We were old friends catching up on one another’s lives. I’d been recounting how exceptionally fortunate I’ve been over the years.

"I have a guardian angel," I said.

"I can see why you’d think so. But how do you square being an Atheist with having a guardian angel? And how is it you have one, and I, a good Christian lad, do not?"

"Christian, nonChristian—I don’t think it matters. I imagine mine a secular angel—no wings, nor halos, no religious affiliations."

"Then, how do you explain her? And how can you be sure she isn’t anything more than good luck?"

"I can’t. Nor can I explain, if it’s more than that, why she’d choose to look out for me, of all people."

"She clearly likes a challenge."

"I’ve certainly given her that, haven’t I."

"You have."

"I dreamt, once, that I was to pick 6 numbers for the lottery by letting them pick themselves. I was to imagine the numbers 1 through 40 suspended, cloud-like, in the air and, one at a time, was to let each of the 6 numbers reveal itself by floating free of the others. I was to be strictly an observer and play no part, whatsoever, in their selection, which wasn’t easy—it took me a couple of dozen tries before I had 6 numbers I felt had separated from the others with no push from me."

"And did it work?"

"The first time I played them, no. But then I played them a second time, and guess what—I had 5 of the 6 numbers. I couldn’t believe it. My dream, it seemed, had been more than a dream."

"I assume, given your present circumstances, it never worked again."

"I never tried it again."


"I was afraid it wouldn’t work, I guess. I wanted to go on believing."

"In what?"

"I’m not sure. In magic, I suppose—same as you—a different magic, that’s all. And when it turns out we’ve both been way off the mark, it won’t matter much, will it—we’ll be dead."

"Well, you will be, anyway."

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