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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 3 page 9

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Look at those poor buggers in the bus shelter, huddled like cattle, their lives rotting away. I'll give them ten thousand each. Here’s the corner store, I may as well duck inside, check my numbers. Dum-de-dum, just a routine morning. Doesn't matter if my ticket doesn't win, I'm happy the way I am. That guy ahead of me, please don't let him be the winner. He's handing his ticket to the clerk, the clerk is running it through the machine. Probably if your ticket wins the big prize then all the bells and whistles go off a hundred times. The bells and whistles better not go off for that guy! Lord in heaven please don't let that guy be the winner, I beg you! There, they didn't go off. He’s an obvious loser, look at him, dejected, stoop-shouldered, demonstrating himself as a loser in front of everybody. "Maybe you have good luck next time," the clerk tells him. Have to admire that clerk, he's courteous — and commercially astute! Alright, my turn. An air of anticipation fills the store, I can feel it, a preternatural hush envelops everyone. Cherish this moment, the final seconds of the old me. I hand my ticket to the clerk, he takes it. Looks bored, like he's done this a million times. He's ready to run my ticket. Everything is happening in slow motion. Act natural. There's going to be pandemonium in here. My hands are shaking. Look at these guys hanging around here, they look like a band of cut-throats. Like they're waiting to knock off a lottery winner. They could steal my ticket, dump my body off a bridge. I'll have to buy them off, ten thousand dollars each. Maybe that's not enough. How much does anyone deserve for just happening to be here at the right time? I should have figured this out before I came here. Anyway, I don't want to win. It would ruin my life. The bells and whistles haven't gone off yet. They're going to go off in an instant. Now. Now, now! They didn’t go off! Something's wrong. Let me see that screen. It says, "Not a winning ticket." That's ridiculous! There must be some mistake! There's a glitch in your machine! I demand to have this result verified by a higher authority! I saw you reach under the table! You've got a kill button, you spiked the machine! You're gloating at me with your piggy eyes and pointy ears and your psychopathic triumphalist gaze that as good as spits in my face and says, "Tough luck, buddy, that's Darwinism!" Well, we'll see about that! I want you to know I could buy this place a thousand times over and send you to business ethics class a thousand times over too! I don’t have time to argue now, I gotta go, you made me late for work. I want you to know my brother is the Attorney-General. You destroyed my whole life. This ticket’s no good! Can you give me my two bucks back, at least?