Serendipity plays out in happy accidents. It’s not something you plan for, but it can be an unexpected gift that evolves from your plans. Or no plans at all. Take action without holding tightly to outcomes and you might get the most pleasant ride of your life.
Writers thought up all ways to express serendipity unfolding. The right moment, the north star aligns and friends happen into our lives or we happen to gift another unintentionally. Wrap yourself up in this series of happy accidents and contemplate your own moments of serendipity as you read.
The following 99 word stories are based on the October 14, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that reveals or explores a moment of serendipity.
One of Those Days by Sarah Brentyn
After getting a flat tire, breaking the heel off my shoe, and cracking the screen on my phone, the heater went. I called the repairman and made it to the post office just after they closed. That’s when I noticed I dropped my ATM envelope full of cash.
We spotted it at the same time, the man and I.
I, in new shoes, he, in tattered socks, dashed toward the envelope. He picked it up, looked around, and asked, “Did anyone drop their money?”
It was the first time I’d smiled all day.
Lucky Moon by Sherri Matthews
His beady eyes watched as the back door slowly opened and a woman appeared, shotgun in hand.
She’d seen him.
“Keep still yer little sod…that’s right…” Ethel had him in her sights, about to pull the trigger, when startled by footsteps.
She zoomed round to face Fred.
“Ethel, please let me in, I’m cold and hungry!”
“What the…is that a nightie? Get in yer moron, we need words. But first…”
She swung back around but her prey had gone.
Safe in his burrow, he thanked his lucky moon that he hadn’t ended up a rabbit pie that night.
The Wrong Place at the Right Time by Norah Colvin
Marnie was puzzled. The card definitely said 225; but there wasn’t any 225. There was 223, and 227, but no 225. She peered at the crack between the apartments as if willing 225 to materialise. Exhausted and confused, unsure of what to do next, she slumped on the step.
“Can I help you?”
The question interrupted her muddled thoughts. Seeing kindness in the eyes, Marnie explained her predicament.
The woman read the card.
“Street, not Avenue,” she said, pointing to the sign. “Are you Marnie? Lucky I got the wrong bus today. I’m Josephine. Come on. It’s not far.”
Serendipity Do-Dah by Ann Edall-Robson
“Serendipity do-dah, serendipity day, my oh my what a wonderful day.”
“That is not how the song goes.”
“Oh yes it does!”
“Noooooo it doesn’t”
“Remember when you moved here?”
“Easter, sixth grade.”
“Remember how everyone ignored you, the new girl, because we already had enough friends?”
“Remember the school play where we were paired up to sing Zip A Dee Doo Dah?”
“Why would you remember something like that all these years later?”
“It’s what brought us together. It’s our song! So what if I change the words to my liking?”
“And you’re still a flirt!”
In the Cards byC. Jai Ferry
Madrid, New Mexico, was barely a blip on our map where we stopped to eat runny eggs and salty hash browns before stretching our legs downtown. We stepped into a mom-and-pop store with hand-painted silverware in the window. We picked through geckos carved into metal and chunks of turquoise until we found old black-and-white photographs turned into kitschy postcards for the tourists. We bought the one showing our seventeen-year-old mother wearing cheap lace. She was laughing with a man whose flattened boutonniere sagged from his lapel. Back on the road, we studied the first clue to finding our father.
Aha! Water…by Ruchira Khanna
Paula walked in a dainty fashion while skewing her eyes towards her parked car taking gulps that were becoming hard to swallow.
The blaring sun had scorched her body, and she had underestimated the weather by not carrying enough water with her. The walk that started off with enthusiasm was now a juggle between the mind and body that kept throwing weird messages across.
Not a single soul in sight.
Suddenly she heard loud thuds. She pulled away. Sprinters raced past her. Just then she felt a tap on her shoulder and a bottle of water was in sight.
Flash Fiction by Jeanne Lombardo
My phone again. A drowned alarm clock palpitating in my purse. No doubt Jill. The dean and her urgencies. Fuck this 24/7 access!
Driving back from lunch. Fumbling for the squawking little warden in my bag. I’ll die in my car some day, I think. Dammit! Missed it. No, the predictable whistle of a text message. Immediacy is Jill’s mantra.
But it’s not Jill. Dear one,” the text reads. “Poss opptnty! Doc needs help w/ book. 30K, maybe more. Talk? Sak
Ahh, sweet little communicator. Cellular herald of new possibilities! Sit in my lap while I ponder the what’s-ahead…
Serendipity by Irene Waters
Blast, I slept through the alarm again.
Josh sat in the stationary traffic. Thank heavens the alarm hadn’t woken him. I’d have been on that bridge if I was on time.
“You’re fired. This is the sixth day in a row you’ve been late. It just isn’t good enough. Pack your desk and leave now.”
“The bridge collapsed. Lots of casualties.”
“Too bad. Out!”
Josh couldn’t take his eyes off the slender blue-eyed blonde headed woman smiling at him in the lift. Thank heavens I was fired. Instead of a computer screen I’m staring into the eyes of my future.
The Luck of the Irish by Geoff Le Pard
Mary climbed into the cab, while Rupert went to the far side. She wondered if this whole trip to Dublin to try and find her twin was a mistake. At least being with Rupert had, so far, been easy. Fun even. Though leaving Charlotte and Penny hurt.
‘So what are you two planning?’ The cabbie sounded cheerful. ‘Bit of romance?’
Mary snorted a laugh and Rupert joined in. She said, ‘We’re siblings. Looking for a long lost relative.’
‘Yes. Katherine Potts.’
The cabbie laughed. ‘Never. My aunt is Kate Potts. She’s English. Adopted…’
Mary shook her head. ‘Coincidence…’
The Offer by Charli Mills
Fiddle music faded, and Cobb wiped sweat from his brow despite the cool night. He set his instrument in its lined case and sat down.
