It’s not like I woke up in the morning and planned this. Sometimes, stuff like this just happens.
It started out like this, I was just looking for somewhere to spend a couple hours waiting for my mom to finish with her bridge club or something. I seriously don’t know what the hell she was doing. Just that I wasn’t gonna be doing it with her, but I needed to wait for her to get it done.
I know, I’m a jerk talking about my mom like that. Sorry. But, lord. At least I waited for her, right?
Anyways, I’m getting off track. So, where was I? Waking up and planning bad stuff? Yeah, no, that’s not me. I’m not a bad guy. At least not on purpose, you know? I’m a, what do they say, a opportunist.
So, I’m waiting for my mom. Just sitting in front of the Gerry’s Liquor, smoking my menthols, drinking my big old Monster lemonade. And this dude walks out with a lotto scratch card, and he’s got this look on his face like he’s just won a million freaking dollars.
Now, I’m not a dumb ass, I don’t think people walk around holding a scratch card with a look on their faces like they won a million bucks unless there’s some good reason to walk around holding a scratch card with a look on their face like they’ve won a million bucks.
So I ask the dude, “Hey, you got a look on your face like you’ve just won a million bucks.”
And dude says, “Yeah, I think I just did.”
At this point, I’m cozying up to him, nice and easy. Trying not to spook him. I don’t even know what I was doing, but I did. You know, like instinctual. So I creep up to the guy, take a nice slow gander at his lotto, make a nice friendly comment like, “well, well, well, congratulations, old chap.”
And I pop him, right in the mouth, and grab the ticket and bail the freak out. Good night.
You know some people are just lucky. You think, for most of your life, that isn’t you. You wake up every day, and your life is kinda lame. You got this lame job, lame friends, lame lovers, when you even have any lovers at all.
And a resignation sorta falls over you. You kinda give up on things getting better, on the possibility that maybe, some day, your lucky day will come.
But still, some weird little part of you won’t let go. Some stubborn and optimistic little piece of your soul just keeps insisting that your lucky day actually is going to come. You just need to hang on, one more day.
Just one more day.
Do not give up.
But that little voice, most days, just sorta goes about its quiet business. Not really making a fuss. Not really getting loud and preachy. It’s not like you wake up with Tony Robbins taking you by the shoulders and demanding you give it the old college try.
So, this little voice, this little character, the thing it does: it makes you go buy lottery tickets.
And so you do.
And lo and behold, one day, one perfectly ordinary day, it comes through and you win.
At least for a minute, you feel like everything is different. That you’re one of the winners. That you’re lucky.
And then somebody punches you in the face and steals your ticket.
Gerry makes a point of making conversation with everyone that comes into Gerry’s Liquor. She calls it “her” liquor store because they share the same name, but she doesn’t own it. She just works there. The late shift, most of the time. But the way she takes care of the place and the way she treats the customers, it’s not unusual for people to assume that she is actually the owner.
There’s one man that Gerry has known for years. A sad person, usually in to buy beer and cigarettes and, randomly, lottery tickets. She notices that he has come in with a slightly elevated attitude tonight. It’s not that he’s happy. It’s more that he’s not so burdened.
He comes to the counter with his case of Natural Lights and asks for one of the new tickets, the Wheel of Fortune. She smiles as she pulls the ticket for him. She’s got a feeling about this ticket, it’s gonna change his life.
“The Robbery” a story from the collection THREE: Stories Told In 3 Parts. Find more stories [here].