Alan J. Schwarz
8 min readOct 25, 2019



Lenny Mazel was sitting in his car thinking about his last name. Mazel in Hebrew or Yiddish meant luck, so why did he feel completely unlucky,

If it wasn’t for his daughter Yael, his life would be a complete and total mess. She brought joy into his world everyday. He spoke to her every morning and was proud that at twenty three she had graduated at the top of her law school class and was doing well at the Bay Street law firm where she worked. He was happy that she was really enjoying her life, he wished he could find that joy again.

Lenny had been married to Marla Spitz for twenty four years. He would do anything for her. Marla was bright, beautiful and caring. When Yael was born she doted on her. Marla was the perfect wife, or so Lenny thought.

That morning, Lenny decided to surprise Marla and take her for lunch. As a Periodontist, his schedule was always full, but Lenny started thinking about how fast time was flying and he decided to be spontaneous. He had his secretary cancel all his appointments and he headed home to his loving wife. As he drove up to his driveway he saw his best friend Morty’s car parked in front of his house, which was very unusual.

Lenny called Morty and asked what he was doing, if he wanted to go for lunch. Morty replied that he was in meetings all day and wouldn’t be able to pull out of them. Just before Morty abruptly hung up Lenny was sure he could hear Marla laughing in the background.

Morty had been Lenny’s Best Man at his Wedding. He had known him his entire life, he had been his best friend forever. The thought that Morty and Marla were cheating on him was inconceivable.

Lenny left his car on the street and gently opened the front door. He heard noises coming from the Master Bedroom and he felt sick. He took off his shoes and slowly climbed the staircase. He took a look inside the bedroom and he wanted to vomit. There was Marla sitting on top of Morty and both were laughing.

There was a stunned feeling and then anger, Lenny reached for the door handle and slammed the door hard before heading back down the stairs. Marla came running out naked and looked down at Lenny in shock. He looked back at her.

‘’I’ll check into a hotel tonight, have Morty help you move. You have till the end of the week. I’ll move back in her on Sunday. That gives you seven days. Don’t ever call or contact me again, and tell Morty to never ever talk to me again. Fuck You forever for breaking my heart. I loved you. ‘’

As Lenny walked out the door he heard Marla crying, but he didn’t care. She had violated their sacred trust and it was over.

Once in his car, Lenny received a call from his Accountant, a very straight forward guy named Howard Freelman. Howard asked if anyone was with him, and when he said no, Howard asked him to pull over and not drive as he had to deliver some news. ‘’I have been going through your books over the last three years and I started noticing discrepancies. They were always there, but because they were small I never paid much attention, but things have changed, I bought some new forensic accounting software and ran your billings. I have seriously bad news, it looks like your book keeper Donna, has been stealing from you. She has siphoned off over two hundred and thirty five thousand dollars. If you want I’ll call the Police. The evidence against her is very strong.’’

Lenny felt crushed, first Marla and Morty and now Donna Senelgrove. She had been working for him for years, everybody he trusted had let him down.

The only thing that brought him peace of mind was Yael. She was solid, and he’d call her to get a soul boost. Yael answered her phone on the second ring. ‘’Dad, I just spoke to Mom, she’s a wreck and feels terrible for what she’s done to you. She wants to reconcile and says it was a huge mistake. I hope you’ll sit down with her.’’ Lenny didn’t want to put his daughter in the middle of things. ‘’Right now the hurt is so strong I never want to see her again. I just wanted to talk to you, I needed the voice of sanity.’’ There was a pause and Yael asked Lenny where he was. He told her he was in his car and that he wasn’t planning on going back to work for the rest of the day as it wouldn’t be fair to someone’s mouth. ‘’Dad, I know this is a terrible day for you, but I have to share something. I’ve been offered a major opportunity with my law firm. They’ve asked me to go to Sydney, Australia and co-manage our offices there. It will be a three year contract and then when I come back to Toronto I will be made a Junior Partner. I’ve accepted.’’

The world seemed to be spinning around inside of Lenny Mazel’s head. Yael was still on the line. She said she would be leaving in two weeks so there would be time to get together and after saying she loved him she hung up.

Lenny felt lost, he drove around and found himself on the Highway going East. He ended up turning off at a place he didn’t know and driving back roads. Before long he passed a sign announcing he was on the Sioux reservation where there were signs leading to ‘’The Blue Penguin Casino’’.

