Originally appeared in Daily Science Fiction
The bright green truck pulled in front of the house and parked in the driveway. Tracy watched as the driver leaned toward the passenger seat before getting out. He wore bright blue coveralls and a funny looking hatnot quite a beretwith a shamrock logo on it and carried a thick wooden clipboard in one hand.
She pulled the door open before he reached the step. Taylor squirmed in her arms but she refused to set him down until she knew what was happening. Noise blasted behind her as she pulled it closed.
You called for a pickup? the man asked. He had a thick way of speaking, as if his tongue was too big. Up close, his lips seemed puffy and one eye had a dark ring around it.
Tracy nodded quickly. I wasnt sure if you were serious.
The man nodded. Yup. We get that a lot. He tipped his head toward the door. So what you got there? Pretty noisy. Some kinda golem or leprechaun or
A loud rattle at the door cut him off.
Worse than that? He frowned at Tracy, eyes skimming over the stack of boxes still in front of the garage. A ladder leaned against the green siding, threatening to fall. With everything that happened, getting the boxes put away from the move seemed less important. Let me guessstreak of bad luck?
Tracy nodded. How could she be having this conversation? I dont know what happened. One moment everything was fine, the next Somewhere in the house, glass shattered. Tracy hoped it wasnt a mirror.
Anything unusual happen? the man asked.
You mean like all of this?
He tried to offer her a smile, but it only made his face more grotesque. Walk under a ladder or have black cat cross your path or spill salt or break a mirror or pick up a penny or
What was that?
Break a mirror? The man shrugged. Thats the most common one I see. He nodded toward the boxes. People moving and dont pack things well enough, and then He shrugged again. Kinda starts up. Keeps me busy at least.
She shook her head. Not the mirror. At least, not until this all started. But what did you say about the penny?
The mans brow furrowed and he shifted his hat with his free hand. Pick up a penny? You dont wanna do that if its face down. Most people know that.
I thought the saying went find a penny, pick it up and all day youll have good luck?
The mans laugh turned into a thick cough. Only when its face up.
Tracy looked at Taylor. Dirt smudged across his face from one of the plants that had broken. A small scratch across his arm from the angry cat hed found in the backyard looked red and inflamed. I told him he could keep it. I didnt think anything of it.
The man grunted. Its the kid? He made a mark on his clipboard and then held his hands out and waited.
Tracy just watched him. What are you going to do? Her eyes flickered to the sign on the truck. Shamrock Disposal.
The man frowned. Well, got to get rid of it, dont you think? Sounds like he started something pretty fierce in there. Not gonna stop until we take away the source.
Hes the source?
He shrugged. Happens sometimes. Kids can be a powerful focus. You wouldnt know how many parents called me like this. Most happy are happy when I come. Nothing else really works. He sniffed and wiped his and across his mouth. Shoulda known when I saw the scratches on him. Probably pissed off the cat too! But Ill take him away. Wont cost too much, this size and all. Best thing for him, really. No good fix, you know?
You mean to take my son?
Like I said, you gotta get rid of the source. No other way.
You cantyou knowfix the luck?
He scrunched his face and gestured at the sign on his truck. Thats not what we do. Disposal. Not fixers. Besides, Isaid theres not much you can do with this sort of thing.
She squeezed Taylor. Thats horrible!
Hey! Youre the one who called me.
She shook her head. Not for this.
The man shrugged and waited, arms out. She still didnt give Taylor over to him.
The racket in the house had died down, and she didnt know when it might start up again. She looked at Taylor and he looked back at her with deep blue eyes. When he giggled, something shattered in the house.
Tracy hugged him close as he squirmed, turning away from the man with the swollen face and the funny beret. She would work through this. Besides, it had to stop sometime, didnt it?
And if it didnt well, better bad luck than no luck at all.