This short story is inspired by Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery. Enjoy.
The Lottery’s an annual custom, a tradition we all grew up with as far back as even the oldest person in the country can remember. However, it’s gone on so long we’ve forgotten the purpose and meaning behind it. Anymore, it’s simply a part of our life, and we look forward to it every year.
A month before the Lottery, those 18-and-older submit their names based on how much they make. For each dollar one makes, the more they get to submit their name into the box to be drawn on the last day of the year. The Drawing is done live with all stations tuned in so everyone can watch without becoming distracted. Then, all the real fun begins.
Jasyn Rook won this year, despite being a recent college graduate making only a few thousand during the summer months at a part-time job. But that’s the magic of the Lottery. Anybody can win. And next year, he’ll have more money in which to use to submit his name more times.
My grandfather still talks about Urice Coolidge, a nineteen-year-old single mother working as a server, and how she won four years in a row, seven altogether during her lifetime, until her playboy boyfriend won and snuffed her out.
After the Drawing, they flew Jasyn out to Los Angeles for the Picking.
Jasyn stood in the large winner’s circle with several television screens standing behind him. The host, this year a young model turned movie star named Natalya, gave him the rundown of the rules, even though everyone on the planet knew them by heart.
“Jasyn, congratulations on winning the Lottery,” Natalya began. The audience – low-class citizens with very little money – cheered at the beautiful woman’s words. “Now, we have a huge surprise this year; something the State hasn’t done in the history of the Lottery.” People sat on the edge of the seats, not only at the stadium where they filmed the Lottery, but at their homes as well. “This year, we’re giving twice the amount of Selections.”
“What?” my grandfather said sitting in the middle of the couch. He sat between me and my brother, as he’s done every year since my grandmother passed. “This is going to be interesting.”
The host shushed the audience by waving her hand, signaling everyone to calm down. “That isn’t all. We’re also giving you Immunity for the rest of your life.”
The audience gasped and my grandfather nearly fainted.
“This means, Jasyn, as I’m sure you know,” Natalya explained, “that nobody can ever choose you as one of their Selections, meaning you can keep your winnings until the day you die.”
“This changes everything,” my brother, Arnold, screamed in delight. He was a fourteen-year-old nerd who loved obsessing over the Lottery. “He can choose the 20 richest and never worry about losing a penny.”
“We got it, Arnie,” I said rolling my eyes before turning my attention back to the television.
Jasyn laughed in excitement and confusion before Natalya asked the important question: “Jasyn, with your 20 selections, who dies first?”
As somebody with a gambling addiction (yes, my name’s Jonnie and I am a gambling addict) living with parents who are also gamblers, I’m tired of the idea of greed. America, and many other countries, are far too worried about money, living lavishly, or being famous. Sure, I want to be a writer, but I’d be fine living as a struggling artist doing what I love than ever worry about money again. This story obviously is a commentary on money, the government and it’s hold over the American people by playing American Idol politics, and the greed we as a nation embody.