In his entire life, Lenny had never gone into a casino by himself, but since it was a day of firsts, he thought ‘’What the Hell.’’ He parked his car and walked into a very loud environment with lights flashing and a noise level that was deafening. It was a great escape.

He took two hundred dollars out of the ATM, and sat down at a Spanish 21 table. He played for ten minutes and lost a hundred dollars and stood up. He tried different slot machines and had zero success. The Mazel name curse was in full effect.

He withdrew another hundred. He ignored his phone with calls coming fast and furious from Marla, Morty, Donna, and Howard. He simply ignored them, he had no strength to talk to anybody.

The slot machine he sat at featured interesting characters jumping up and down. He lost eighty dollars and was ready to go when a cute younger woman sat down beside him. She put a twenty in the machine and bet sixty cents a shot. On her fourth hit, she got in the bonus and it paid her two hundred dollars.

Lenny looked at his watch, he had to go back to the city and find a hotel. He hadn’t thought things out very well, what was he going to do about clothes and toiletries.

The attractive woman sitting beside him seemed extremely nice. She engaged Lenny in casual conversation. Lenny said he had to be going, and she suggested he try one more twenty as maybe his machine would hit. Lenny looked at his watch and thought maybe she was right. He also thought maybe he could get her number if he played more. He was now after twenty four years of marriage, a free agent.

There was a line up at the cash machine but he waited. He finally got out forty dollars and went back to where he had been playing. As soon as he put the twenty in he got a bonus and much to his surprise and delight he ended up with a sixty dollar profit.

Lenny didn’t know how to ask the blonde beside him for her number, so he complimented her on her gums. She blushed, they talked about dental implants, and then halitosis and how it was an occupational hazard. After laughing together, Lenny asked her if she wanted to go to the restaurant for a bite to eat. She thanked him but said she had to get home, she always liked to have her husband’s dinner waiting for him when he walked in the door. He had a very physical job and needed his carbs. She told Lenny it was pleasure to have met him and got up from her seat and left.

After taking his coupon out of the slot machine and redeeming it, Lenny looked at his watch, he had stayed twenty five minutes more than he had intended. He walked out the door and to his car and within a couple of minutes his GPS system was taking him back to Toronto. He was traveling on the same back roads he had taken to get to the casino when he saw the flashing lights and sirens of Police cars.

There was a huge traffic jam. As Lenny sat in his car he watched the cars in front of him doing U turns and heading in a different direction. A Police officer came to his window and explained that there was a criminal investigation going on and Lenny would have to turn his car around as there was no through traffic. Lenny asked what the investigation was about and the Policeman shook his head “Twenty minutes ago, a guy who was completely drunk drove his car head on into the traffic on the other side, and he killed three people.’’

Chills ran down Lenny’s spine. If he had left when he had planned, he could have been the guy hit by the drunk driver. Those extra minutes might have saved his life. Maybe he was Lucky on a bigger scale than he could have imagined. He started thinking about things. Marla had been a great wife and mother but obviously something was wrong in their relationship for her to cheat. He would focus on twenty four seemingly great years and move on without remorse or hostility. Both he and Marla deserved happiness wherever they could find it, and apparently Marla needed to find it without him, so that was that. It was exciting to have a new chapter and to be able to spread his wings. As far as Morty he proved he wasn’t a friend and maybe never was. A friend doesn’t screw your wife and wreck your life, so goodbye to that shmuck. Donna stealing his hard earned money was very sad, but he was insured and would make a claim. Donna would end up with a criminal record and possibly jail time, no amount of money would be worth that. As far as Yael, he had been selfish to be upset that she was moving thousands of miles away. He could go visit her and maybe meet a Hot Australian woman. The great news was that when Yael came back from Australia she would be a full fledged Junioe partner in her law firm and that was something to celebrate.

Lenny had gone from morose to more relaxed and understanding. He would not allow for things to get acrimonious between him and Marla, and he would move on. It had been his lucky day no matter how many shitty things had happened. It was a day he would never forget, it was a reminder that you can never take anything for granted and more importantly nothing matters more than being alive.



Alan J. Schwarz

Alan Schwarz loves life. He is the founder of JAMS Productions, a television production company based in Toronto . His passion is writing.