#222 Cheap Dreams

#222 Cheap Dreams

 

Saturday night came and I didn’t have a dollar to buy a lottery ticket. Every time I didn’t play, my lucky numbers came out, so I desperately tried to acquire a buck to buy a ticket. Standing in front of the Seven Eleven, I approached a young lady coming out the door counting a handful of bills.

“Can you spare a buck?”

You would have thought I asked her for a fuck the way she reacted.

“Get a job you worthless bum,” is what she said.

Two guys stood by a pickup truck drinking beer. I asked them, “Can you spare a buck?”

“Man, don’t you know we work for our dough. In our house there’s never any to spare.”

“I’ve got the lucky numbers. If you give me a buck to play, I’ll split with you when I win.”

One of the guys spit a mouthful of beer on me, “Get the fuck out of here before I kick your ass.”

I would have shown him that he couldn’t do that as easily as he thought, but I didn’t have the time. My numbers would be drawn soon and I had to buy a ticket. I wracked my brain and gave myself a headache trying to think where I could get a lousy dollar. I checked the time and saw I had exactly one hour left. Then I noticed my Rolex watch. It was a fake of course, but even so, it must be worth a buck. I went into the store and stood in the cashier’s line.

When I got to the front I said, “Give me six, eight, nine, twenty, twenty one, and forty for tonight’s lottery.”

“That’ll be one dollar.” the clerk held out her hand.

I took off my watch and handed it to her. “Hold this until they call the winning numbers, and after I win, I’ll pay you double.”

“No can do, cash only, Joe.”

“Come on, be a sport? When I win, I’ll take an ocean cruise, a trip around the world. I’ll take along all those I love, and a few more that I may someday feel affection for.”

If only she would have given me that ticket. All my friends and relatives would have had their problems solved, and we’d all have enjoyed the better things in life. I’d be wearing the very best in clothes; my hair would be set and styled, my skin exfoliated, and my nose bobbed to the latest style. When I got to Vegas, the penthouse would be mine, and showgirls would want to spend the night. I’d have a chauffeur and a new car every year, and inside my car, there’d be a bar.

My personal secretary would take all my calls, and a writer of my choice would inscribe everything I said. Why I’d even help the poor, and the homeless too. Animals would be on my list of things to do. I’d buy a place where abandoned ones could live.

There were so many good things I’d do, I prayed, “Please God, let this week’s

lottery numbers be mine.”

“I do hope you win, but you need to pay me first,” she said

“Tell you what. When I win, you can come on the cruise.”

“HA, ha,” she laughed, “I’ll die of old age waiting for that to happen, now give me a buck or get out of here, there’s people waiting to pay.”

I took my watch and walked hopelessly home. The store clerk was a nice girl and had always treated me well, but I can understand her not wanting to take a rundown knock off watch for payment. She’d have to make up any cash shortages and she only earned minimum wage.

The next day when I turned on the TV, I saw my numbers had come out in last night’s lottery. I knew the clerk had printed my ticket, so I wondered if she had voided it, sold it to someone else, or maybe kept it for herself.

At first I was hurt, but then my thoughts turned to her, that bitch who wouldn’t give me my million dollar ticket. I’d fix her wagon. I blamed her for me not having a dollar to pay. I planned and schemed to get my revenge. Maybe I’d throw acid onto her pretty face. That would teach her for not giving me what was rightfully mine.

Logic tried to surface inside my head, but I submerged it a sea of hate and held it under until it drowned. I reached under my bed where I kept my gun. Stuck it in my pants, and headed for the store to confront that bitch. I’d tell her it was all her fault I didn’t win. Then I’d make her suffer any way I could. “Vengeance is mine” spun round inside my head.

That little bit of logic tried to raise some questions, but I drowned it once again as I imagined pulling the trigger. Life wasn’t worth living now that my numbers had come out, and I didn’t have a ticket.  If I ever had any luck, it was bad.

When I reached the store it was empty except for the clerk. She smiled when she saw me walk through the door. She was gloating I thought, so I pulled my gun and said, “The fun’s over, you should have given me my winning ticket last night.”

She started to speak. Got it.I shot her in the throat. She wrapped her fingers around the bullet hole and tried to talk, but she could only point toward the cash register. I shot her again and after she fell to the floor, I knew she was dead. I went to the register and there was an envelope on top that said, “Give this to Joe.”

I opened it and found my winning lottery ticket inside. She had paid for it for me and never knew it had won. Now, I’m a jailhouse millionaire.

 

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