Joey's Luck

John Escott

Joey Kerrigan arrived in London in January 1912. He did not have a place to stay.

'It doesn't matter,' he thought, smiling. 'Joey's luck is going to find me a room.'

Joey thought a lot about luck. 'One day I'm going to be rich,' he told everybody. 'Lucky people get rich, and I'm lucky.'

After a lot of walking, he found a room in a house. It was near Tower Bridge. The room wasn't very big but it was cheap. The landlord's name was Mr Webber. He looked Joey up and down.

'What's your name?' he said. 'Where are you from?'

'Joe. Joe... Smith,' Joe said. 'I'm from Ireland.'

'Well, you can have the room,' Webber said, 'but I want two weeks' money now.'

'I've only got one week's money,' Joey said.

'And tomorrow's Sunday,' Webber said. 'You can't find work on a Sunday. So when can you give me the second week's money?'

Joey smiled with his mouth but not his eyes. 'I can find work,' he said. 'I'm lucky. Good things happen to me. It's called Joey's luck.'

On Sunday, Joey stayed in bed all morning and in the afternoon, he went for a walk. After an hour, he took a bag from a woman in Fleet Street.

The woman shouted, 'Stop! Stop!'

But Joey was now fifty metres away, and there were no other people near.

Joey laughed and ran down a little street, then between two tall buildings down to the river.

He stopped and opened the bag. There was some money in it, but not very much. He took the money out, then put the bag into the river.

Later that day, he walked past a bookshop. There were lots of people there, looking at books, and Joey moved carefully between them. For a second he stood behind a fat man, then moved quietly away. The man did not feel Joey's hand in his back pocket, but the man's wallet was now inside Joey's shirt.

It was a big, fat wallet, and when he got back to the house, he gave the landlord the second week's money for the room.

'You found work on a Sunday?' Webber said. 'Where? Who with?'

Joey smiled. 'I told you, I'm lucky. Joey's luck!'