The Day I Won The Lottery (Okay I didn't, but What If I Did)

It all started one day when I was walking home from the store. I saw something blowing in the wind right there on the street of my neighborhood. As I got closer to the object I noticed that it was a scratched off lottery ticket. I picked it up very carefully hoping someone had made a mistake and had over-looked it for not being a winner. I closed my eyes for a second or two as I extended my arms out and picked it up with my right hand, and then I opened one eye first and took a peak at it.At first it looked like it was a winner, but I figured that since it was, then the amount of the winnings on it was going to be a very small cash amount. I still had one eye closed when I saw a number one in the front. I was sure there had to be a decimal point between the one and the first zero. Yes, the decimal system we had been learning about in my math class and the one that was giving me nightmares in memorizing.However, as I opened the other eye I saw a comma next to the one, followed by a five with two zeros, another comma, and then three more zeroes after that and no decimal point what-so-ever. My eyes almost popped out of their sockets from my believe that I had just won one and a half million dollars in the state lottery. I was flabbergasted and I started making cartwheels without knowing how to do them. That’s how I managed to get a little bruised, but what the heck, I was rich, or so I thought.I ran home as quickly as I could because I was excited about telling my family and friends about the miracle that had taken place in our Spanish Harlem neighborhood. However, when I attempted to rush in through the front door of the run-down place we called home to let my mother and father know of my good fortunes, I tripped on one of the steps of the rusted boards that compiled to make the stairway. I fell down and dropped the ticket between the cracks of the two boards that were below me.My one point five million dollar ticket was stuck between two pieces of wood without me ever having shown it to anyone. I couldn’t move the steps because they were very heavy, so I decided to wait for my parents to arrive from work. I didn’t want to leave the area for fear of loosing it. I kept trying to see if there was some way of getting to it, but the more I tried the further in it got pushed. Before long, I couldn’t see it anymore and I panicked and jumped up and down like a sardine out of water.The hours seemed to move too slowly for me as I nervously picked my nose more than a few times. When my family finally arrived I told them about my ticket and the winnings on it, but they just laughed loudly at me. I begged my dad to help me move the steps, but he said to stop making up stories like that. He added that I had a vivid imagination and a poor sense of humor. I almost cried right there on the spot because I could envision seeing my life passing me by without all that money.Later on during the day as I kept trying to move the heavy stairway by myself, one of the neighbors took notice of my teary eyes as I sat on the steps guarding my millions. He asked, “Is there anything I could help you with?” I was afraid to respond to his generous offer for fear of him getting greedy and taking the ticket away from me. No sir, in our neighbor even a buttered tortilla left outside unguarded was not safe.My fear called for drastic distractive responses and I said, “I dropped a nickel under the steps and I was going to buy me a large strawberry snow cone with it!”He kindly reached in his pocket and took out a nickel and handed it over to me. I felt like my luck was changing as ideas flirted inside my brain. I figured that I could fake this scene everyday and get a free snow cone, but I was wrong.The old man added to his previous statement, “I’ll tell your parents to replace the nickel later, that way you don’t have to pay it yourself.” The electrical impulses in my brain wanted to give him a piece of my mind, but instead I politely thanked him for his act of kindness. He smiled thinking he had made my day. If only he could have read my mind, God knows how much trouble I would have gotten myself into with my parents. I wasn’t allowed to think that way either.Just as soon as he was gone I sat down again in disappointment. The more time I sat, the more time it gave me to figure out another means of accomplishing my goal of getting that winning ticket. Then it finally hit me. It was another bird-brain of an idea, but this young lad was at crossroads with his future earnings.I went over to where my father kept a rope and I brought it with me. Next, I proceeded to tie one end to of the nylon rope to the stairs and the other end to the bumper of dad’s car. I made sure I hid the rope from anybody’s view so that dad wouldn’t see it either and remove it thinking I was loco in the cabeza(crazy in the head). To me, desperate measures called for desperate actions, yes, one point five million worth of it.I sneaked out during the night and guarded my genius unproven contraction of a plan waiting for the early time in the morning when it could be used. I hid in the bushes as every Spanish mosquito in the barrio came to visit and drink the free blood I was stupidly giving away. I gave up counting the number of sorties those bugs made on my body, but I never lost track of my objective.When the sun got into my eyes I knew it was just a matter of time before I would see my dad at the front door smacking a kiss on my mom’s lips and taking the (frijoles) bean tacos that were in the paper bag. It was the same bag he had used the previous week. I recognized it from the grease stains on it.My father must’ve been feeling very happy this morning because he went back for a second kiss and hug and then I saw him pass me by. I laid there quietly under my second hiding place under the house after my run-in with the mosquitoes in the bushes. I made no pain sounds anymore because I didn’t want to be spotted. When he got into the car and started it up, I felt something good inside of me.My stomach felt the butterfly feeling