August 5, 2015

The crowd dispersed in sullen dismay after the winning ticket had been drawn. The richest man in town had won again. A bitter Norman Cardwell tore his losing stub into bits, stuffed them into his mouth, chewed them thoroughly into a clump of sog, and spat the clump of sog into the face of a random stranger who happened to be passing by at that moment.

‘Here now, my fine fellow, don’t take it so hard,’ said the grinning fool, the sog clinging barnacle-like to his cheek. ‘I look at it this way. If you or I had been meant to win, why then, don’t you see, we would have won.’

This statement induced Norman Cardwell to snort so vehemently that it would have been to his advantage to have his handkerchief poised beneath his nostrils.

‘Tell you what I’ll do,’ continued the fool. ‘Here. Take this, no questions asked, and be hale and hearty all down the days.’

Saying this, the stranger bowed and slipped a little packet into the clenched fist of Norman Cardwell. Then he skipped away.

Curiosity being a skill not unknown to Norman, he tore at the lip of the tiny packet, and out fell a plain drab gray metal ring. Norman looked up, down, side-eyed left, side-eyed right. The ring snugged to perfection on his little finger, and Norman was happy as a starfish, which he was. In a local tide pool.

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