Monday, 18 April 2011

Life's Lottery

It was a routine call out; some neighbours had complained. They had been complaining for weeks but this address had only just reached the top of their list. The smell, the horrible smell, where was it coming from, probably cats.

The cleaning crew arrived and they immediately knew what to expect; Alan knocked, no one answered and he knew no one would. Alan forced the door. The rest complained: this was something they were not really supposed to do, they could get in trouble. But now the door was open they went in. Inside the house was a tip; they had seen it so many times before; someone elderly, lonely, could not cope. Junk piled up; fag ends littered the place; dirty pots overflowed the sink; grease encased the cooker. It was cold and this was a cold winter. Alan tried the light switch and guessed the electricity had been cut off.

In the back room of the two-up-two-down was the decomposing body of an old man slumped in a chair. He still had his overcoat on. Alan put some gloves on and searched for some identification; again something he was not supposed to do. There was not much in his pockets: an empty packet of ciggies, some old betting slips. Then he noticed a tatty lottery ticket. Alan sneaked a look, it was still valid.

“Worth checking,” Alan muttered, to himself, no one was listening. Alan was an avid follower of the lottery and spent far too much of him minimum wage on it. Never with any luck; he had never won more then a tenner. He slid the ticket into his pocket, those numbers did seem familiar. Alan grinned. And to the rest of the crew, and for the rest of the day, he seemed strangely happy.

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