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The Lotto Ticket This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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He stands in line just as he did countless times before.
He studies the men before in him line with their freshly pressed Sunday suits and their shined black shoes. He then looks down at his own black dress lace up pair of shoes immediately noticing the abundance of scuffs with the holes and black duct tape criss-crossed on the soles all part of a last ditch effort to save the old, clearly past their time, shoes.


He stands in line, hoping, wishing for something that does not seem like it will ever happen. He reaches his hand into his pocket and extracts the last of many one dollar bills spent on this line to no avail. His fingers hit the good luck charm tucked safely into his pocket. He clutches the dollar, as if a lifeline and places his hands behind his back. He once again thinks of his father’s words as the good luck charm was pressed into his palm so many years ago right before his face became only a memory and his voice a repeated soundtrack of frequently spoken words from his childhood.


“Keep this with you wherever you go.” His father had said curling his gruff and calloused fingers around his own smaller hand.


“Ok, Papa.” He agreed like any little boy would say. At the young age, he did not understand its importance but something, something in his father’s fading eyes told him otherwise. Thus, he carried it around with him just as he was instructed, but it didn't change anything. Luck now became just a word...no longer a belief.


He looked at the crumpled dollar in his hand. One last shot at one last lotto ticket for the life he only dreamed about. A life where he owned more than two suits, a second or maybe, just maybe, a third pair of shoes that would be free of holes and duct tape. Shoes that always stayed shined, always reflecting the sun.


He stepped into the convenience store on the corner that he knew so well. He reached the front of the line and pointed to one of the many colorful and enticing cards displayed on the wall behind the counter.


“I’ll take that one.” He said handing the money over. He watched it be deposited into the cash register and thought I hope this is the one. I hope this is the dollar. He gingerly took the card from the cashier’s hand retrieved a quarter and nervously began to scratch...



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