A Short Story
by Domenic Migliore
(Originally Published May 27, 2014)
“Sprinkles the kitten was reunited with her barnyard family, safe and sound…” the news anchor’s voice reverberates through the massive Dolby speakers.
“Turn it up. I can’t hear!” says Johnny.
“That’s as loud as it goes,” says Tina.
Johnny picks up the remote and starts playing with the buttons. He adjusts the tint and color controls on the 40” 4k screen.
“Will you knock it off?” Dad yanks the remote out of Johnny’s hand.
“I just want the image to be perfect when they make the announcement. Jeez.” Johnny pouts.
“Read us the numbers again, Dad.” Tina jumps up and down.
“Your mom has the ticket.”
Tina races into the kitchen, yelling: “Mom!”
“Shut up, Tina!” shouts Johnny. He turns back to Dad. “Are you sure the volume on this thing doesn’t go any higher?”
“Go stream it on your laptop with your headphones if you’re so worried.” Dad scratches his massive stomach. He gazes at the weather woman on screen. He fixates on her magnified, high-resolution breasts jutting out through her tight sweater. He shifts the erection forming in his pants.
Tina runs back in with the lottery ticket.
“I got it! I got it!” she squeals. She clears her throat and reads it a load: “24 : Kansas, Missouri… 15 : Dallas, Texas… And 35 : Los Angeles, California.”
Johnny groans. “Again, Dad? You always make the worst picks. I told you, you have to start picking the urban areas if you ever want to win. Play the minorities!”
“Play the minorities?” Dad scoffs. “Just like every other jerk in the country? No. You’ll see. When our ticket comes in, we’re hitting it big.”
“I think they’re good picks.” smiles Tina.
“Suck up!” Johnny sticks his tongue out at her.
“Dad, look what Johnny’s doing!”
“Quiet, the two of yous!” Dad sits up and leans in toward the television. A smiling anchor with slicked-back hair fills the frame.
“Honey, it’s on!” shouts Dad.
His wife comes scurrying in, dusting off her apron. The entire family faces the screen. They watch…
The anchor clears his throat as the camera pulls back to reveal a container full of bouncing balls.
“And now for tonight’s Slaughter Pool!” the anchor reaches in and pulls out the first ball: “5 black and Hispanic youths shot dead : Compton, California…” He pulls out another: “6 black youths shot dead : Detroit, Michigan.” And one more ball: “And 4 black youths, 1 critically wounded : Chicago, Illinois.”
“I told you!” yells Johnny.
Tina rips up her ticket in disappointment. Mom shakes her head.
“You should have listened to me.” whispers Johnny, as he sulks up to his room. He buries his head in his pillow.
“Johnny!” his mother shouts up the stairs at him. “Remember to take your Xanax!”
Johnny reaches under his pillow and pulls out another lottery ticket. It reads: “EXACTA – 4 murder/suicide : University, Maine.”
Johnny smiles. He walks over to his dresser and pulls out a Glock semi-automatic pistol.