Instant millionaire

Published 10:45 am Wednesday, November 17, 2010


The numbers matched. Perfectly. His mind did not grasp it.

He read it again.

But there it was. The same numbers exactly.

Twelve million dollars. Twelve million dollars!

His heart surged to his throat as his hands started shaking. Who would he call? He had to tell someone! No! He would tell no one. Not yet. Not even his wife. It would be his secret. Just for now.

He savored it as a delicious meal. Its implications, like good wine, were intoxicating. He caressed the small thin paper between his thumb and index finger, as if to authenticate its existence.

Wandering into another room, he returned quickly, imagining the ticket might somehow disappear if left for too long. But there it was, lying on the table. He looked at it. Stared at it. Checked the numbers again. It was for real, slowly sinking into his consciousness. He was now a rich man. Very, very rich.

His simple stroll into JB’s Mart had transformed into a pathway to the promised land, a delirious dance into paradise.

He carefully folded the winning ticket in half and placed it into his top shirt pocket. Grabbing his coat, he half walked, half floated to his car. Many idle moments had been spent fantasizing about this trip to verify his ticket. But only in his dreams. Now it was real.

The first indication of a problem was the pain somewhere in his chest. He had experienced it before, but never to this degree. Grabbing the car handle, the pain quickened and intensified, such that he sunk to his knees and murmured.

Had he not been parked on a side street, a passerby could hardly have missed him. But as it was, he toppled to the ground unnoticed, wincing, panting, stammering.

Reaching into his shirt pocket, he grabbed the ticket as if its life changing power would come to his rescue. It crumpled inside his clenched hand.

“No—no” rattled out hoarsely between his lips, the pain excruciating as darkness crept in, strength evaporated and life retreated.

At his last, slow, exhaling breath, the fingers relaxed. A light breeze lifted the paper ticket into the air and sent it cart-wheeling down the lonely street.

Rex Alphin is a farmer, businessman and contributing columnist for The Tidewater News. His e-mail address is