Inside out

Some poems and reflections on life

“Just the ticket”

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He shuffled in. Smelling on cheap liquor. A dirty, ragged coat and worn out shoes. He searched through is pockets, one by one. Pulling out bits and pieces, gradually finding a coin or two. The pile of coins slowly built up on the counter, until there was just enough for a ticket.

The attendant had almost thrown him out as soon as he came in. He reeked to high heaven. It would take a lot of air freshener to get rid of the stench. But, what the heck, he had the money, so let him have his ticket.

Saturday night, and the balls rolled down the tube, one by one. Mrs Mac sat in her comfy chair and wrote down the numbers one by one. She picked up her handbag to look for her ticket, but she couldn’t find it. She searched all through her bag, pulling everything out. Still, it was nowhere to be seen. She searched her pockets. She checked the clothes she had been wearing the day she went into town. She looked all through the car. Nowhere could she find that ticket.

The old tramp died that night. It was too cold in the hollow at the back of the pack, under the trees, with only a newspaper blanket. His body laid on the cold steel table of the morgue. His clothes had been checked quickly and then burned.

The headlines that morning read that the jackpot had been won; and in Mrs Mac’s own town too. Mrs Mac turned her house upside down looking for that ticket. Her grandchildren retraced her steps to town, looking everywhere for where it might have fallen. By Monday, no one had claimed the prize. The search went on for Mrs Mac’s ticket.

The priest read a short liturgy for the old tramp. He had no known family and was buried at the back of the old cemetery.

No one ever claimed the jackpot. They are still looking for Mrs Mac’s ticket.


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