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Attaining happiness is tricky.

By Mark GagnonPublished about a month ago 3 min read

The Hummingbird symbolizes happiness and joy. It appears out of nowhere and briefly, spreads happiness and joy into the lives of those it passes. It carries messages from those who have passed on to their living relatives, according to ancient Native American lore.

The least favorite part of my hotel job is picking up trash that careless people leave strewn around the property. There never seems to be a shortage of Chick Filet bags, cigarette butts, and plastic drink bottles. It’s part of my job, but I put off doing it as long as possible.

Two days ago, I stepped out of the main doors and over a small white paper disk laying on one of the brick pavers. I had airport runs to make, so I continued to step over or around the 1” disk for the next hour. Finally, unable to find any other reason for not picking it up, I bent over and snagged the disk. When I turned it over, I had to smile. The perceived trash was actually a gold medallion with a hummingbird embossed on the surface. It sealed envelopes and other types of stationery.

Looking at the rendition of this bird, with its meticulous attention to detail, actually made me glad I picked it up. This feeling of euphoria blossomed inside me. I placed the medallion in my shirt pocket. The evening slowly changed from a few trips and hardly any tips, to a steady flow of passengers happily tipping well above the usual amount. By the end of the evening, I had made more in one night than I usually did over a two-week period.

Each driver has to fuel the van, so the next shift starts with a full tank. We also need to turn in a pump receipt for accounting to balance the books. I pulled into the nearby 7-11 and filled up. When the tank was full, I pressed the print receipt button, listened to the printer motor whir, and received nothing. Annoyed, I walked into the store to request a receipt. The clerk handed me my copy and for some strange reason, I asked for a scratch-off ticket.

I never buy lottery tickets. I feel they are a con to bilk poor people out of their money. “You could be the next Millionaire,” the signs proclaim in bold letters. The small print lets you know how ridiculously small the odds are of that happening. I took the ticket and walked back to the van in a strange fugue. Someone had left a penny in the cup holder. I picked it up and started scratching the card. What I saw almost pushed my mind over the edge of sanity. I was now a millionaire!

I tucked the ticket away in the same pocket as the hummingbird medallion, told no one about my newfound wealth, and went directly home. The house was dark when I got there because my wife, who normally waited up for me, had already gone to bed. I took the ticket and the medallion, placed them on the dining room table, and slipped to bed. My grand plan was to surprise her in the morning while having breakfast.

I woke to kitchen noises and knew my wife had gotten up before me. Rushing out of bed, I walked into the kitchen, gave her a kiss, and asked, “Did you see it?”

“The bird sticker? Yes, why is it on the table? It can’t be spotless.”

I was shocked. “Not the sticker, the million-dollar lottery ticket. We’re rich!”

“Sorry, dear, but there wasn’t a lottery ticket. Just that dirty sticker. Please take it off the table so we can have breakfast.”

I searched under the table, on the chairs, and retraced my steps back to the car. No ticket!

It took me some time, but I finally worked out that the joy and happiness the hummingbird brings is only for the moment, not the long term. I still have the sticker, just in case, I’m wrong.

Short Story

About the Creator

Mark Gagnon

I have spent most of my life traveling around the US and the globe. Now it's time to draw on these experiences and create what I hope are interesting fictional stories. Only you, the reader, can tell me if I've achieved my goal.

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