A day in the life

I'm walking to the lottery store with a third generation lottery ticket in my hand.  The rain is coming down softly, so I pull myself tighter into my hoodie and wonder idly how soon it will be before I need to invest in a heavy jacket.  I've gone entire winters jacketless, and I find myself hoping I'll make it through another one without having to put down the two hundred bucks to grab a new coat.

It's been three weeks since I bought the first lottery ticket.  A spur-of-the-moment purchase at the convenience store, grabbed entirely so that I wouldn't get so much change when I used that twenty-dollar bill to pick up a pack of gum.  And so far, it's done pretty well for itself - each week, I get just enough numbers right to give me a new ticket. 

It's almost a weekly ritual at this point.  I walk into the store, make idle chit-chat, and check my ticket.  When I get my free ticket, I grab another pack of gum with a ten, getting enough change for laundry that week. 

Each time I check the ticket, I superstitiously avoid thinking about it - if I avoid thinking about winning, I increase my odds of winning.  I know it's a completely pointless thought that lacks any sense or reason, but there it is. 

It's a game.  It's as if I'm using reverse psychosis on fate.  "Look, fate, obviously I don't care whether I win or lose.  In fact, I'm not thinking about it all... I WANT to lose.  So, go ahead.  Let me lose."  And so far, it's worked.  Each week, I win a free ticket, carrying on the period in which I subconsciously think I may be a millionaire, while consciously doing everything I can to avoid thinking about that possibility. 

I get to the convenience store, walking past a small dog tied to a post.  The rain drips off the eaves, collecting in a puddle that the dog drinks from.  The asian couple nod to me as I enter, while they watch a chinese soap opera on a laptop.  I mingle through the store, grabbing a pack of gum on my way to the lottery checker.  Spearmint.  I swipe the ticket, waiting.  Trying not to think of what I would do if I won millions.

Trying not to think of the house I'd buy - small, but with maybe half an acre of land and maybe even on the water.   With a bar in the basement large enough for a pool table and maybe a drum set.  A kitchen with an island and a large stove.  A garden.

Trying not to think of maybe buying a boat.  Trying not to think of taking my friends out for some crazy party.  Trying not to think of which charities would receive a portion of my largesse.  Trying not to think of the guitars I would buy.  Trying not to think of being able to be a full-time student.

Of course, I fail miserably.  Just for a second, I think of what I would do if I won that money.  And, of course, in that second, I've lost.  Because the machine tells me "Sorry - Please Play Again". 

I shrug, defeated, and approach the cashier.  She smiles back at me, aware that my run of "free ticket luck" has died.  She swipes my gum while I fumble in my pocket.  All I have is a twenty. 

What the hell.

"Can I have another ticket?  With the extra?"

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