Fame and fortune had always eluded Thomas. Not that he ever tried very hard for either. In fact, just the opposite. He was never one to court fame. He diligently tried to avoid stepping into the spotlight. And having done so probably accounted for his lack of having acquired anything even closely resembling a fortune.
But Thomas was living comfortably enough to meet his needs and then some. He wasn’t struggling to put a roof over his head, food on the table, and clothes on his back. In the grand scheme of things, he was relatively contented.
One day, on a whim, while picking up a pint of ice cream at a convenience store, Thomas purchased a lottery ticket. He didn’t even chose his own numbers. He bought one of those “quick-pics” tickets where the computer chooses the numbers for you. He put his lottery ticket in his wallet and didn’t give it another thought.
A few days later he heard on the news that a winning ticket had been sold at a convenience store in his city. It was big news locally because the jackpot was fifty million. It turned out that the winning ticket had been purchased the same convenience store at which Thomas bought his. Lucky guy, Thomas thought, but then promptly forgot about it.
Three weeks later Thomas read that no one had yet claimed the prize. He decided, just for grins, to pull his lottery ticket out of his wallet and check the numbers. And when he did, Thomas was dumbfounded. He took the ticket, ran to the convenience store, bought another pint of ice cream, and handed his lottery ticket to the guy at the counter, saying, “I think I have a winner.”
Thomas’ life instantly changed. He now had his fortune and when it was revealed that he was the “mystery winner” of the $50 million dollar lottery, he also had his fame.
Word on the street was that Thomas went on a buying spree. He bought a big, fancy house, expensive cars, and fast women. Or maybe it was fast cars and expensive women. Either way, the money he’d won was flowing loose and fast. Friends and relatives he never knew he had were hitting him up for money or offering him surefire investment opportunities.
He started gambling and soon the money began to run low, but he continued living high on the hog. Eventually, his gambling took its toll and Thomas lost his big, fancy house, his fast cars, and he was shunned by expensive women.
A few years later, the body of a destitute man was found by the authorities. The man was ultimately identitied as Thomas, the lucky guy who bought the winning lottery ticket at a local convenience store. There was a note tucked into one of his pants pockets when they found the body. It read, “Fame and fortune aren’t what they’re cracked up to be.”
Written for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, where Linda has given us the word “fortune” with instructions to use it any way we’d like.