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Powerballed

another pSecret pSociety pshort pstory

POWERBALLED

by Mike Bozart (Agent 33) Feb. 2016

The alarm clock went off at 6:00 AM sharp on a cold Valentine’s Day in east Charlotte. Monique (Agent 32) rolled to her left and turned it off.

“We don’t have to get up this early,” I told her. “As long as we’re out the door by 8:25, we should be ok to make kickoff.” Yeah, 8:25 is early enough to allow for a stopover at QuikTrip for coffee. I know she’ll want that.

“It takes longer for me to get ready. Have you not noticed that yet, Parkaar? [my ailing alias] Girls can’t just jump out of bed and be out the door in five minutes.”

She quickly marched her pinay [a lady from the Philippines] body to the shower, giving me a flirtatious wink.

I then examined the EPL (English Premier League) table on the tablet computer. Wow, United is still on 41 points. They must have lost to Sunderland yesterday. Maybe Liverpool can make a late charge. Leicester is in uncharted territory; their wheels could come off. Probably Arsenal or City ends up winning it, I bet. Though, Tottenham is right there.

Monique was back in the bedroom twenty-six minutes later. She dried her hair and did her makeup in the near-full-length mirror. I guess I should get up before I get a headache.

We were out the back door at 8:23 AM. And, at 8:33 we were in the QuikTrip on Eastway Drive.

The friendly raven-haired Latina cashier remembered us.

“Is that all, guys? Just two small coffees and these tiny chocolate doughnuts?”

“Yeah, that will do it this time,” I replied.

“No lottery ticket today?” she asked. The drawing was last night. We haven’t checked the ticket yet. Who has the ticket? Me or Monique?

“No, we’re all good for now,” Monique stated.

We paid up and began to leave the counter.

“Have a great day, guys!” She sure has an upbeat attitude on a frigid Sunday morning. Maybe her boyfriend is taking her out to dinner later. Valentine’s chocolates and something extra. Internal chuckle.

We got back in the gray Kia and headed for Monroe Road. As we passed over the Independence Expressway (US 74), I remembered the Powerball ticket. Maybe she has it.

“Monique, do you have the Powerball ticket?”

“Yes, it’s in my purse.”

“Can you check the numbers on your smartphone?”

“Sure, Parkaar.” She knows that the audio recorder is rolling.

“Thanks, Agent 32.” He’s recording. I knew it.

Monique got the Powerball website up on her screen and viewed the winning numbers from last night. She sighed.

“No, we didn’t win, 33.”

“That’s ok, 32. Another couple of bucks for the schools.”

She kept looking at her phone. “Darn! My numbers were the winning series for the drawing last Wednesday night. Even the Powerball number of five was correct.”

“What?! You are kidding me!” She must be mistaken.

As we came to a stop at Monroe Road, Monique passed her cell phone to me. On her just-cleaned screen, my sleep-encrusted eyes saw:

2/10/16: (2) (3) (40) (50) (62) (5) [|*] Power Play: *2x

It was the supreme horror that I always feared: Our numbers win on a day that we fail to buy a ticket. Well, that’s it: I’m cursed. I’m going nowhere. The gods hate me. I’ll be haunted by this blunder for the rest of my unlucky life. Why did we stop buying tickets for the Wednesday drawings? Probably because I was too damn lazy to get them after coming home from work. Boy, am I incredibly stupid, or what? Malloy said that once you decide to play the lottery, you must play every drawing. You can’t skip any. He stated that very clearly. I didn’t stick to the plan, and this is the result. Where is my brain? It’s cooked, and has been for a long time now. Man, this is unbelievable. Gaspingly unbelievable. After taxes, Wednesday’s jackpot was probably over $80 million. And, we would have been the sole winners. Well, it’s gone now. Can’t rewind the clock. And, don’t expect to hit again. That would be like one in ten trillion. We blew it. No way around it. No, I blew it – just me. It’s only my fault – not Monique’s in any way. I completely blew it. How utterly deflating. Where’s the hemlock? It’s a good thing that we don’t have a garage.

