The Big Win

This piece was submitted by Harry Hopcroft, a member of MSC Senior Scribblers Writing Group. It was written in response to an exercise prompt: “Someone on welfare wins the lottery. What happens next?”

“Maisey, you remember last week, I had just $2 left?”

“Yeah Jimmy”

“And you was unhappy ‘cause I bought one of them lottery tickets? Just had a feeling about it? Thought we might just win a few bucks for once, get something nice, or whatever?”

“Yeah, Jimmy, I remember. I thought you could of bought something we could maybe eat, instead. Or maybe another bottle of that cheap wine we like.”

“Well, Maisey, I believe this here ticket actually wins the lottery. Like the whole shebang and all. Got all the right numbers all lined up here, pretty as you please and all. Newspaper says it’s worth 645 Million Dollars!”

“How much money is that, anyway, Jimmy?”

“Don’t know, really. Never seen more’n $100 all to once in my life. And that was somebody else’s $100.”

“Me neither, Jimmy. That $645Million sure is a lot more than $100! Can’t even think of what the pile might look like, or how you count it or nothing like that.

“What’ll you do with it?”

“Does seem like kind of a lot, don’t it, Maisey? I guess you’re supposed to buy lots of fancy new clothes, and cars, and a new house and all that. No idea how much them things cost. Probably get a whole case of wine, though. And no more of that “Two Buck Chuck”, neither.”

“If we got lots of money, Jimmy, does it mean we have to move from here? Need to leave all our friends behind and go away if we’s like them rich folks we hear about?

“We gotta be like them folks as won’t even move over on the sidewalk when we come by? Just brush us aside like so much trash? We gotta be like them if we’re rich, Jimmy?”

“Well, I didn’t never think about that, Maisey. Maybe we could sort of take our friends with us. Seems like enough money there to make all of our friends rich, too.”

“What if they don’t want to be like rich people, neither. We ain’t got much here, Jimmy, but we’ve got friends and a place to sleep, and all. Maybe we don’t need what all them rich folks have.”

“Better keep it real quiet while we think on this a bit, Maisey. I hear if they think you’re rich they take away your food stamps and housing and all, whether you are or you ain’t.”

“I don’t even know how to take care of all that money, Jimmy, and you don’t neither.”

“You’re right there, Maisey. I was hoping for a few dollars. Maybe buy you something nice for your birthday coming up here soon. Never did figure on getting the whole shooting match like this.”

After several minutes of silence while they sat close together and considered their future, it was Maisey who quietly spoke first.

“Jimmy, you thinking what I’m thinking?”

“Maybe, Maisey. That happens with us. What you thinking?”

“That you don’t want to leave here, neither. Leave home and our friends and try to be people we ain’t. We never been rich folks, Jimmy, and with all the money in the world, we ain’t never going to be rich folks, neither.”

“I think you’re prob’ly right about that, Maisey.”

After another few minutes, it was Maisey who spoke again.

“You gonna do it, ain’t you Jimmy? You gonna throw that thing away somewhere and try to win something we can use, and might make our lives a little easier, not harder, and not make us lose all our friends and have to move and all.”

“Yeah, Maisey, you stick with me here, and I b’lieve I am.”