“Woo boy! You play a mighty fine fiddle, Mister!” The short-legged man crouched by the crackling fire. Short legs, but he could dance a big jig.
Cobb looked up at the stars. “Mighty fine place you have.” He could imagine Mary’s face at seeing the rich sod. If this was his, he’d build a toll bridge across that confounded crossing, build a bigger barn, sell hay.
The man leaned over. “Wanna buy it, Mister?”
Touching History by Pat Cummings
Up ahead, the exit from highway 16 had two signs posted. “Tacoma Narrows Bridge” sat above the “Shake Shake Shake” restaurant sign advertising “Olallieberry Milkshakes.”
In line to buy our first olallieberry shake since we left Oregon, we chatted with the nice woman ahead of us, mentioning our purpose to visit Galloping Gertie next.
“You know the film of the bridge breakup? The guy running off, the last man off the bridge?”
Sure we did. It was iconic!
“Well, that man was my Dad,” she said. Solemnly, my spouse and I reached out to touch her shoulder, touching history.
North Star by Paula Moyer
Another day. Another eight hours of typing battle scenario. Jean logged her time at her summer job at the base while her mind drifted into her next-year’s move to Minnesota. The daydreams helped her muddle through the mindless work.
“What are your plans after the job ends?” an enlisted man, last of the draftees, grinned.
“I’m getting ready to move next year,” Jean replied with a blush.
“Me, too. I’ve got four more weeks. Then I’m going back home.”
“Minnesota,” he said. His eyes looked faraway.
Jean stopped breathing. “Me, too.” It was all she could say.
Flash Fiction by Anne Goodwin
Ned hadn’t told his mother he called into Kathie’s Kitchen every afternoon. She’d say he’d get better coffee, and cheaper, at home. But Ned lived for Kathie’s smile when she set down his mug. Today, on his three hundredth visit, he resolved to ask her out.
Red-faced, he mumbled his invitation to the countertop. Her response stunned him. How could she be married? Hadn’t he checked her fingers for a ring?
“But my sister might be interested.”
Another woman emerged from the back of the shop. Identical twins, but only Kathie had that smile. “I thought you’d never ask.”
The Treasure by Jules Paige
She had to walk the dogs before she left for work in the morning. Today was trash day. And there was a glint at the curb. A gold ring with a ruby stone and four little baguettes. And it fit where a pre-engagement ring once did. She didn’t mind letting the old boyfriend think that another beau had given it to her. She was content to toss that fishy man back into the sea.
He’d come to collect it when he was on home from leave from the Navy. They both must have known they weren’t soulmates.
Story Time by Pete Fanning
Mia snuggled deeper into her father’s arms. “Tell me again.”
“Okay, so I walked into Mommy’s classroom, to read Green Eggs and Ham.”
“The wrong classroom.”
“Mommy! Let Daddy tell it.”
“Yep,” Daddy grinned. “But one look at the teacher and I was tongue-tied.”
Mia beamed at Mommy, who narrowed her eyes. “He was supposed to be in Mrs. Ruth’s room.”
Mia squealed. Wiggled from Daddy to Mommy, nodding. “But you let him stay?”
A quick kiss over her head. Mommy sighed. “Well, what was one story going to hurt?”
“Yeah, but, Mrs. Ruth could have been my mommy?”
Planning My Lucky Break by Luccia Gray
‘You’ve bought five hundred copies of your novel and left them lying around London?’
‘Where would that be?’
‘On the underground, buses, theatres, museums, coffee shops, wine bars…’
‘That’s your marketing campaign?’
‘But will anyone read them?’
‘Everyone likes books, especially commuters, art lovers, and people who drink wine and coffee.’
‘The question is, will you ever sell your books?’
‘It just takes one influential person to read it, love it, and spread the word. Just one.’
‘And if that one influential person doesn’t find it?’
‘Then I’ll buy another 500 and do it again.’
Cable Outage by Larry LaForge
Ed plopped in his favorite chair, beverage in hand, and turned on the TV for yet another football Saturday. After a few minutes, the screen suddenly went dark. Severe storms had taken out the cable.
Without saying a word, Edna reached over and handed Ed a book. He looked at the cover, shrugged his shoulders, and started leafing through the pages. He then straightened his posture and turned up the lamp. Soon, he was totally engrossed.
Hours later, Ed waived Edna off when she noted the cable was back.
Since that day Ed has rarely been bookless.
In addition to this wonderful compilation, Charli, I have just noticed the link to your BinderCon event. Awesome! I wish you much success!
Thank you, Norah! I’m excited to expand on my ideas to bring writers to this area and to encourage rural writers to let their voices be shared on the page. I’m thrilled BinderCon and Harnisch Foundation are helping make it happen and that our Library and Lost Horse Press is willing to collaborate.
Lost Horse Press!! Now doesn’t that sound like a perfect fit for a lead buckaroo to have a ride! It’s all exciting news, Charli, and I’m looking forward to all the updates. 🙂
I got to see the Home of Lost Horse Press and it is magnificent! Does seem like a good fit for a buckaroo! 😉 The publisher is most energetic and committed to high literature in the Inland Northwest. She’ll be a terrific mentor and collaborator. We both want to promote literature and bring writers here, while also servicing the community and helping rural writers find their voice (or pen).
A lovely gathering of humour, sorrow and happenstance. Thank you Charli for bringing them all together. Thanks to everyone for the early morning smiles.
It was indeed a lovely gathering! Thank you for being a part of it!
Wonderful shorts, Charli, each one a nice confection!
Aw, that’s sweet, Noelle! Thank you for reading!