of seeing the ticket under the stairs. I was ready to go get it and run to him and prove that I had not made up the whole story. I waited for a minute because the growling in my stomach was hunger pains. I hadn’t eaten the tasty juevos rancheros, (over easy eggs with hot sauce) that my mom would make for me. I had mistaken the pains for butterflies, can you imagine that.Well, when he drove the car away from the curb I could feel the vibrations under the floor of the house as he pulled the stairway out from its foundation. One hard pull and the stairs were yanked out and dragged onto the street. I was just about to run over to where the front door of the house was located and where the wooden stairs had been keeping my lotto ticket hostage. The loud sound of the stairs crashing on the street didn’t faze me, it was the sound of my dad screaming my name,” José, Jose, you crazy Spanish Denis the menace!"He had seen the pieces of wood flying all over the street as he looked out from the rear view mirror. When he stopped the car and got off to check it out, he also found the rear bumper of the car lying there on the street. After hearing him shout my name again I knew it was not for a good deed I had done.There was no need to ask what the problem was; I could see it all there on the street. I didn’t see it all wrong because my Tia(aunt) Cristina still had her wrecked car on the street on blocks. It didn’t have any tires or doors. Pancho (Frank), the neighbor down the street still had his old refrigerator in the front lawn and cactuses were growing from where the door once existed. I figured the bumper just added more to our street decorations. Of course with my shouting father blessing my name with every word, I knew he didn’t approve of my misfortunes.I knew I had to respond to him, or else I would be in a heap of trouble. He wanted an explanation about what I had done. At first, I smiled at him because I thought that once I showed him the ticket, everything would be just fine between us. After all, whose dad wouldn’t be proud of having a son that was holding a one point five million dollar winning lotto ticket in his hands?I decided to wait for him to park the car and walk back over to where I was casually retrieving my millions. Little did I know that the wind had picked up and was maliciously blowing the ticket further away from my reach. I was still sure of myself recovering my ticket and hadn’t built up any sweat on my forehead. I was glowing with confidence that my papa (father) was going to be so proud of me.When my outraged father approached me, I was in shock as my eyes watched the one point five million dollar ticket drifting away in the wind. I pointed at the ticket hoping to get his attention before the wind did further damage. My father was facing me and didn’t even bother to turn around to acknowledge the truth of my story.Instead he got even madder and said, "Aye(Oh), Jose, there you go with that dumb fairy tale of yours again. Estas loco, muchacho (you are crazy, boy). I will deal with you later when I get home from work. I rubbed my behind with my hands knowing exactly what he meant.I started chasing the ticket just as soon as my father made the turn at the corner of our highly decorated street. After a few blocks of huffing and puffing like the little pig from the story of “The Little Pigs” I started running out of breathe. By the time I regained myself and started breathing the highly toxic polluted carbon dioxide air the muffler on my dad’s car made I was at the park.I never lost sight of the ticket and I spotted it under a tree and next to a fallen acorn. I was still a little winded as I slowed down knowing I just needed to walk on over and pick it up. I thought nothing of hurrying up anymore because the wind had died down and nobody seemed to be at the park to fight me over the ownership of the ticket. I bend down to pick it up but I was too slow. A squirrel had come down from the tree and was eyeing his next meal. His intentions were to pick up his acorn and my determination was to get my hands on the lotto ticket.If only I had been a little quicker, then perhaps I wouldn’t have had to put up with that darn stubborn squirrel. That critter was fast, and he thought I was going after his acorn too. He quickly ran right by the ticket and grabbed the acorn, but in doing so, he stepped on my one point five million dollar lotto ticket with his paws. His hind feet had sharp nails and they had poked holes on my winning numbers, but that was not all. My prized possession got stuck to his feet as he ran away from me and up that tall tree branches.It took me awhile to find the will to climb up the tree, especially since I was afraid of heights. All children in our culture were told of the crying lady (La Llorona) to scare us from staying out late at night. She was a mother who killed her children and would venture out at night looking for them. That lady would hover up above the trees and take the children that she found wondering around. It sounded real to me, and even though it wasn’t dark yet, it was tough to not think of the crying lady.A couple of times I thought I was going to fall down to the ground as my hands slipped trying to reach at the branches where that squirrel tired to use to his advantage. On one occasion one of the branches broke and if I had not sunk my teeth into a rope that someone had used for a tree swing, I would have met the ground face to face. It was a good thing that my parents had taught me good hygiene when dealing with brushing my teeth. They had to be strong in order to hang on. A few cavities here and there would have made for an unforgiving adventure.At one point I thought that I had finally reached the branch where it had no way out way atop its massive foliage. I reached over with my left arm and my hand grabbed the critter’s tail. I scared the poor thing and it jumped out of my reach as it landed on a bird’s nest. Well, as my luck would have it, the ticket that was on his hind paw got tangled with the straw from the nest as the squirrel exited the feathered animal’s home.

