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A poor young woman hits the lottery for thirty-four million dollars. As she runs across the street to tell her neighbours a car hits her.
She was injured, of course, but not killed. Interestingly neither this nor the lottery win were the most fantastic things that happened to her that day. It’s almost boringly banal to point out that she did not play the lottery or own a car, for that matter. It was in fact, not her car which stuck her, nor in any more than a legal sense “her” lottery ticket.
It was litter found in the crosswalk on her first crossing of that street that afternoon. She had picked up the crap of paper and was carrying it with her when she safely crossed the street to the newsagent. As she was buying a trashy magazine and a pack of cigarettes, the newsagent fellow saw the slip, and seeing as he sold lottery tickets along with candy, soda pop, tobacco, pornography , matches, small packets of drugs and various periodicals, all of the legally licensed and taxed sort— he consulted his list of last evening winning numbers by rote, without using his finger or moving his lips. The first time, anyway. The second, confirming, lookup in the little table he had clipped from the paper and taped to his countertop was much more deliberate, and did feature a pointed finger sliding down and then across the already smudging ink on the newsprint. It was only then that he told her the good news.
“Miss Angela, that ticket there ….”
“What, this scrap of paper? I just —”
“That is a winning ticket, miss. A beeeeeg win.”
He stretched the vowel out as a cartoon might in a portrayal of some ethnic group or another. It was a bit disturbing mid-flow of his otherwise reasonably unaccented speech. This caught her off guard.
“A big win you say, uh …?”
She could not remember the man’s name, though he knew and had used hers. She patronized his tiny establishment regularly since moving into this precinct, and was suddenly troubled by this. Her question railed off without the intended subject. He didn’t not seem to notice this, and bobbed his head. He then grabbed a paper off of the top of the pile nearest him and casually fluttered it open.
It was only moments later on her return across the street with her cigarettes, magazine and scrap of paper that she was struck. In her rush to return home and share the odd news with her flatmates she did not heed her foster parents instructions, nor the flow of traffic. It fact had a patrol officer been watching, and she had not been hit — neither true, mind — she might have been ticketed for such blatant disregard of law and common sense, leaving aside her parents opinions entirely.
She was hit in the leg by the front bumper of a cab she stepped in front of while she was concentrating more on her new agent’s name, which still escaped her. She was well into a memory sequence of their first meeting and had gotten as far as having told him her name when the cab struck her at a few kilometres and hour. It was fairly heavy traffic after all.
This did make her stepping out into traffic all the more surprising to the cabbie, his passenger, and the people they were variously on the phone with. When she was released from the emergency clinic, which the cab driver had give her a free ride to, she was a little woozy but without permanent injury. She found the hard-won cigarettes in her jacket pocket. There was no sign of the little scrap of a paper that had briefly seemed so meaningful.