The Lottery Killer

ONE

Glass of beer in hand, cigarette in the other he was perched on the edge of his armchair. He had stopped the ritual pacing up and down the lounge as soon as the Saturday night lottery show began on the TV. He'd still have to wait for the presenter to go through the tedious preamble.
He switched off mentally and thought about the afternoon's football results. Why had he put so much on Everton beating Spurs? He swigged from his glass and nervously inhaled his cigarette. Everton were the on form side and playing at home they should have walked it. Fucking Yids! He thought. He couldn't afford another loss and now he owed his bookie five thousand pounds. Five grand, where am I gonna find that kind of money?
Stubbing the butt into a gaudy Blackpool souvenir ashtray, he got up and peered out of his flat window. The view ten floors up would have been amazing in any location other than St Paul's in Bristol, the drugs capital of Europe. He looked into the flat across the street and watched the old woman hanging out her big knickers.
There must be more to life than this he thought as he reached for another cigarette. His flat was a complete mess and with his rising debts he was now struggling to meet the rent. His job as a travelling salesman selling kitchen utensils was underpaid and mind numbingly boring. The only perk was his Vauxhall Vectra and the petrol card that came with it. Shame he couldn't use the petrol card as credit at his bookmakers. The job was supposed to have on target earnings of thirty grand but that was only if he managed to reach the ridiculous targets that his area manager set each month. Instead he was scraping by on his basic of fifteen grand which wasn't even enough to cover his drinking and smoking habit let alone the gambling and any other fun he might want to have.
The sound of the lottery music turned his attention back to the TV. He rushed back to his chair and downed the remains of his beer. He knew their numbers off by heart. He and John had been mates for years. They had grown up on the Robson Estate and at thirty seven John was two years younger and was more like a brother than a mate. John had kept him clear of any temptation that the drug dealers had offered over the years but John had been unable to keep him from gambling and they both enjoyed their evenings in their local pub, The Dog and Duck.
Cracking open another can, he picked up his mobile phone and texted John. "Standby." His "Pay-as-you-go" card had run out of credit, but he still had 5 texts left. The most the pair had won on their syndicate numbers was ten pounds, but every draw, he was sat glued to the TV.
"Tonight's triple rollover jackpot is an estimated twenty two million pounds." The pretty presenter announced. Let's hope tonight's the night then. Twenty two million, he whispered, now that would be cool.
He texted John, "22M!!!"
Some minor celebrity from one of the reality shows pressed the start button on the machine and the little round lottery balls dropped down their tubes into the big air bucket. The balls hopped, skipped and jumped around inside the see through container and the voice over guy announced the first number. 'Twenty seven. Last time out 3 weeks ago, its 33rd appearance."
He couldn't believe it when the second number was theirs too. He quickly texted John, "22M coming our way! We've got the 1st 2!" He downed his glass of beer and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. Easing forward in his chair his hands began trembling as the third and fourth numbers popped up. They had them as well. They had four numbers. All we need now is twenty six and forty eight. Come on, come on. He was rubbing his sweaty palms on his jeans and unconsciously rocking his upper body back and forwards.
"Number twenty six, twenty seventh time out, last appearance was 4 weeks ago."
Fuck me! Five numbers. He wanted to text John but he couldn't take his eyes off the screen. His heart was racing wildly. One number away from the jackpot, just one number. So near and still so far. Come on! Come on. He had started shouting at the telly. His hands were clamped together almost in prayer. He wasn't a believer but as he sat there rocking, waiting for the last number he began pleading with God.
'Please God, let this be our turn, come on God, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. You've taken so much from me; surely it must be my turn. Come on!'
He began chanting forty eight over and over again and was about to pick up his phone to text John when the final ball popped up.
He fell to his knees and began sobbing. He looked back up at the screen as the six winning numbers were sorted into numerical order. He and John had won the lottery, a triple rollover. They had just won a share of the twenty two million pound jackpot!

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Copyright © 2005 Richard Armour