The Lottery Killer


George Lovechild had swapped from drinking beer to shorts. He was on his fifth brandy and was trying to get hold of John. He had run out of texts on his phone and had run down to the cash point. His account was way overdrawn and his request for fifty quid had been rejected, as were all the others for smaller amounts down to a tenner. So instead George tried his local shopkeeper to get another load of credit. He had tried explaining to Mr Patel that he and John had won the lottery and he was good for the money, but Mr Patel had refused. George had pleaded with him but the shopkeeper remained firm and turned him away. George had mumbled something like "you'll regret this" as he'd stormed out the shop.
He'd tried reversing the charges on the payphone outside the shop but it seemed that John's mobile was switched off. George had skulked back to his flat dejected and started on the brandy as his way of celebrating.
Any normal person would have called their family and friends to share the incredible news. George would have too if he'd had any friends or family. Well, that wasn't strictly true, he did have family. His mother had stopped talking to him three years ago when he'd asked her to lend him more money. She had baled him out on so many occasions that this had been the last straw and she had told him that until he stopped drinking and gambling she didn't want anymore to do with him. George didn't believe her and had rung his sister to get her on his side, but his mother had beaten him to it and his sister who had always been mummy's girl sided with their mum. She had apologised to George but told him that until he cleaned up his act she wouldn't be talking to him either.
As for friends, George had had them in the past, but they had all seeped out of his life over the years. He wasn't a particularly sociable character. He'd never known his father and had been brought up by his mother with his sister. He loved reading and spent most of his teenage years sat in his bedroom reading books. He loved Stephen King and Clive Barker and other horror writers. George had hated school where he was constantly bullied and picked on. His grades were below par and he left school with no qualifications and his first job had been working for the local estate agent selling property. He hadn't enjoyed having to show people around and making up rubbish about houses. He switched to a travelling sales job about eleven years ago and enjoyed it as much as you could. As a loner, he had plenty of time to himself. He spent many endless hours on the motorway covering his area which took him as far as away as Birmingham and Exeter. He sold kitchen utensils for a specialised French company. The pay was crap but he'd never cared because he had enough for the odd bet and drink, plus he knew one day he and John would win the lottery. John had always laughed at him, but he had told John so many times, "you mark my words, this time next week we'll be millionaires!" and he had been right.
He couldn't wait to see John's face and share the enjoyment and celebrations with his only friend in the world. He had met John at the local betting shop. They had both been regulars on Saturday mornings and the occasional weekday lunchtimes. Over time they had got talking and soon became friends. John had a mate that used to get the odd tip and they had had a couple of good wins but on the whole John only bet on a set number of horse races. George on the other hand, bet on every race he could from horse racing and greyhounds to cricket and football. Like most jobs he got paid monthly direct into his bank and that was his biggest problem. With his account so overdrawn, most of his salary was just swallowed up leaving him with a pittance to survive on. With pay day still a week away, he had run out of credit and would have to struggle over the weekend until the Lottery head quarters opened on Monday.
He finished his drink and then picked up his coat and went out in search of John. He didn't bother with the lift as it almost always stank of urine from either tramps or the late night revellers that couldn't wait to get home and relieved themselves inside the lift. Instead he headed down the stairs. They didn't smell much better and he was glad when he reached the ground floor. He headed down Crawford Road and up towards the high street. John lived about a mile away and George was happy to walk as the fresh air might help clear his head.
George had been a heavy drinker for the past five years and would never admit to any kind of a problem but subconsciously he knew he was probably an alcoholic. He didn't care as his life was pretty much as basic as you could get and with no other way of escaping his sad little world, alcohol had quickly replaced his friends. George had been in trouble with the police on several occasions for fairly aggressive drink related crimes. He had been found guilty of actual bodily harm when he was twenty five and had been put inside for two years. He'd been let out after ten months for good behaviour. He'd laughed at the time. Good behaviour was a stupid phrase. All he'd done was kept himself to himself and out of way of all the trouble makers.
He got to John's block of flats and rang the bell to flat 43. He stood there waiting for his mate's broad Bristol accent to come over the speaker. But there was no response and so George buzzed again.
'John, it's me! Open up!' He shouted up at the window of his friend's flat. 'Come on John! John! Open up mate!'
It was eight thirty so maybe John was down the boozer, he thought. George headed down the Dog and Duck. The smell of stale booze and cigarettes hit him as he made his way inside the dingy pub. There was a huge screen in the far right hand corner showing the Chelsea and Arsenal game on Sky Sports. There was an L shaped wood carved bar with a fat man and a slim, tarty looking blonde stood behind it, serving drinks. There were five or six fruit machines opposite the left of the bar and all of them were occupied with blokes pumping coins in like they were going out of fashion.
George circulated the bar looking for his friend but soon realised he wasn't in there so he made his way forlornly back to his flat. This is ridiculous he thought. I've just won eleven million on the lottery and I can't find my mate to celebrate with. He suddenly had a thought. He still had forty quid in his lucky coffee jar. He kept it i n there for emergencies, hidden in one of the kitchen cupboards. But he didn't need to worry anymore. He was a multi millionaire. He could afford to spend the forty quid. He checked his watch and saw that it was nearly nine o'clock so he rushed the rest of the way home to check the nine o'clock news. The news always included an update giving the number of winning lottery tickets. He would be able to find out how much their share would be worth.

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Copyright © 2005 Richard Armour