than I thought. Maybe next time I should have more than a latte for sustenance before drinking.Walking into Harper’s I noticed the tailor was already busy finishing up with another customer. I took the time to browse the new suit selections and tried to narrow down what I was looking for. As I noticed a nice double-breasted navy pinstripe, a flash outside the window caught my attention. I couldn’t believe it. The green-eyed woman from the park was right across the street buying a cup of coffee. The flash that I saw must have been the light reflecting off her bracelet. Maybe she’s stalking me I thought to myself, laughing at my own joke. “How may I help you Sir?” the tailor asked pulling me from my delusions.“Oh, I was just looking for a new suit for work.”“Well, you came to the right place,” said the tailor. He whisked me away to find me the ‘perfect suit’ holding up different colors and cuts, vying for my opinion as I tried to keep my eyes on the beautiful woman across the street. He held up a burgundy two-button jacket, which momentarily blocked my view, and when he pulled it away she was gone. Without thinking or explanation I rushed out of the store looking for her. “She’s gone,” a strange voice states flatly.“What?” I snapped turning to look at an old short scruffy man with a pug nose whose hood was pulled up partially concealing his face.“That girl across the street; I saw you looking at her through the window. She’s gone,” the man rasped again.“Well, did you see where she went? I can’t explain it but for some reason I absolutely have to find her,” I asked, my exasperation increasing with every delay.“Oh, you don’t want to find that one. She’s nothing but trouble, that one is. Why don’t you just go home while you still can and avoid all this nonsense? Never go seeking trouble when trouble seems content on seeking you,” the strange man rambled on.“Look, can you just tell me which direction she went, or if she got in a cab, anything?” I pleaded. I had an uncontrollable urge to find this woman. As irrational as it seemed, I felt like I wouldn’t be whole again until I spoke to her. After fate placed her in my path so frequently today, there had to be something I was missing.“It seems as if it’s already too late,” the strange man sighed.“What are you talking about? If you’d just stop talking in circles and give me a clue I’m sure I can find her again.” “Not too late for her boy, too late for you. If you must find her, I’m sure looking in the first place you saw her would help,” he answered dejectedly. As he turned to leave I noticed that his old weathered, leathery and wrinkled skin actually seemed more like bark and his scruff more like moss. I shook off the odd feeling that I was losing my mind and made a silent vow to myself never to drink Jameson again. I then turned back towards the park.If I thought the walk to Harper’s was strange, the walk back to the park was even stranger. Men and women in odd clothing were grouped throughout the city and whenever I’d try to get a better look at them the entire group would be gone. A woman standing in front of a hotel waiting for a cab turned blue right in front of my eyes and turned back to flesh tone just as quickly. Maybe finding this beautiful woman isn’t as important as getting home and sleeping off whatever reaction I was having to those drinks. I wonder if it was possible that Clay had a bad batch of liquor or if something infected my beer bottle. I picked up my pace as a little man with a red hat and gore encrusted pointy teeth tipped his head at me.The closer I got to the park, the worse things got. The things I could only describe as creatures, both magnificent and terrifying, multiplied as I neared the wooded shelter of the park. There was a cute little hedgehog that was scurrying near a patch of pansies who stood up on its hind legs and placed a cap on his head causing its quills to protrude through the fabric then strolled away at a leisurely pace. A gorgeous yet cyanotic looking woman sitting by the fountain was dipping her hand in the water and her hand was liquefying and becoming part of the water it touched. Just as I made it to the rowan tree, where I first found my clover, I saw the beautiful woman with the spun gold hair again. Like magic her electrifying green eyes drew me to her. My fear had peaked and my brain kept willing my body to continue down the path home, but my feet kept moving toward her as if of their own accord.“Brandon”Her voice was that of an angel, both soothing and melodic. In that one word I knew that I would do anything to hear her speak my name again. I continued walking towards her slowly afraid that if I moved too quickly or spoke that she would disappear like she had all day. “Brandon, come with me,” she said reaching out her hand. “I am Tatiana, queen of Faerie, and I have chosen you to be my consort. I’ve often seen you admiring our fountain. It is a sacred place to our people and a link between your world and the world of Faerie. Seeing your reaction to its pending removal this morning, I knew that you belong to us. I led you to our gate and gifted you with the clover to grant you sight. Come and be ours forever and we will take care of all your needs.”I compulsively reached for her outstretched hand knowing it was most likely detrimental to my well being and I should be heading home. I had no idea what she was talking about and I was pretty sure this was some hallucination-induced dream, but I wasn’t about to ruin it by denying her. After all, I had been seeing her everywhere else today, why not in my dreams? “You will come to our realm and forever remain by my side in Faerie,” she crooned.Just then a door had appeared in the base of the rowan tree and a path formed through the primrose. I grew more fearful as her grip tightened on my hand and she led me bespelled to the door. I thought of everything that I would be giving up if I stepped through to their world. I would never see my parents again; never see my little sister get married; never get to help Clay win back his money in poker. Yet at the same time I’d never have to worry about rent or work or anything else relating to finances. The door opened and I saw mystic rolling hills and a plethora of flowering trees. There was a castle in the distance that looked as if it was taken from a fairytale. I stepped through wondering if Kerrie would get my job once again.
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