“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

Visualizing what happened before the meteor hit the atmosphere is difficult in the extreme. Supernatural beings are invisible to the human eye in their normal state. There are however, thousands, if not millions, of reports of paranormal beings—both good and bad—who have assumed corporeal identities. If human witnesses are to be believed, they can appear and disappear at will, assume virtually any shape, and reveal themselves as beings the size of tall buildings or microscopic imps. Questions about where these spectral creatures live, what they eat, or how they entertain themselves when not engaged in their struggle to influence humanity have hitherto not been extensively researched.

Pleasing the boss was far more than vitally important. The Meteor hadn’t been given any front-line work for eons. His involvement in the platypus scandal had been a disaster. Consequently, he had been reassigned to the mailroom—the pro-forma punishment for failure in an unforgiving bureaucratic institution, previous brilliant successes notwithstanding. He could scarcely remember his former beauty. 10,000 years as a backroom kiss-ass bureaucrat had reduced him to a graying shadow of his former self.

So it was no wonder that the Meteor was more than happy. He was fiendishly happy. He was ecstatically happy. He was insanely happy. In a matter of moments, his windowless cubicle would be history, and the Luckiest Man in the World was going to be more than killed, more than torn limb from limb, more than pulverized, more than obliterated, more than vaporized. He was going to be erased so completely and obviously that there could be no doubt that he would go down in history as the unluckiest man who had ever lived. He would be the only human being in recorded history to sustain a direct hit by a meteor no larger than a basketball. The meteor’s boss would be pleased.

Since it was of vital importance that no other human being would be killed, possible impact points had been carefully chosen. Because timing was also critical, the Meteor was prepared to act quickly when the ideal situation presented itself. Consequently, he was ready when the Luckiest Man in the World left the Safeway parking lot on Highway 32 at exactly 10:51.572 seconds that Sunday morning. His road home, following the Nord Highway turnoff, took him through a long stretch of uninhabited orchards and grazing land. Presently, there was no one within three miles of him on that road. Not only was the terrain ideal, the day was perfect. It was Easter Sunday.

When one considered the big picture, the story of the Luckiest Man was a minor anomaly. While it was true that he had been featured in the Community News section of the Enterprise Record, his notoriety had remained local. The reporter assigned to cover human-interest stories interviewed Bob after his return from Ecuador while he was recovering from malaria in the local hospital. It was the reporter who supplied the headline, “The Luckiest Man in the World”, after Bob’s response to the reporter’s question: “What do you make of the fact that you were the only one in your group of volunteers who contracted malaria while you were building the medical clinic? Are you just unlucky or what?”

Bob’s response was categorical. “I am the lucky one. The villagers and medical team that saved my life are now part of my family. Their love and concern helped me realize that my life was important in the great scheme of things.” When the reporter interviewed Bob’s wife, she informed him that Bob regarded good fortune as a godsend, something to be expected. “Luck” for him was the product of the many misfortunes and tragedies of his life. The reporter, sensing an unusual human-interest story, asked Bob for a second interview. He agreed.

Looking like he could be Ron Howard’s brother, with a smile that was slightly uncomfortable, a black-and-white photo of Bob accompanied the following story:

“Bob is fifty-two and never claimed that the tragedies, misfortunes, and irritations of life didn’t test his resolve to take away something positive from those experiences. He is no Pollyanna. He considers himself a realist, an average guy trying to become a better person.

“When Bob was three, the thumb and second finger of his right hand were severely burned when he reached into his mother’s mangle while she was ironing clothes. To compound the injury to his hand, his distraught mother slammed the car door on the same hand in her hurry to get him to the hospital’s emergency room. During his recovery, his mother read to him. The story of Oliver Twist not only inspired him to be brave, but also fostered a lifelong love of literature.

“He became a social outcast at the age of six when he skipped the second grade and found himself in a classroom of eight-year-olds. That experience taught him to be self-sufficient and truly grateful for friendship. In the fourth grade, he was actively persecuted for his naïveté. In addition to being made fun of, he was regularly assaulted physically. On one occasion when he was swinging on the monkey bars, one of the girls pushed him so hard that he fell and broke his wrist. As a result, the torture ended and his classmates wrote ‘get well soon’ on his cast.

“When Bob was ten, he realized that his family was poor. He noticed this for the first time when he realized that his and his brother’s Christmas packages contained only new clothes. This knowledge made him grateful for what he had, and inspired him to befriend those less fortunate than he was. At twelve he realized that his parents didn’t like each other, and their constant verbal—and occasionally physical—conflict might well end in divorce. This potential end of comfort and security allowed him to discover books, rather than alcohol or drugs, as an antidote for despair.

“The school bullies beat him up regularly when he was fourteen. As a result his mother paid for boxing lessons, and he learned to defend himself physically. At fifteen—when all his classmates were dating and could drive—Bob got a job, learned study skills, and took his trumpet lessons seriously. Consequently, he gained the satisfaction of earning his own money and making good grades. In addition he played first-chair trumpet in the school band and won numerous talent shows.

“Bob fell in love when he was eighteen. When the girl rejected his advances because her girlfriends convinced her that she could do better, he was ‘discovered’ by a beautiful girl who fell in love with him, body and soul. She was the girl of his dreams, and they have been happily married for forty-one years.

“He considered himself ‘lucky’ to have been able to look after his mother when she was dying of cancer and to have taken care of his father who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. When an unscrupulous building contractor cheated Bob out of thousands of dollars and a trusted employee embezzled enough of his money to nearly bankrupt him, he claimed that the lessons he learned were worth the price he paid.

“Bob freely admits that manufacturing ‘luck’ from these tragedies, misfortunes and irritations is a continuing challenge. Learning from his mistakes is also difficult. He continues to back into things when he is driving his car. He misspeaks. He absentmindedly forgets to close his garage door at night. In short, staying ‘lucky’ is a tough grind. But he is still ‘hanging in there’.”

The Meteor was out to ruin Bob’s reputation. In his own rather insignificant way, Bob represented something reprehensible to the evil force that was battling to control the world. When Bob’s heretical notion led him to be labeled “The Luckiest Man in the World,” the headline came to the attention of what was now the Meteor, and suggested a plan he hoped would get him out from behind his desk. Even though the paperwork was a pain, and the resources to accomplish the mission were in short supply and expensive, centuries of supplication and pleading finally won the day. He was just minutes from making officer grade.