Vindictive Child

Prompt: Millions


“Where’s the lottery ticket,” Todd’s mother asked him as soon as he came through the door from school an hour late, thus breaking the contract he’d just made with the school principal, counsellor, and social worker.

Todd put a new-looking notebook and unjacketed textbook on the table by the front door, and headed past the living room and down the hall to his bedroom.

“Todd!” called his mother. She set her drink on the same table and followed him down the hall. She didn’t knock, but pushed the door ajar, and found him exactly where she would have predicted: Lying on the unmade bed with his old Macbook in his lap.

“The ticket,” she said again.

Todd didn’t look up. “I threw it out.”

“You didn’t, the draw was yesterday, I haven’t checked the numbers yet.”

“Don’t you know the numbers?”

“Give me the ticket.”

“I ate it,” said Todd.

“Damn you,” said his mother quietly. She stepped outside the room and closed the door behind her. She passed the hall mirror on her way back to the living room. She looked good— neat, presentable, prepared. She slightly lifted an arm and sniffed. No unpleasant body odour. She breathed into her hand: Minty. She brushed her shoulders and the front of her shirt with a well-manicured hand.

She got to the front entryway where she’d left her unfinished drink, and swallowed it. It flowed down her throat like silken lava. She would have another, and watch the news, after she’d checked all the waste baskets for the missing lottery ticket. She would check the tall, plastic-lined garbage bag in the garage, too.

If she won millions she fancied a long cruise, maybe through the South Seas. It would be a lie to say she felt lucky, but she did know it was foolish to buy a lottery ticket and not check the numbers. Next time she would not leave it on the counter or anywhere that Todd might find it. He was a vindictive child, though lord knows what she’d ever done to deserve such disrespect. Even if he hadn’t seen it or touched it, why didn’t he just say so?

Vindictive child.