The Winning Ticket

September 7, 2011
The chilled night air pierced Annie’s skin as she sat looking up at the star speckled night sky. The light breeze that always blew was bitter and cold that night. Then her gaze shifted downward to Auburn lane, the empty street she had lived on. The only thing that accompanied the vacant dead end street was the street light that periodically flickered and emitted a small halo of orange tinted light. The light illuminated most of the sidewalk and only part of the street. The night was still and dead as Annie sat at her porch chair. This is where Annie came to relax and escape from the never ending night mare which was here day to day life. She wanted to sleep she really did but far too much was pressing on her. Her mortgage needed to be paid. Her heart medicine needed to be refilled. Annie had also just been claimed unfit to be in custody of her two beautiful children, by child services, in fact they already had replacement foster parents in line for them. The ever growing stack of unpaid credit card bills was now a small tower sitting on her kitchen counter. And there was more, April was right around the corner, bringing with it was the ungodly taxes that needed to get done. Since this was keeping her from her dreams she had been slipping out to stare up at the night sky, wishing, hoping, and praying for a savior to swoop down and save her. But as the days went on, the savior never came and her hopes and as well as her will, was simply fading away. Please. Please my savior, please, I beg of you, my almighty savior. Annie then drifted into a peaceful and calm sleep.



That night a dream had reached her. There had been a man in this dream a man in a grey pinstriped suit and a red under shirt complete with a black fedora and a black tie, Annie couldn’t see his face, good, Annie felt that was best. He sat at the very corner table of Jims Café, were Annie worked at. The man only ordered coffee with no sugar or cream, black. His voice was deep and bland. Whatever his purpose was on this earth, Annie thought that he did not belong. My savior? And as fast as the dream had started it had ended.



She awoke silently, got up out of the chair, yawned then proceeded into the house. Just the sight of Julie and Max always gave Annie a small dose of hope and encouragement that was well needed during her time of grief. My saviors? They were eating toast and sipping tap water. They eat the last piece of bread and the last edible thing in their food cabinet. The bus pulled up across the street when Max and Julie ran past Annie. “I love you!” Annie called after them. Julia was already on the bus but Max turned and waved back yelling: “love you too!” The bus pulled away and Annie got ready for work.



Annie’s shift was swiftly coming to an end. She had been leaning against the bar counter at six-twenty three P.M. counting and adding up the tips she had made that night; nothing substantial for an average day of work at Jims Café, about forty six dollars and twenty nine cents. Annie’s counting concentration was broken when the bell started to ring. Annie looked up to see who it was but by the time she looked up nobody was there. She looked around the diner until she came to the very corner table where the grey pinstriped suited man with a red under shirt and a black tie complete with a black fedora was sitting cross legged with a newspaper in his hand. Annie hesitated, as it was her waiting section. She had to, if her boss ever found out that she refused to serve any one because of a silly dream she had had, she would be fired on the spot. Annie’s heart pounded harder. Annie pulled herself together and approached the man. “Welcome to Jims Café, I’m Annie and I’ll be your server this evening, can I start you off with a drink?” Annie was scared by the fact that the black fedora shadowed his face in darkness, revealing only the tip of his nose.


“I’ll have a coffee, black.” The mysterious man said.


“…Okay sir… That’ll be right out.” Annie said with her best fake smile. She hurried to the kitchen frightened and alone. She came back out a minute later with the coffee, and delivered it to the man. He thanked her and continued reading his news paper. Ten minutes had passed by the time Annie had checked on the man. The man asked for a check. When Annie returned for the money the man was gone. Again Annie’s heart rate slowed and she began to relax. She took the black book which held the payment to the cash register. She opened it to find five dollars and eighty six cents, the exact cost of the drink, and strangely enough a note that read: “This is the winning ticket.” Discouraged, she went to the table and started to fulfill her added busboy duty she stopped when she found a small piece of paper with the numbers fifteen, twenty, twenty-two, and thirteen, lottery numbers. She starred in wonder and thought (My savior? Have you come), then pushed the slip of paper into her pocket, crumpling it.


On her way back home she stopped and got a few groceries at the market. Where she also bought a radio (Annie sold her T.V. two months ago) and a lottery ticket with the numbers fifteen, twenty, twenty-two, and thirteen. After that she had no money to fill her prescription, but she had a feeling that she didn’t need it tonight.



Annie was nearly two blocks away from her house when they started to announce the first numbers. Annie listened closely to the radio with anticipation. “AAAAAND HERE WEEEE GO FOLKS!” Annie vividly pictured the cage rolling with the marked balls inside. “Annnd the first number is… fifteen!” Annie was not amused with such miniscule odds of even getting one number right and continued walking as if nothing had happened. “And now the second one folks… It Is… Twenty!” Annie’s heart beat grew faster now as she walked faster to her house, to her kids. “Now now folks were not done yet oh no, we’ve still got two more so listen up… It is… Twenty-two, folks!” Annie started to jog, she could see the street light in front her house as she rounded the corner. “Last one folks! And here it goes!” Annie could feel it coming the climactic moment when he said thirteen. Just say it! For god’s sake just say thirteen! Thirteen!

Annie’s heart beat faster than ever. “Annnd… Thirteen! We have our numbers folks, forty-five million dollars goes to the very lucky person with the numbers fifteen, twenty, twenty-two and thirteen” Oh, my savior you came, you came! You answered me, my all kind savior! Annie dropped the radio and her groceries and broke into a full sprint. She went to the flickering street light when her heart gave way. Cardiac arrest consumed her as she collapsed under the street light. The winning ticket that was clutched tightly in her palm now fell to the pavement. Under the orange flickering light Annie Jones lie, and the man with the grey pinstriped suit stood over her, the man’s fedora casted an eerie shadow over his face, as always. The man kneeled down and pressed his bare palm on Annie’s lifeless back. For a moment nothing happened. Then the ground started to lightly shake and as the man lifted his palm a bright blue orb of light followed. He takes. He then placed the orb in his inner breast pocket. The street light flickered above them and the man disappeared into the dead of night. As for the winning ticket, the light breeze that always accompanied that lonely street carried it away for a very lucky person to stumble upon it. He gives.





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