As usual, scroll down for the story.
Some good things have happened recently.
Lately I’ve been mildly obsessed with the Korean idol and rapper Zico. Seriously, his song Artist is one of the few things that can make me happy whenever I hear it. The MV for it is a piece of art too.
My former best friend contacted me again, out of the blue, and we’re talking again after several years of silence. Not sure what will come of it yet but she caught me at a really good time so I gave her another chance without much thought. Besides, she seemed apologetic and more mature so why not start over?
Sadly I haven’t won any jackpot – I could really use the money – but I did get really inspired by all the music I’ve discovered so I have a bunch of stories I need to get onto paper ASAP. One of those is called Jackpot. It was born when my sister asked my help with one of her assignments for school, about science fiction (which is a genre she doesn’t know anything about, except what she learned from Black Mirror). Please enjoy:
Martha worried about her daughter. At seven weeks, it was still possible for the child growing inside of her to be fixed. If only they could afford it.
Time was running out and Martha couldn’t bear the thought of sending the child into the world with a disability.
‘’Mom! I found a solution!’’ Martha’s youngest yelled from the living room. Martha perked up and rushed towards her son. At 27, he still had two years in high school ahead of him. If he continued on this way, he’d get into college before 30! No one had succeeded at that in the past century and back then life expectancy had only been 180!
‘’Mom!’’ he repeated, grabbing her sleeve to rush her towards the TV. Once there, he pointed at the screen, a grin evident on his face.
‘’Look, mum! They’re doing a lottery again!’’ he exclaimed.
There hadn’t been a lottery in 5 years. What had made them change their minds?
‘’Can we afford it?’’
Martha checked her balance. She only had a couple thousand left for groceries and the month was still in its infancy.
‘’How much are tickets?’’ she asked, fearing the answer.
‘’Only a thousand each, mum! They haven’t gone up in price at all!’’
She sighed. She had hoped they’d be cheaper but this was for the sake of her grandchild. Martha was willing to do anything.
‘’Sev, darling, why don’t you go out and buy two for your poor old mother?’’
Her son rolled his eyes. ‘’You’re only 98, mum. Don’t be silly.’’
He took the card from her and hurried out. At the door, he turned around. ‘’And don’t look a day over 100!’’
Before she could throw the remote at his head he was gone. The little rascal!
On X-mas the family sat huddled before the TV, drinking hot chocolate and eating ginger biscuits.
Linda de Mol Jr appeared on the screen and did her usual routine, prolonging everyone’s suffering. ‘’And now, the winning numbers…’’
Martha felt anxious, more so than she had even when giving birth to her eldest as a teen.
Martha uncrumpled the piece of paper in her hand: it showed an 8.
The paper wasn’t the actual ticket but she had copied her numbers onto it as soon as Sev had returned. The real thing was safely hidden, just in case.
One number showed a 4 instead. The other had a 3.
‘’We’re all so anxious. I love it!’’ the woman on their screen exclaimed.
Her hands shook. Could it be…?
‘’Now, before I say the next number, I’d like to thank our sponsors.’’
Soon; soon, they’d know.
Everyone was silent now. No one dared move.
‘’And the final number…’’
Martha bit her lip.
‘’…you’ll hear after the commercial break.’’
Martha threw her head back against the wall. This was pure torture. Surely even back in 2003 people must’ve been sick of commercial breaks. Too bad it was live or she’d have skipped it.
‘’And the final number is… 4! Congratulations!’’
Martha couldn’t believe it. the last number on her piece of paper was a 4 too. But it was too soon for jubilations; she had to check the original. Surely fate wasn’t so cruel?
She held the ticket in her shaking hands and read the number over and over again.
- Eight, one, three, seven, five, four. 8-1-3-7-5-4.
It really showed the number.
Martha’s eyes teared as she beckoned her daughter.
‘’Baby, it’s for you and the little one.’’
Her daughter’s eyes teared up too. ‘’I’ll call him Jack.’’
Little baby Jack.
‘’Congratulations! Remember, your prize is all-encompassing: that lucky baby will be disease-free and you get five personality changes of choice, as well as three cosmetic changes.’’
Martha had to sit down. Little Jack’s flat feet would be prevented and his eye colour could be changed from brown to blue. Maybe now he’d stand a chance in society.