Just Pick Your Ticket!

Just Pick Your Ticket!

For the love of God, just pick your damn lotto ticket. This isn’t rocket science. The pretty pictures on the dollar scratch-off tickets are a lie, everyone knows this, right? The colorful numbers don’t equate to quitting your day job. Just. Pick. The. Ticket.

Mrs. Bojangles’ arm waves over the glass counter again. Her pointer finger extended, her lip tucked into her teeth. There is a sucking sound that makes me think of a snake, except this one is covered in a cloud of menthol smoke.

“What about this one?” she says pointing to whatever great financial decision she is considering investing in. “Oh, wait, what about this one?” Does she move her finger? I don’t know, I can’t see past the hula hoop earrings sticking out behind poofy bottle blonde hair.

“That’s a winner. Lots of winners on that one this week,” the clerk says. He doesn’t give a shit. Who thinks he gives a shit? He would say the same thing if I asked which planet is most likely to contain alien life advanced enough to destroy us all. “Uranus. Lots of alien life on Uranus.”

“Hmm,” Mrs. Bojangles says. Then she twists her arm back and forth, quick strikes designed to loosen up her pickin’ finger. The 1,000 fake gold and silver bracelets jangle back and forth like the ringing of a dinner bell on a bass boat.

“Which one? Heavens, I just don’t know?” she says. Just fucking pick one.

I’m assuming this is part of her process. It begins with ignoring the 12 people in line behind her at the gas station check out. Ahead of me, and directly behind Mrs. Bojangles, is a construction guy whose foot is tapping. Tap, tap, tap, he’s got shit to do. Then there’s me, mild-mannered dad with a toddler at my leg who is wondering why he can’t open his powdered donuts just yet. Do you know what kind of torture that is for a four-year-old?

Behind me is a young lady, possibly late 20’s with a satchel over her shoulder and a cup of coffee. She just wants to lay down her buck and get the coffee, that’s it. The rest of the people behind her are letting out long-winded sighs and a few snorts. When Mrs. Bojangles looks close to a pick, then decides that nope, fuck it, those sighs sing like a chorus.

I can only believe at this point that her process is to screw a crap-ton of people and steal whatever good karma they may have. It’s a heist designed to increase her chances of picking a winning scratch-off ticket.

And if she does pick one, what’s it going to be worth? Is it the mega-billions ticket that they advertise on T.V.? Fuck no. It’s going to be the $3 winner, the one that gets you just enough adrenaline so that you will come back tomorrow. I make a mental note not to be at the gas station at 8 am the next morning.

“That one! That’s the one, yes it is!” she says. The clerk tears a ticket off, the paper ripping sounds like a door opening so that we can all escape this dumpster fire.

“No! Not that one, the other one.” Son of a bitch.

The clerk gets the ticket right this time and hands it to Mrs. Bojangles. She hands over the dollar and then steals a penny from the take a penny tray. “Let’s see how we did!” she says.

Really? Seriously? Isn’t she even going to move? Nope, she just giggles to herself, saying “I think we got a winner!”

She says “we” like the group behind her helped with this and is ignoring the fact that we are all hoping that she gets abducted by aliens from Uranus.

“Winner! We won!” Mrs. Bojangles says and holds up the ticket, little gray flakes from the scratch-off falling on her fake blond hair. The toddler at my leg is starting to go feral, he’s bouncing on his feet and I think he’s growling a little bit. I place my hand on his shoulder to calm him.

“$2! A winner,” Mrs. Bojangles says. “Let’s cash that in and pick another ticket!”

I let go of the toddler’s shoulder.

Shannon Carpenter hates waiting in line behind people that lottery tickets. You can find more of his funny stories at thehossmanfamily.blogspot.com

No toddlers were harmed in the writing of this piece.