A funny thing about fortune and luck - they choose its master.
Needless to say, Jude was on a winning streak that seemed too good to be true. One week before the night of the Oscars, he won a lottery worth hundreds of the thousands. Three days before the ceremony, he was inducted into a prestigious actors association.
I forget which one, but this is because the present agonies that afflict me have reduced my capacity to remember things.
I do recall this: Jude never won an Oscar. It was the most bizarre occurrence. He was in line to take home nearly five or six of them, but never did.
I was with my wife that night, when he called. Usually, the man was cool and confident, however during this particular conversation he sounded hysterical, like a ravening lunatic. Truthfully, I nearly ended our conversation, thinking he had taken some high end drug those entertainment types enjoy. Most of his speech was incomprehensible, but I distinctly heard the name of that stranger whom I was all too curious about; Mr. Fleuric.
Mary begged me not to leave. God, I miss that woman. It wouldn't have mattered whether or not I had stayed, though, because Jude would have been found...eventually.
I just happened to be the first one to discover him.
Most of the memories of my life are gone, but how I still remember his face; the twisted expression that fixed his muscles in place. His puppy-dog eyes, the same ones used to swoon so many would be broken hearts, bulging from their sockets. The noose around his neck determined the means of his death, but I still felt uneasy gazing at him, suspicious of the actor turned corpse.
His body was swaying in the wind, hanging from one of those hard-looking black oak trees growing outside of his residence. I thought back to his phone call, on the night of the Oscars, and wondered if he took his life because of some superficial grief. Then a shudder crept through my bones, and a sinister suggestion entered my mind.
Did this unknown Mr. Fleuric, with his accurate predictions and wild fortune, really take Jude's wager seriously? Was there more to this death than it appeared? At the time, I deemed it impossible, and shrugged off the pinching feeling in my gut that was foreboding some nefarious closure to the mystery of the stranger named Mr. Fleuric.