Henry Thomas stared intently at the TV, his feeble hands shaking. The lottery girl said the first number. "Seventeen!" the constantly jovial girl cried, making it sound like the greatest number in the entire world. As quickly as he could, he found the group of 37 other lottery tickets that started with the same number. Then, he looked expectantly up at the screen.
"Dad, are you in here?" Mary Johnson called from the front door, having just walked in. With her came the annoying babel of his grandchildren. The noise almost made him miss the second number. Twenty-three. Once again, he sorted through the tickets. 18 left.
Mary walked into the room. She scowled at her father, hands on her hips, still holding her car keys. "Oh my gosh!" she gasped. "You bought all of those lottery tickets? There must be four hundred of those things! Really, you're ninety-eight. Don't you think you're a little old for this?"
He waved a hand at her, dismissing her. "I'm fine," he said hurriedly. "I'm not going to live forever. Might as well be rich in my final days."
She sighed. "Really Dad, you should at least say hi to you're grandkids. You haven't seen them all day."
He rolled his eyes. As if he really wanted to talk to them when he had a lottery to win. Besides, his granddaughter was only three and just played with her ancient Lilliputian dolls all day, and his grandson was eight and talked constantly and ran everywhere. By winning the lottery, he could move somewhere where it was nice and quiet. "Twenty-nine," the girl said, and he continued sorting.
Mary sighed. "Fine. Go ahead and ignore your grandchildren." She stormed angrily into the kitchen.
Why was this taking so long? There's only five numbers to call out! I don't have all year! Six more tickets, six more tickets…
"Honey, I'm home!" George Johnson shouted. Honestly, this is pandemonium! Henry thought. On the television, the lottery girl was taking her sweet time to say the fourth number. She seemed to be taking some sort of sadistic pleasure into making him suffer. "Hello Henry," George greeted in a horribly loud voice. In a utopian world, everyone would be silent.
Henry grunted a greeting. The fourth number was 37, and he was left with two more tickets. The lottery girl smiled, and said the worst words imaginable. "We'll be right back to reveal the final number after this."
"No!" Henry screamed, jumping up. His voice cracked, and he collapsed back onto the couch, suddenly feeling dizzy. The last number was tantalizingly close, teasing him.
Everyone rushed into the room to see what all of the commotion was. Mary, George, and the two brats…uh, grandkids.
"What's wrong with him?" George asked his wife, to which she responded, "He's waiting for the stupid lottery."
"The lottery! I'm missing it?" George cried, plopping himself down on the couch.
"Quisling," Mary grumbled. Meanwhile, the lottery girl reappeared onscreen.
"And now for the final number…" she said, taking literally forever. If it wasn't for the girl's narcissism, the numbers all would have been called about twenty minutes ago. She enjoyed teasing people, Henry thought. She's doing this to me because she thinks she can. Annoying chit.
"Teddy, why don't you tell Grandpa what you learned in school today?" Mary said, just to piss him off, he was sure.
"Shh!" Henry yelled, panting from the anxiousness. But it was too late. The kid was reciting a limerick as loud as seemingly possible. The three year old started crying. Henry's vision suddenly started to blur, and he blacked out, but not before hearing the last number being said. 46. He didn't have time to check the last two tickets.
The next day, it was reported that Henry Thomas, age 98, had died by breathing in too much fumes of the scratch off stuff from the lottery tickets. He never knew that he won.