So there I was sitting in my house in the back alley. If you could call it a home, the truth is that I lived in a box. I had lived there since I was 25 and it has been the worst ten years of my life. To be fair the box life wasn’t that bad. I mean I was a grown man about six feet tall, but I didn’t really need to take care of myself much. I haven’t shaved in a couple years now and I am rocking this super long beard. Life was pretty boring most of the time and I only really had problems when a rain storm would roll in. Without any money I didn’t really need to worry about financial problem. It was a simple modest life style. I would wonder the streets looking for change and then buy some lottery tickets with it looking to make a few bucks so I could buy some food. If I didn’t find any change it wasn’t a big deal. I could just sit by my box and beg for a while, I wasn’t above begging.
I was sitting by my box last week when a series of events unwound. My back was and against the wall as I sat in a tight fetal position. My head was resting on my knees and I had a cup in front of my feet. I didn’t have a sign asking for change just my general appearance would be enough, and as it turns out it was enough. I little kid holding her mom’s hand walked by me. She wasn’t very polite since she just stared at me with her little blue eyes. Her mom wasn’t really watching her and she knew it. She reached down into her pocket and grabbed out some money and put it in my cup as she walked by. I knew her mom wouldn’t have let her do it if she had noticed but I wasn’t going to say no to some extra cash. My funds were especially low that week and I was starving. I grabbed the money out of the cup, it was a five dollar bill four more than I usually get. I picked up the money and put it into my pocket. Just as I was returning to my normal sitting position, another kid walked by. He was with his dad but they weren’t holding hands like the girls were. This boy was about the same age as the girl, and just like the girl he placed some money in my empty cup as he passed. Yet again this act of kindness was unbeknown to his father who by the looks of him definitely wouldn’t have let him donate to me. As the two boys walked down the street I picked up the money, it was another five! Ten bucks in ten minutes, not too shabby.
I hadn’t made any other money so far that week and I had only eaten a piece of bread that day. I knew I should go and buy more food so I went to the local grocery store. The nearest store I could find was a Rainbow Foods, just down the street from my box. I walked around carefully picking out what I should buy. I got a loaf of bread and some apples, and then I made my way to the checkout line. I would save a few bucks just in case. When I got to the line it was right next to the pharmacy which also sold lottery tickets. Having had such good luck today I put down my basket of food and walked over to the pharmacy counter. I spent all ten dollars on lottery tickets, each were a dollar plus tax so I only had enough to buy nine. Before the cashier took my money he looked at me one more time.
“Are you sure this is what you want to buy” He asked me
I didn’t say anything. I just nodded my head and avoided eye contact. Who does this guy think he is! Trying to tell me what to spend my money on, who does he think he is my mom!?! So I snatched the tickets off the counter and rushed out the door, down the street, and around the corner back to my box. I needed something to scratch the tickets with so I wrestled one of the coins out of my pocket. I read the tickets, it was a tic tack toe game, and all I had to do was find a ticket where O’s won and I won something. If X’s won from top left to bottom right I would win 100 dollars. If O’s won top left to bottom right I would win 50 dollars. Finally, if O’s won in a vertical or horizontal pattern I would win 5 dollars.
With my coin I started to scratch off all the dust on the top row. Immediately X’s won, three across the top. I threw that card across the alley.
“No problem I have nine more” I said to myself.
I scratched off three more, all of them X’s won across the top row. Then my luck turned, from bad to worse… I was so concentrated on my tickets that I didn’t watch the people around me. Just then a guy ran up from behind me and stole a handful of tickets off the ground. Before I even had time to react he was gone, sprinted down the street and turned the corner.
So there I sat there sitting by my box, dumbfounded. Going from the richest I had been in weeks back to the average was a horrible feeling. I still had one more hope. After losing those first three I had picked up one ticket and was about to scratch it when the guy had run up. I STILL HAD ONE HOPE. I read the directions again very carefully. So if I could win this last ticket I could go back to the store and buy more tickets. I grabbed my coin up off the ground. I scratched the top row
O X O
So far so good, this was better than I was doing before. I blow the dust off the card and continue scratching.
X O O
I was shaking uncontrollable at this point. I was so close to winning. If just one of the O’s in the next row were on the side I would win. If I won that would mean I could go back to the store and buy food and more tickets but more importantly MORE TICKETS. There was a reason I was living out of a box and this was why. I needed the thrill of gambling I couldn’t help myself from taking the risk.
X O X