How to be a winner by Cath Barton

On the day I won the lottery I put on my sparkly four-inch heels. Bad decision, because I tripped on a kerb outside the restaurant where I was going on a hot date. My first thought as my face slammed into the plate-glass window was that I wouldn’t now be able to eat the soft-shelled crab that I’d been looking forward to. Correction, my first thought was for my spectacles and camera. Only after I’d checked that they were unbroken did I think about the crab. And then I looked around for my date.

There was a lot of blood and screaming. It wasn’t me screaming but my date was embarrassed. My dress had been ripped by shards of glass. I wanted to cry – it was my favourite dress – but then I remembered my lottery win. What was I complaining about?! I smiled at my date, or tried to. The contortion of my rapidly-swelling face must have looked like a grimace. He started backing away. Thought: he had not yet heard about my lottery win. Cynical thought: he had nothing to stick around for. Well, if that was the way he saw things he was clearly not going to be life-partner material. Better to find that out now, though I was still sorry about the crab. This was supposed to be the best place to eat it in London.

People were crowding round, asking me if I was okay. In my confused state I waved away all offers of help and set off down the road. The pain in my right ankle was nothing compared to the throbbing in my face. The next thing I knew I couldn’t move my arms. They were pinned down by a sheet and there was an antiseptic smell in my nose. So I was in hospital. That much I could work out. But my mind was fuzzy. I’d had a dream about winning the lottery. No! I had actually won it – the ticket was in my coat pocket. Shit! Where was my coat?

The nurse had a kindly face, but she didn’t understand, thought I was asking for a comb. Not that I was making it easy. Forming words is tricky with a broken jaw.

“Aha,” she said after I’d spluttered at her for a bit. “You want your coat! No, no, my lovely. You won’t be needing your coat for a while yet. Try not to talk.”

I pulled my arms out from under the sheet and gestured turning the coat pockets inside out. In the end she brought my coat to shut me up. I searched in one pocket, then the other, then both again. Nothing, nothing, nothing! That was when I did start screaming, big time.

The lottery ticket never turned up. My winning ticket. But my jaw and ankle got fixed. Every day I count my blessings. I don’t wear those crazy heels. I’m careful on kerbs. And I narrowly avoided a very bad choice of life-partner. I’m a winner.


About the author: Cath Barton is an English writer who lives in Wales. Recently, her flash fiction has been published on-line on ZeroFlash and Spelk.


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