“Destiny” is the fourth of six short-shorts from Ken Cormier that will run every other week for 12 weeks.
My mother wins a radio contest, and suddenly we are rich! She begins savings accounts for me and my brother. My father is proud: he beams. My brother and I jump up and down. A few days later, driving with my mother in the station wagon, we hear the winning moment replayed on the radio. We are thrilled. We scream and laugh. Our mother laughs with us. We listen to Randy Newman songs on long drives. We stop at Carvel and eat soft vanilla ice cream with rainbow shots. Our mother tells us we are special and that we can do anything we set our minds to. We can be anything we want to be, as long as we try. My brother can be a famous movie director. He can be better than Orson Welles. He can be funnier than the Marx Brothers! I can be a doctor. I will know all of the things that doctors say, like “Stat!” and “We need suction!” I will receive very large paychecks, and I will think, “I can’t believe they pay me for this work!” I will be eternally grateful that I can pursue my own interests and provide comfort and help to those who need it most. I will drive a wonderful Camaro, and it will have an eagle painted on the hood like Smokey and the Bandit. My mother and aunt will come and stay at my mansion, and my aunt will smoke cigarettes. I will put ashtrays on all of the end tables before they arrive. My brother will fly in from Los Angeles, and we will all congratulate him on his new film starring Rutger Hauer and Lesley Gore. “Nobody knows about Lesley’s brilliant career as a stage actor,” my brother will say, and we will all gasp and stutter in the vapor trail of his astonishing insight. “I always knew you were destined for greatness,” my mother will say, and we will sip cold milk from big, heavy glasses.