I read this short story in the mid to late 80s, but I don't know when it was written. I was reading a lot of Ray Bradbury at the time, so it could be in his canon.

The story surrounds a man who works just one day a year, I believe for an insurance company. He is very well paid. One day a year, he goes into his office, closes his eyes, and sees every single accidental death that will happen in the year to come, tallying them for the insurance company’s predictions: this many car accidents, that many deaths related to fireworks, etc. His predicted numbers are always correct, but the insurance company skews them slightly so that the public doesn’t catch on.

I haven’t found any clues or reference to the story but I know I didn’t imagine it! Someone has to know what the heck story that was, right?

1 Answer 1


You were reading good quality at the time, but this is not a Bradbury, instead it was a master of horror. The story title is "The Holiday Man," (1957) and can be found in the wonderful compilation The Best of Richard Matheson.

Your description is mostly accurate, but he just sees all the deaths for the upcoming holiday weekend in the story, rather than the whole year at a time.

  • 1
    "The Holiday Man" was originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, July 1957, and the original story can be read at the Internet Archive.
    – DavidW
    Jul 26, 2021 at 20:28
  • oh my gosh - you did it. THANK YOU. I've been trying to track this story down for 30 years.
    – Mmd
    Jul 27, 2021 at 21:15
  • @Mmd you are welcome, I was very excited to come across this forum coincidentally only a couple months after reading that story for the first time. Jul 27, 2021 at 21:48

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