Author : Travis Gregg

His vehicle crested the hill on his way into work that morning and it came into view like it always did. The billboard never failed to draw his attention, no matter that he’d seen it literally hundreds or even thousands of times, once every morning.

The bill board read “JACKPOT VALUE,” and displayed the current national lottery prize amount. Always the sum was extremely high, and inexorably his thoughts would turn to what he would do with that money, exactly as the company that placed the billboard intended.

For starters he’d build a brand new house with all the modern advances and without all the shortcomings of his current house. New houses were wired for holo over every square inch, had the bare minimum of furniture, and whatever kind of house you wanted could be projected with amazing detail and accuracy. “From the tops of mountains to the depths of the ocean,” was how the advertisements went. His house only had basic, and even if he had the money, it would be a waste to upgrade.

His personal flyer was a clunker too, the lateral stabilizers were beyond repair, he hadn’t been doing the quarterly maintenance and now they needed to be replaced entirely. “Why does everything I own need to be replaced?” he thought to himself as his craft hit some turbulence and shuddered with a concerning amount of force. The new models were supposed to eliminate turbulence entirely.

After that though, what would he do with all the money? Luckily he was fairly debt free, probably share some around with his friends, practically have to share some with his family. Put his mom up in a nice low gravity suite for her heart was an idea, send a couple nephews to college was another.

Still though, these paltry things wouldn’t begin to make a dent in that kind of money. And while he was thinking of what else he’d buy, the same thought crept into his mind like it did every morning. The reason why the lottery paid off so much money was that the odds were beyond astronomical. He’d have better luck robbing the local union outpost while simultaneously discovering the next energy breakthrough than trying to win the jackpot.

No, the only way he’d be wealthy was if he kept working hard and saved his money as best he could. He knew he’d never really be able to afford to build the grandiose mansion or see the outer rings like he planned, but he was happy and comfortable, and at least he wasn’t blowing a portion of his weekly allotment on an unrealistic dream.

The next day his wife called while he was at work. Apparently his neighbor across the street had won that astronomical jackpot. The total was more than he’d hope to earn in a thousand life times at his current job, and already (according to his wife) his neighbors had left for a months long vacation along the outer rim.

After that, he had to find an alternative drive into work, and instead of fantasizing about the lottery, he began to think wistfully of all those mornings he was so full of self satisfaction while his wife tried to ignore the recently developed twitch in her husband’s eye.

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