Richard, and Marie Jordan are an average suburban middle-class family. They have the American dream--a happy marriage, two kids, a house, two cars, plenty of credit cards, and lots of debit. Faced with the threat of losing their main source of income, Marie decides to take a chance on playing the lottery. When she wins, Richard and Marie find out exactly how much things change when faced with more wealth than they’d ever dreamed of, and more predators than they could ever imagine.
The sun set gently over the rooftops as Marie's sedan pulled into the driveway. Home at last. She sat behind the wheel for a moment, savoring the peaceful feeling of a long day finally at an end. She grabbed her purse and for a second let the faintest hint of happiness spread across her face. She saw her features in the rear view mirror and smiled. That will have to do, she scolded her reflection. When you walk into that house, you don't know anything about a lottery ticket, you never heard of a lottery ticket, you never saw a lottery ticket, and you darned sure never bought a lottery ticket.
She sighed as the feeling of euphoria passed, and she grabbed the bags of groceries she'd picked up on the way home. Richard just wouldn't understand.
It wasn't about the money.
She knew it was the worst possible odds ever of winning those games. It was about the hope. She patted the side of her purse as she lurched from the car, bags in hand. As long as she had that ticket, she had a little sliver of hope. She hummed a happy little tune as she hurried for the door.
The sound of the television greeted her as she stumbled into the living room.
Nicole and Bobby sat at the living room coffee table scribbling on paper with books spread across the floor at their sides. They paid no attention to the words they wrote, in favor of the rerun on TV.
Behind the kids, Richard lay sprawled on the couch, with his eyes closed and his mouth open.
"Dinner will be done in a minute. Don't mind me," Marie said as she huffed off into the kitchen. Neither child paid her any mind, but Richard's eyes popped open wide and he sprung from the couch.
He grabbed a bag from her arms and began unpacking. As he passed her on the way to a cabinet, Marie put her arms around his waist and let her tension fall away as she melted into him.
"Long day?" he said as he nuzzled her neck.
"They're all long days," Marie said. Richard pulled back and looked into her eyes. Uh oh. "What's wrong?"
"Marie..." Richard's voice wavered. His bottom lip trembled.
Marie thought for a moment he would cry. It was a scary feeling-he was the strong one, her rock, and here he was crumbling before her eyes.
"Little problem at work today." His arms tightened around her. Marie took in a big gulp of air and pushed the fear back down into her belly where it became a heavy stone. "Little problem?" she said, hoping he'd just had a bad day, but knowing it wasn't that kind of little.
"There is no more job." There, he said it. The words that had lingered in both their minds for weeks since the announcement of cutbacks had come down from above. The words they never thought would happen to them had just happened. "We knew it was coming." Richard released her waist and fell into a chair by the table.
"Yeah, b-but..." Marie stuttered.
"It's going to be okay." Richard put his arms around her again, pulled her close, and buried his face in her belly-right alongside the rock of fear that was growing bigger and scarier every moment.
© Tami Parrington
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