cutting a fat hog

Featured on The Five Hundred

She gripped the small, thin piece of paper in her large, sweaty hands. Her slow-witted mind giving it all its purpose. A sacrifice of the very air she breathes in these moments just before the numbers are called.

She watched the ping pong balls frantically swim around in their plastic fish bowl.  She could feel her numbers hitting this time. She'd played trips and quads for years and she was due for a big payoff.


 "Thank you Jesus." She muttered to herself, her eyes gazing deeply into the television as if she were making direct eye contact with the handsome man that was calling out the numbers. Her mind drifted into daydreams.


She was ready to fill Birkin handbags with wealth. Buy a lambo or a Ferrari GTO. Wear Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Christian Louboutin. Bathe in blood diamonds. Upgrade her life. Live like Beyoncé.


She would spend time surfing Fly in her Cessna Citation XLS to her own private island. Invest in Berkshire Hathaway. Take golden shits with Tobias Wong and J.A.R.K 24K gold leaf capsules.


She wouldn't give any of it to relatives. They had all turned their backs on her. They'd left her to the dogs. She wouldn't give any of it to charity. All of the charities she knew of were scams. They'd take her money and buy their own golden shit pills.


Her heart dropped with the number. She had been ripped from her dream world by her own goddamned birthday: 58. Traded four days for an entire life of wealth and fame. She'd told herself not to be sentimental, to play by the rules, but she couldn't help herself. Then she braced herself for the powerball.


It was all over. She'd walk away with 98 bucks, but it felt like she'd lost it all. And she had, really. She knew where that money would go: booze, cigarettes and a few more tickets for the mega million. At least she'd have another chance to live another life.

She looked up from the 19-inch Westinghouse television in front of her. A big purchase from an accumulation of previous scratch off winnings. Flashes of light from it carving through a still fog of cigarette smoke, suspended inside the doublewide trailer.

A used car commercial now bathing the lamenated walls and floors in tints of red, white and blue. The orange fabric of the couch saturated in the stale stench of poverty. And the smell of a freshly baked frozen pot pie climbing out from the small propane oven.

All of it rushing to her senses and bringing her back to the world that was busily leaving her behind. She thought of slitting her wrists. Maybe she'd try to swallow rat poison again, just a few more capsules this time.

But the rats had probably gotten to it already and the next powerball was just around the corner.