Tonight’s lottery is worth fifty million. Fifty million! Imagine that! The things I could do with fifty million!
The first thing I would do would be to make a substantial donation to the local Food Bank. This group of volunteers work so hard trying to scrape together food to give to those in the town who are hungry and poor. Nothing could be worse than having to do without food, so I would love to be able to provide a little security to the Food Bank people. They know who deserve to be helped and those who are simply selfish scavengers.
The second thing I would do would be to buy a house for the local Fijian family who live down the road. He works on the wharves, but there is nothing left over at the end of the week – what with five children and all. They are the loveliest family and I know the parents make huge sacrifices for their children. How wonderful it would be to be able to knock on their door and say “Go pick a house and I’m paying!”
I think I would keep about five of the fifty million just as security for myself. But there are so many people with needs. I wouldn’t give too publically; just quietly help out as the needs arise.
You what? What’s that you say? I won? I won the fifty million? Oh my goodness! I just won the fifty million! I just won fifty million!
I wish all those bloodsucking scavengers would go away. There’s a Fijian family just down the road and they came along and asked if I could give a hand. Of course I wouldn’t give to them. If they worked a bit harder and had fewer kids they’d be able to afford things.
Then the Food Bank asked for a handout. A hand out to feed those lazy vagabonds who think life is a free ride on a bed of roses. Why on earth would I want to help them out?
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in winning the fifty million it’s this: it doesn’t take long for the vultures to come out of the woodwork. People think money grows on trees or something. I told them, yes I got fifty million. I worked hard all my life and most of that money I’ve put away for a rainy day. I’m not a charitable organization.
Mavis took a ticket every week in the Lottery. She had done that for forty-two years and not won a thing. Every week she had prayed to God that she would win the Lottery.
“It’s not the money,” she would say, “it’s the security”.
But God never answered her prayer. Week after week it was “Dear God, please may I win the Lottery.” And week after week God ignored her petition.
After forty-two years Mavis had had enough. “I know what I’ll do,” thought Mavis. “I never have a prayer answered. I’ll pray to God that I DON’T win the Lottery. That way when I don’t win I can say my prayer was answered.”
What an extraordinary day it had been! First, Nola’s husband had checked the lottery ticket numbers and Nola and her husband, Cresswell, had won thirty-three million three hundred and thirty-three thousand dollars. While they were dancing around the living room, whooping and hollering, Cresswell suffered a heart attack and died.
That took the edge off the excitement. Nola had to organize and go through the funeral. After twenty-two years of marriage, she was sad. Of course she was sad. But it was also a relief. Their relationship had been strained over the last few years, and Nola had frequently dreamed of freedom. Now with the sudden death of her husband and the winning of the lottery, that freedom could become a reality. Of course his death was a shock. It was devastating. It always is. But at least she had security for the future. She genuinely sobbed as the undertaker carted Cresswell’s body from the house to the funeral parlour.
At last the funeral was over. Things began to settle. Nola, who hadn’t wanted to appear too excited at winning thirty-three million, knew that the time had come to claim the money! But where was the ticket? Oh! It was in Cresswell’s back pocket when she had him cremated.
Leonie and Lyall’s marriage was going through “a rocky patch”. Leonie was taking a few days off “to clear the air” and had gone to stay with her sister for the weekend. It would give Lyall the opportunity, said Leonie, “to think things through”.
It was Sunday morning and Lyall had thought he’d heard something during the night. He never registered because it simply sounded like Leonie. In his half-dazed sleep he never considered that she shouldn’t be there, and it wasn’t until the morning that he thought “what the heck?” Not to worry! There was nothing missing as far as he could see, so it wasn’t a burglar. Leonie must have forgotten something, although why she would drive for half an hour in the middle of the night to retrieve a forgotten item was anyone’s guess.
Lyall made a cup of coffee and settled in his favourite armchair with the Sunday paper. That was when he noticed the lottery numbers. Goodness! They looked like the numbers he took every week!
Astrid was very community minded. She wasn’t neurotic about it, not obsessed, but if there was a bit of discarded trash on the sidewalk she’d usually stop, pick it up, and drop it in a waste bin.
On this particular Wednesday she did just that. It was a discarded ice cream paper. Clearly some child had torn the cover off their ice cream and dumped the screwed up bit of paper on the ground.
Astrid’s picking it up and placing it in the street waste container added three seconds to the mission she was on; and that was to go into the shop and purchase a lottery ticket.
Those three added seconds meant she got a different set of numbers than those she would have got if she had been three seconds earlier. And the numbers that she would have got but didn’t were the numbers that came up.
She would have won one hundred and twenty-seven million. Of course, she’ll never know she missed out by a hair’s breadth.