Beyond the Western
The Accidental Winner
Scott A. Gese

Someone screwed up. He wasn’t suppose to win. Image source:Colin Watts/Unsplash

Shortly after Eddie won the grand prize, he had the unshakable feeling he was a marked man.

Beyond the Western

The feelings started three months ago. The National Alliance of Casino Operators was holding their annual drawing. The grand prize was ten thousand dollars a week for life. The money raised would go to a charitable cause.

Eddie, like so many others, took a chance and bought a ticket. As luck would have it, he won the grand prize.

Maybe it was just a coincidence, but if you were to look into the drawings past results and examine each winner, you would find that since the very first drawing, every single person who had won the non-transferable grand prize was between the ages of seventy and seventy-five. It should also be noted that they were all in ill health.

Being non-transferable, once the winner died, that was the end of the payouts. Old age and ill health were big pluses for the N.A.C.O.

At the age of twenty five, Eddie was the youngest to ever win the prize, he was also the healthiest.

Maybe Eddie was just being paranoid. Then again maybe not. What he did know was that two weeks after his first payment, he began having a rash of bad luck.

It started with a car accident.

This wasn’t just any accident. It was a hit and run that, from Eddies point of view, almost seemed intentional. It happened late one evening on a stretch of seldom used back road. Eddie routinely used this road as he wasn’t very fond of freeway driving.

From what seemed like out of nowhere a large truck broadsided him on the driver side. Fortunately for Eddie, he had just purchased a brand new car. The side airbags saved him from any serious injury. He was shook up, but walked away from his crumpled car. After hitting Eddie’s car, the truck quickly drove off and was never found.

Next there was the drive by shooting.

Eddie had hired one of the neighbor kids to take his dog for a walk. It was a cool evening and the kid wasn’t wearing a jacket, so Eddie loaned him his. The kid was about a block from the house when a car came speeding by. Someone fired a shot from the passenger window hitting the kid in the arm. He was lucky. It was just a flesh wound. The kid was patched up at the hospital and sent home.

Then there was the suspicious package mailed to his house.

Sensors at the post office picked up gunpowder residue. The post office alerted the police who diverted the package to the local bomb squad. They x-rayed it and discovered, sure enough it was a bomb. They detonated it without a problem.

It was getting very apparent someone wanted Eddie dead.

Eddie wasn’t stupid. He figured it had something to do with the money. He knew it wasn’t a family member. The money was non-transferable and besides, Eddie made sure they were all well taken care of. He thought it might be some jealous sicko unhappy about not having won the prize.

Eddie decided it was time to hire a bodyguard. Someone to hang back far enough not to be noticed, but close enough to quickly step in if the need ever arose.

It did, and rather quickly too. Eddie and a friend were walking down the street one day when an older black Cadillac with tinted windows pulled up alongside them. A man jumped out and tackled Eddie.

The bodyguard was on his toes and quickly intervened. He slammed a stun gun into the guys gut and put him down. He then dove into the open car door and put a gun to the drivers head before he could get away.

Both men were arrested and interrogated. Turns out they were a couple of armature murder for hire thugs employed by an anonymous individual to, as they put it, “fix a mistake that should have never happened.” Payment was sent by courier with no way to trace it to the sender.

Eddie had had enough.

He hired a good lawyer and set up the prize payments to come through his office, then forwarded to an undisclosed off shore account. He took out a huge life insurance policy, then disappeared from sight.

Coincidentally, The year Eddie won was the last year the National Alliance of Casino Operators held their annual drawing.

© Copyright 2018 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.