Chapter 1 Summary

As The Higher Power of Lucky begins, ten-year-old Lucky sits by the dumpster behind the Found Object Wind Chime Museum and Visitor Center in her home town of Hard Pan, California. She puts her ear to a little hole in the wall that allows her to eavesdrop on an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. She listens with interest as Short Sammy tells the story of how he hit rock bottom and found his Higher Power.

In the story, Short Sammy drinks half a gallon of rum in the front seat of his car, then watches a rattlesnake bite his dog, Roy, on the scrotum. Short Sammy scrambles out of the car so fast he falls and passes out. The next morning he wakes up in a pool of blood, shivering in spite of hundred degree heat. He cannot find Roy, and he makes a deal with himself that he will quit drinking if the dog is okay. Not long later, his wife drives up and says the dog is going to be okay because she took him to the vet for antivenom. She loads some suitcases and dog bowls into her car and drives away forever. Short Sammy has not seen her or Roy since—but he has kept his promise to stop drinking anyway.

Lucky has heard Short Sammy’s story often, and she loves it best of all the stories from the various anonymous meetings. She habitually eavesdrops not only on the recovering alcoholics, but also on the recovering gamblers, smokers, and overeaters. She can get away with this because she has an after-school job cleaning up the trash people leave behind after each meeting. The recovering alcoholics cannot stand to look at the beer cans left behind by the recovering smokers and gamblers; the recovering smokers cannot stand to look at the cigarette butts left behind by the alcoholics; and so on. Lucky’s job is great not only because it gives her a chance to hang around the meetings, but also because it is one of just three paying jobs in the town of Hard Pan, population 43.

Lucky finds some of the anonymous stories entertaining, but...

(The entire section is 583 words.)