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A Lotto Pain

Author: John Monaghan

It’s blawin’ a hoolie through the streets of Dundee. Empty packets, cartons and plastic bags sail through the air courtesy of a squabble of seagulls who have torn open black refuge bags, in search of scraps of food.

I glance over to where the sour-faced sentries stand atop their plunder and am suddenly smacked in the face by a stray piece of paper.

'Whit the? Hang on… would you believe it? It’s a Lottery ticket!'

Closer inspection reveals that it’s for tonight’s draw. I look around in search of the owner but can see no evidence of a claimant. I look back down at the fluttering piece of paper and scratch my jaw.

Euromillions Lotto. Tonight’s rollover worth £34 million. I whistle through my teeth.

'Maybe it’s an omen.'

I look up and down the street but there’s no one looking for it.

'Findies keepies; loosies weepies!' I chuckle to myself, pocketing it.

Later on that evening I watch the live draw in anticipation. The balls whirl around in the machine and then a voice announces, 'And the first number is –’

Rrrring!!!

'Ring? Ring? What?!' I say aloud, rolling over to switch off my alarm.

'I might have known it was a dream. But what if it’s an omen?'

The east coast wind had been fierce for days and that’s probably why I had been dreaming about it. Also, I had read the day before that there was a jackpot rollover tonight. Right there and then I make a decision to buy a ticket. I write down my messages list for the day, fold it neatly inside my jacket pocket and head out to my local newsagents.

'A Euromillions Lucky Dip, please.'

'That’ll be £2.50, thank you.'

Once paid for, I slide it inside my jacket pocket and head out of the shop. I’m halfway down the street when I decide to have a keek at my Lucky Dip numbers. I find my folded shopping list first and notice something pink slipping out of a crease. Immediately, the wind picks it up and spirits it away down the street alongside other pieces of paper.

'I don’t believe it!' I gasp, starting to give chase. I run to the end of the road and miraculously catch sight of a pink piece of paper as it disappears over a hedge into someone’s garden. I clamber into it and start frantically searching. It’s not long however, until the homeowner – quite rightly – comes out of the house and asks me what I’m doing amongst his shrubbery.

'Looking for my Lottery ticket. It blew out of my hand you see,' I reply. 'Ah! Here it is!'

I hold aloft the pink piece of paper triumphantly. Only then do I realise that it’s a fifty-pence off coupon for toilet rolls. I leave under a cloud of embarrassment but resume my search with gusto along Donaldson Street. I walk on and on and on, but eventually resign myself to the fact that it has gone and that my dream has eerily come true…

A fortnight later I am browsing my daily newspaper when I come across a story of a local man who won a considerable amount of money on the Euromillions Lottery, the night of the £34 million jackpot. He was in dispute with several people who claimed that it had been their ticket. The column read:

“Mr __________, who had been playing the same lottery numbers weekly, for several years, did not win the jackpot that night. Instead, he was lucky enough to win the £1 million raffle that is included on the ticket with the winning code.”

The paper then went on to quote the winner, “I do the Euromillions every week but it wasn’t one of my own tickets that won me the prize. I found one blowing down the road just around the corner from Donaldson Street and it was for that evening’s draw. Can you believe that?”

'YES!' I screamed. 'I bloody well can!'