Slice of Life: The Lottery Ticket

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Marv and Joe were friends who worked together crunching numbers for a state agency. They passed the time sharing fantasies about what they’d do if either won the lottery. One day Marv leaned back in his chair and asked Joe to read out the day’s winning numbers.

“6, 15, 16 ,31, 45, 17.”

“Thought so,” replied Marv, turning red in the face. He pulled a ticket out of his shirt pocket. “This is my last day on the job.”

Joe shook Marv’s hand.  Later when they walked up the building steps after lunch, Marv grabbed his chest and collapsed–his head struck the concrete. Dead. Seconds after finding no pulse, Joe removed the winning ticket from Marv’s pocket.

He hid the ticket at home under a floor board. Had Marv told his wife about winning?

Two days later the local paper reported that no one had claimed the prize. Joe greeted this news with disgust for himself.

At the funeral he talked briefly to Marv’s widow.

“I’m sorry for your loss.”

She nodded and that was that.

After the funeral he was convinced he’d be the victim of God’s punishment for his dishonesty. He stopped taking showers, shaving and going to work. He was unable to sleep.

Finally, he went to the widow’s house to explain he’d found the ticket in Marv’s desk.

She opened the door: “Good to see you Joe.”

“Found this in Marv’s desk,” he said.

She took the ticket. “If this is a winner, Marv would have kept it from me—I filed for divorce two weeks ago…thanks, I’ll take it anyway. “


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