I dejectedly handed the cell phone back to Monique without saying a word as the light turned green. I made a right turn and drove towards uptown in silence. [_ Why did this happen to us? I would have given away over 60% of that money to family, friends, and even deserving strangers. Make that 70%. I was going to pay everyone who liked, posted or commented on the psecret psociety page. I was going to be able to increase my ‘Gold, a summer story’ [my novel] Adwords budget to $100 a day, instead of the measly $1 a day. Well, so much for all of that now. Damn you, Zeus, I wasn’t going to horde it or blow it on expensive cars, houses, or drugs. This is just un-fucking-believable! There was a 50-50 chance of winning with those numbers. Saturday or Wednesday. And, wicked Wednesday won out. Of course, someone like me wasn’t going to win such a coin toss. I’m not the lucky type. Never have been. Though, I did get real lucky when I met Monique. Well, February 10, 2016 will never be forgotten: my day of dastardly doom and eternal gloom. The big stack of money was on the long conference table for the taking, but I just walked right on by. I know that Monique believes in God, but I don’t. I guess I never did. Oh, wait, is this my punishment for not believing in God? Ah, fuck it! Whatever! _]

I made a left onto 5th Street. We passed through a series of 4-way stops in the older, now-quite-upscale Elizabeth neighborhood, finally approaching Hawthorne Lane. I steered the car over towards the curb to park.

“Parkaar, remember that the trolley doesn’t run on Sunday until 9:15.” Yeah, she’s right. I can’t think anymore.

“Ok, we’ll just drive to our free parking spot uptown, Monique.”

“Don’t dwell on it, mahal. [love in Tagalog] Remember you told me, ‘don’t cry over spiIt milk.’ Don’t worry; I can pick another set of winning numbers.” Bless her heart; she just doesn’t know about probability. Or, maybe she has the power of naïveté?

“I think the chances of us having a winning set of six numbers again is about as good as getting struck by lightning in Linville Caverns … seventy times.”

“But, that’s underground, 33.”

“Exactly.”

Our preferred parking area on College Street between East 7th and East 9th had no vacant slots. We ended up parking on West 5th Street.

It was a five-block walk to RíRá Irish Pub. We passed a very old cemetery on the way. Did any of them suffer lottery heartbreak? Did they have lotteries back then?

We soon arrived at the tavern at 9:04 AM. The thick wooden front doors were locked. Other LFC fans gathered with us. A face-freezing wind howled down Tryon Street.

Someone texted someone inside. The doors opened. The game was in the 4th minute, still nil-nil.

Monique and I took a seat. A dark-haired Irish lad (his accent was a giveaway) came over to our table and took our drink order.

“A Guinness Extra-Stout for me and a Guinness Nitro IPA for the lady.”

“Sounds like a lucky combination.” Did he really have to use the adjective ‘lucky’? Jeez.

“Yes, maybe the Reds get back on the winning track today,” Monique added.

“Hope so,” he said.

“If we can’t beat Aston Villa, we’ve really got some problems,” I said. “They’re in last place, buried deep in the cellar.”

“I agree. Hey, your beers will be coming right up.” He smiled, turned and departed for the bar.

Before he came back, Sturridge scored with a nice header from a beautiful cross from Coutinho. No one in here has any idea that we missed out on $80 million dollars. If we would have won, would we be in this bar right now? Yeah, probably so, if we were still waiting to publicly claim it. I would just be buying everyone a round. Several rounds. All rounds. All the way around.

We ordered some Celtic carrots. While waiting for them to arrive, Milner scored on a free kick.

The carrots were tasty. I wonder how they cook them.

The match was 2-nil at the break. The upstairs was happy, but not giddy, as Liverpool had blown a two-goal lead against Sunderland at Anfield last week, ending in a draw.

After Emre Can scored, it got pretty raucous. Everyone knew that Liverpool wouldn’t be drawn this time. They would go on to win 6-nil. Aston Villa looked like a shadow of last year’s FA Cup finalist team.

Upon our exit down the wooden steps, a fellow LFC fan shouted: “Come back! You guys are our good-luck charms.”


Powerballed

Do you play the Powerball or Mega-Millions lottery? If so, read this almost-completely-real-life short story, and hopefully you won't make the same multi-million-dollar blunder that Agents 32 and 33 did. While driving to a bar in uptown Charlotte to watch the Aston Villa - Liverpool football/soccer match, Agents 32 and 33 get some extremely deflating news concerning their lottery ticket. Approx. 1500 words Real-life accuracy: 98%

  • ISBN: 9781310094040
  • Author: Mike Bozart
  • Published: 2016-02-15 20:20:07
  • Words: 1528
Powerballed Powerballed