There it nested, all by itself waiting for the proud owner to lift it to safety and off to the bank, what else could go wrong?
Somehow I managed to get to the location of the nest, but so did the mother bird that had seen the squirrel in her nest with the tiny little un-hatched eggs of hers. She seemed confused by our presence and didn’t know that we meant no harm to her future family. However, her motherly instincts told her to watch out for the intruders of her nest.
She flapped her wings in order to safely land on the eggs. Her movements with her feathers created a stir and the ticket flew out the nest and floated in the air as my anticipation of where it was going to land grew inside of me. I stared it’s every move hoping that it would land somewhere that I would have a chance of later fetching it. I believed that getting down from the tree would be much easier that having to climb. I was totally wrong.
It was so painful for me to have to climb down and stare at the place I was hoping to get my feet to use for leverage. Looking down from that height was not a pleasant experience for me, and at times I almost fainted. That’s when I lost track of the lotto ticket or where it might have fallen too. It took me a while to get my head together before continuing to search for the one point five million dollar ticket.
Just when I thought I had everything all figured out as to where it had landed, something else took place that really got me very upset. A gray pit bull dog happened to be around the area below the tree. It was staring at another wild dog that was in the vicinity of the park. The mean looking animal was getting ready to attack his enemy and he was moving his legs like a bull when he is about to make his charge. My eyes were honed in to what was under his paws because the nails kept tearing away at the grass and ground beneath his feet. My heart was pounding on my chest cavity knowing what might transpire if I didn’t react soon enough.
Once the sun glared on the shiny surface of the colorful piece of cardboard worth so much money I swallowed my saliva so hard that I felt like a jackhammer had just landed inside my stomach. I was in disbelieve of the so many different turn of events, but I was still positive that I could still be the next millionaire. My decision drove me to risk all conventional wisdom I had learned in my short life and so I risked everything. If that dog got his dirty paws or his stinking teeth on my gorgeous body I could be the next rabid victim for all I knew. Bravery was something I lacked, but stupidity was in my ball park and my desperation to cash in that lotto ticket was all I could think of.
When I started to make my way towards the pit bull I caught sight of a person approaching from the opposite side. It was my father, he had seen me running around the corner, and he had x-ray vision like most parents had. He sensed that I was up to something and he had back tracked home wanting to make sure I didn’t do another dumb thing. He didn’t trust my instincts and was afraid trouble was in store in my immediate future.
He screamed in a loud manner that I had never heard before, “You better not dare approach that vicious fighting dog for whatever reason or intentions are looming inside that pea brain of yours!” I knew he was seriously going to lecture my common senses with a little more than just words. It really was a good thing that he did stop me.
The dog had no intentions of moving just because I wanted that lotto ticket. It was just another piece of trash for anybody other than me. Little did either one of them know of the valve of that little piece of trashed paper. Oh-h-h, I literally felt my heart sink from my chest all the way down to my ankles. My father didn’t have the ears to listen to me, nor the faith or trust to turn and witness a miracle. I thought best to keep my mouth shut and avoid further scolding.
A few seconds after catching my breath my eyes were still focused at where the dog’s paws had made their mark. I had to take a second peek because I took notice of a missing patch of grass where the dog had dug out with his nails. The ticket was partly buried in the hole he had made. I hurried to it as my father pulled me from my shirt collar. Boy! He pulled so hard that I flipped backwards and fell down on the unleveled ground. I pointed at the ticket that was only a few inches away, and I tried to explain to my father again to please allow me to get it. When that failed I said, “You can get it for me if you don’t believe me, but do it before someone else finds it and claims ownership!” That fell on death ears too as he moved his head from left and right to indicate to me that he didn’t understand my actions.
His statement spoke volumes as he said in Spanish, “Estas perdiendo la cabaza, (you are loosing your head)!” How else could he explain that nothing well ever happened in our Spanish Harlem neighborhood of ours?
Of course he wasn’t interested in what I was modestly trying to say, his only concern was for me. My youth to him was that of an innocent child still lost and dreaming of getting out of poverty and finding a quick way of getting rich. And my poor grades might have crossed his mind and prompted him to believe that my chances of getting a good paying job were beginning to wear on me.
I respectfully allowed him to bathe me with his words of wisdom, but my patience was running thin. Standing in the posture he preferred me to be in, I glanced over his shoulder and saw a man through the corner of my eye. He had a stick with a long pointed nail attached at one end and he was collecting trash off the ground. The uniformed man used the stick to scare the dogs away and continued his work near the sight of my lost ticket.

The Day I Won The Lottery (Okay I didn't, but What If I Did)


Harlingen, United States

  • Artist

Artist's Description

A young lad has dreams of cashing in the winning lottery ticket, but complications arise, and they are many. This is only chapter one, didn’t think putting the whole story was wise due to the length, so if there is a need, I will place the other chapter for anyone willing to continue reading, otherwise, I guess I’ll keep it to myself. It does get interesting, however; that’s up to you, thanks anyhow!

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