I DIDN'T MEAN TO WIN THE LOTTERY
Prologue & Chapter 1
(Posted – 5/20/2021)
His snoring greeted her return from the bathroom. She contemplated taking more sleeping pills, or anti-depressants, but remembered taking an extra dose maybe an hour ago, and more before then.
She stepped around the expensive dresses, designer handbags, and empty champagne bottles littering the hotel room’s floor She hated these things he bought for her affection. He never asked what she wanted because he knew it wasn’t him. Stacked on the nightstand was his medical textbooks plastered with “used” stickers, she had an identical set, but sold them.
She slunk into bed beside him. Their winter break was days away, she was familiar with the London to Copenhagen flight, but uncertain about meeting his parents. They started seeing each other weeks ago, and she only attended that bonfire party for sex to forget her beloved.
A tear rolled from her eyes. It wasn’t if she was going to cry, it was her routine since her beloved disappeared. The question was how loud would her sobbing be? She didn’t care if he heard her, he’s used to it.
She forgot about his snoring as her broken heart asked her mind its nightly questions of where did my beloved go? Why did he leave? If I knew my beloved was the elusive lottery winner, I could’ve told him how money didn’t matter to me. She wished she could go back and tell him. But knew if she did, she’d just want to hold him. She sobbed into her pillow. Her partner heard her weeping, and continued pretending to snore.
(Posted – 5/20/2021)
(Posted – 5/20/2021)
I didn’t mean to win the lottery I should’ve taken my change instead of that ticket.
Empty streets amplified my footfalls as I fled my roaring pursers. Turning a corner I sprinted for a car at the intersection.
That’ll get me out of here.
The driver’s slicked back hair prodded his collar as he talked on his smartphone. I pulled him from his car, took the wheel, and threw him a handful of hundred-dollar bills while speeding off. The ex-motorist fumbled his phone while collecting the drifting currency before my pursuers overwhelmed him. The traffic light’s red eye glared as I plunged into the intersection.
Did I run the light?
An impact threw me against the door. Burnt rubber filled my nostrils, and I was lashed by waves of broken glass. Another collision resumed the flurry which ended in car horns. My door was jammed, so I climbed out the window, and dashed to a parked taxi. Twanging music played as I hopped onto the cab’s backseat.
“I’m sorry sir, please leave.” The cabbie said with an Indian accent. “My fare shall return shortly.”
“I’m rich.” I threw money at him. “Airport now.”
The taxi’s tires squealed, bit into the asphalt and launched us into the street. I rolled down my window and threw handfuls of money at my pursuers. The frenzied horde stopped to fight over the currency as we passed the airport welcome sign.
He can’t drive me to the gate, I need a private jet.
On the airfield a blue helicopter started its propellers.
I pointed to the chopper. “Get me there before it takes off, break through the fence.”
Swerving onto the grass our bucking cab burst through the fence and bottomed out against the tarmac. My cabbie regained control as airplanes landed or took off around us. The helicopter lifted a foot off the ground.
I grinded my teeth while clenching the cab partition. “Come on, hurry.”
My cabbie swung us into a power slide that ended beside the helicopter. I tossed money at him and sprung from his smoking jalopy to the copter.
The pilot gaped at me.
I buckled up. “Get me out of here. I’ve got money.”
The pilot nodded and took off. My pursuers funneled through the fence’s taxi made hole onto the runway.
“Good job.” Beside me sat a supermodel wearing a slinky red dress. She kissed me and slipped her hand into my pants pocket. The model grinned, whipping her hand from my pants and sent a stream of hundred-dollar bills gushing from me.
I scurried away trying to contain my money. Grabbed a parachute, jumped from the helicopter while securing the pack, and deploy the chute. The wind changed drifting me towards my jockeying pursuers.
Something hit the back of my head and I woke in a chair at the lottery headquarters.
Ugh, damn nightmare.
Rusted file cabinets lined the office walls, faded cardboard boxes occupied the floor, and the desk before me was covered with folders. I peeled my sweaty shirt from my body.
The news reported this heat killed several people. I never knew the South got so hot.
Coughing erupted in the reception area outside the door. An overweight man entered holding a Johnnie Walker coffee mug wearing a tweed suit, red tie, and coughed into a beige handkerchief. He placed the mug on his desk, and cleared his throat. “Excuse me, tail end of the flu.” His Southern drawl extended his words. “Nothing fer’ a youngin’ like yourself to fear.” He pocketed his kerchief and closed the door.
That’d be my luck. Win the lottery, killed by the flu.
“I’m Bert Fields.” He smiled easing into his chair behind the desk. “Sorry fer’ the windas’ air conditioning’s too cold fer’ me.” He gestured to a fan that oscillated the Southern heat from an open window. “My secretary gave ya’ some paperwork?”
I offered him forms dampened by my sweaty fingers. “They’re filled to the best of my knowledge.”
Bert chuckled as he put on glasses that enhanced his bulbus face. “Oh, you’re a Yankee boy. Sure we look the same, till we start talkin’ that’s when we reveal who we are.” He examined my forms, exchanged them for his mug, and leaned back. “I like chatting with our winners. You know, get a feel for um. Ya’ been playing the lotto long?”
“This was my first time. The clerk gave me the ticket instead of my change, and I didn’t want to trouble him.”
He studied me from over his mug’s rim. “May I see the ticket?”
I produced my winning ticket. It flapped in the fan’s breeze as I handed it to Bert.
Bert held it to the light and whistled low. “Yes sir. The world’s largest payout.” His eyes rolled to me. “Won by a twenty-something.”
My cheeks warmed.
Bert smiled and took off his glasses. “Ya’ married?”
“No, just me and Clyde, my cactus.”
“Any kids running around?”
“No. Well, none that I’m aware of.”
Bert laughed. “That’s a good one. Well, all that’s gonna change. Hell, I wish I had a young daughter to throw at ya’.” His laughing became coughing.
Girls pursuing me, what’s that going to be like?
Bert sipped his coffee. “May I ask what ya’ plan on doing with the money?”
“Maybe buy a car?”
Bert sighed. “Youngin’. I’ve seen men and women pass through those doors, sit in that chair, and they never heard me. But I know you’ll listen to an ol’ man.” His eyes locked onto me as he leaned over his desk. “Money changes people, rememba’ money’s only paper.” He crumpled my ticket, threw it in the trash, and pointed at me. “Don’t let it change ya’. Ya’ hear?”
I blinked. “Yes sir, thank you sir.”
Bert pulled an envelope from his jacket pocket. “Here’s the lump sum, minus taxes as ya’ requested. It’s a blank check, whoever signs it gets the money, and their name will become public knowledge, lawyers can help ya’ remain anonymous. My card is included if ya’ have any questions.” He handed me the envelope sealed with a piece of tape.
What do I say? Do I say anything?
I smiled at Bert. “Thank you.”
He returned my smile. “You’ll do jus’ fine. Now go on, git.”
London’s afternoon traffic pounded cobblestone roads as a young woman in a red trench coat, and bag entered a bookstore. The shopkeeper greeted her, she swallowed her grief, and forced a smile.