Hello. I’m Mallory Green—an ironic last name once you learn my story. I grew up in the foster system, so I’ve had a laundry list of surnames in my relatively short life. Then I got married (a colossal mistake) and acquired yet another name I’m currently trying to rid myself of.
Green is supposed to be lucky—four-leaf clovers, the luck of the Irish… the literal color of money and prosperity. But you couldn’t prove it by me. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t pinching pennies and dreading opening my mailbox full of overdue bills. I’m in debt up to my unplucked eyebrows over a college education I couldn’t finish, a multi-level marketing business my ex convinced me was a good idea, a lemon car that hasn’t run since a month after I drove it off the lot, and vet bills for my inherited French bulldog Nessie, among other things.
As a result of my accumulated poor financial decisions, I’m working round the clock: during the week, I’m a receptionist at a soulless office building, on the weekends I waitress, and most nights I pull the late shift at the GiddyUp GoMart.
To-date I’ve been unlucky in life, in love, and in fortune.
But that all changed the day my numbers came up—literally.
Can money buy happiness? Friend, I’m SO ready to find out!
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The next evening Shawna was still out looking after her husband, who was recovering in the hospital. I was working alone, a rarity, but manageable since business was moderate.
As usual, lottery sales were brisk since drawings for the Mega Dollars Lottery were Tuesdays and Thursdays, but because the jackpot had recently rolled over (from my win) and was still building slowly, demand hadn’t peaked.
Still, our regulars were die-hards when it came to playing their numbers, so I wasn’t surprised to see Mrs. Conway, garbed in a shamrock jacket with charms dangling all over, come in with her long list of regular numbers.
“You are my good luck,” she said.
I smiled. “I am?”
“Yes. The night we split the wishbone, I won fifty thousand dollars on a ticket I bought here.”
I grinned. “You did?”
“Yes. I had five numbers on the Mega Dollars Lottery.”
I realized that was right because the ticket I’d rung up incorrectly and bought myself was only one number off from the numbers she’d given me. “That’s wonderful, Mrs. Conway.”
“Yes,” she said, then sighed. “But I was so close to the big jackpot!”
I pressed my lips together, then smiled. She had no idea. “Still, fifty thousand is a lot of money.”
She sighed again. “Not after taxes. And when I add up all I’ve spent on lottery tickets over the years, I’m still in the hole.” Then she brightened. “But someday I might win big!”
“I hope you do,” I said, then patiently listened as she recited the numbers from her list and dutifully punched them in. ~
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