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April 15, 2024

Found and Lost

By Ken Dubuque

Little did I know what was in store for me on that fateful day. As usual I went to my favorite luncheonette around the corner.

Jamie, the owner, welcomed me with, "I'm feeling psychic today: you want a loaded cheeseburger and a fountain coke, extra sweet."

We talked some sports and I finished up his predictions and left, exiting behind a man dressed in all-black with what appeared to be a white collar. The man quickly walked away as I moved slowly in the opposite direction. For some odd reason though, I looked back and noticed he had dropped something. I picked up a small piece of paper: a lottery ticket, dated for that night's drawing, with a prize of $2,500,000.

However, it wasn't my ticket, "Better to return it to the man," I thought.

But since he disappeared into the crowd on Lexington Avenue I knew that I ought to ask at the luncheonette if they knew who he was. Yet I couldn't.

"I found it, it's mine," I said emphatically to myself and I just knew it was a winner.

I was so excited that I couldn't just go home. I decided to wander over to Barnes and Noble and look at travel books and dream of exotic places to visit with my winnings. After walking several blocks, I went straight to the international section and started thumbing through a book when:

"Ouch, I mean that really hurt," I yelled as a woman dropped a huge book on my foot. Responding to the apologetic book dropper, I gasped, "I guess it was only an accident."

But I decided I might be better off leaving the danger zone and hobbled out.

"Now what, a trip to Modells Sporting Goods?" I wondered.

I limped the few blocks and arrived in the appropriate aisle and picked out some tennis balls. But just as I turned to head to the cashier, a little kid swung a bat and caught me right in the ribs. Man, that stung. He had already dropped the bat and scurried away, so I just held my chest and stumbled off.

I wasn't inclined to go home yet so I racked my brain for an idea. I'll go to the movies across the street, I decided.

I settled into my seat while nursing my sore foot and chest. The theater was fairly empty, which of course accounted for the fact that a tall person had to take the seat right in front of me.

I said ostensibly to myself, "I guess I'll just have to move over a few seats."

But just as I did, he lost control of his drink and popcorn, ejecting them directly at my head.

I replied to the remorseful launcher, "I'm sure you didn't do it on purpose."

Dripping with soda and popcorn, I left the premises and I headed very slowly home. But then it came to me: these painful encounters weren't accidents; they were payback for keeping the lottery ticket. I knew what I had to do. I didn't care if I won the millions; at this rate I wouldn't live to spend them anyway. I returned to the luncheonette as fast as my pain and discomfort would permit. I burst through the door, breathlessly asking Jamie if he knew the guy dressed like some kind of religious person. I explained that I found his lottery ticket and I really, really just had to return it.

Jamie was looking at me rather askance, what with me covered in wet popcorn, limping, with my arm wrapped tightly around my chest.

"Oh, that's Marvin the Magnificent, " he said. "Don't worry about the lottery ticket; it's just a prop for his magic act."

Article © Ken Dubuque. All rights reserved.
Published on 2018-10-01
Image(s) are public domain.
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