Beyond the Western
Beating the Odds
Scott A. Gese

Image source: Piqsels

He beat the odds and took an early retirement. He now enjoys the life of leisure he thought he would never have.

Beyond the Western

There was nothing left of the money.

They took it all. Wiped me out and then asked me to leave the table. Not even a “Sorry ‘bout your luck” farewell drink. Bastards! Luckily it was only a hundred bucks.

It’s not just my luck at cards that’s gone sour lately. Over the past couple of months my whole life has hit the skids.

The last of my kids moved out of the house. My wife was close behind. Said she had “fulfilled her obligation” and now her life was her own again.

The divorce papers she hit me with made it quite clear that I was not going to be included. She left with one suitcase full of clothes. Said that was all she wanted from our sorry relationship.

It looked like I was a free man once again, except for the shitty job I really despised, but I couldn’t afford to just walk out on it, the way my wife walked out on me. So maybe I wasn’t as free as I thought.

I was shackled to it until I could afford to retire. The outlook of that happening any time soon wasn’t promising. Planning ahead was never my forte. I doubt if Uncle Sam’s retirement handout would be near enough to cover my ongoing tab in this life.

The day the divorce papers were finalized I was feeling low. I stopped and had a couple of drinks after work. I bought a pack of cigarettes and a lottery ticket on the way out. I don’t normally play the lottery, but on this day I was feeling sorry for myself and I needed something to cheer me up.

It felt good to fantasize about what I would do if I ended up hitting the big number. I would flaunt it in my ex-wife’s face. That was a given. That in itself was enough to bring a smile to my face every time I thought of it.

When I got home I threw the smokes and the ticket on my dresser and went to bed.The ticket was promptly forgotten about. A full week went by before I remembered it.

I had heard some lucky bastard had won the grand prize. Lucky stiff was probably sitting on a beach in Tahiti right now sucking down one of those fruity umbrella drinks.

I knew my chances of winning were slim to none and probably closer to the latter. The odds favor the house in a big way. I’m aware of that. That’s why I never play. But still, I had the ticket. I figured I might as well check the numbers.

It was a Monday morning. I shoved the ticket into my pocket. I planned to check it when I got to the office.

It was around noon when I finally decided to give up the fantasy that had given me so much pleasure over the past few days and check the ticket.

I sat down at my desk and pulled up the lottery website. My head bobbed between the screen and the ticket as I checked the string of numbers. When I got to the end, I checked them again. Something wasn’t right. I checked them for a third time. My mind was playing games with me. It had to be.

Each time I checked I made excuses. My eyesight’s bad. I’m not reading these numbers correctly. I must be doing something wrong. But every time I rechecked, they came up the same. A perfect match.

The prize was twenty million dollars. Things like this don’t happen to me. My heart was pounding. I found myself hyperventilating. I began to feel queasy. I thought I might throw up so I stuck my head between my legs and tried to relax.

It was a lousy position to think in, but I needed to clear my head. I wasn’t sure what to do next. I decided to read the instructions on the back of the ticket which said I needed to sign it. I did, then tucked it safely into my wallet.

When I regained my composure, I typed up my resignation, effective immediately. I walked into my bosses office. He was in the middle of a meeting. I didn’t give a shit. I handed it to him and walked back out the door. I didn’t stop. I kept walking right on out of the building.

It felt good to escape that hole.

I redeemed the ticket and booked a flight to Tahiti.

The sun and water are both warm. The beach is great and I love these fruity umbrella drinks.

© Copyright 2019 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.