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A penny

I exited the pub. Drunk. Penniless. I shouldn’t have gambled when drunk and I knew it. But I just couldn’t resist. So it was over. There was nothing I could do but to kill myself. I went towards the river. Stumbling I noticed a glitter in front of my feet. A penny. I smiled and picked it up. I’ll need it to pay Charon for the ride. It took me some time to reach the bridge but I finally got there. I climbed the fence. There was no reason to stager so I leaped.

At the same moment someone grabbed my hand and saved me. I was so relived. "Oh thank you kind sir. This might have been the biggest mistake of my life" I gasped. He looked at me, and his, goat like, pupils dilated. "Do you really think I got your body, boy?" he said. I heard a huge splash and turn around to see my body going under water. Then I turned back and said: "Oh it’s you. Can we make some kind of a deal?" He smiled again: “I don’t think that you have anything to offer.” “My soul?” I tried. “No no no. That’s already mine. Remember?” And, of course, he was right. We started to walk down the bridge and then I remembered. "How about a penny?" "A penny? Do you really think that I would gamble for a penny?" "Well it is sad that you are the king of gamblers..." He smiled again. "OK", he pulled out the dices, "Roll double 6 and you are free to go." Not fair chances, but I did not have many other options anyway. I grabbed them and throw them in the air. Against all odds two sixes were facing up. "You lucky bastard. I’ll get you the next time" he said and pushed me over the bridge...

I woke up on the riverbank next morning. Completely wet of course. But definitely alive. I opened my fist and I knew, even before I saw them, that there’s going to be two pennies in it.

Inspired by Ivo Andrić's Milan Glasinčanin and Goethe's Faust

Author: Željko Mitrović

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