Once a dormouse dreamed of winning the lottery. If it could just hit the jackpot, the timorous, withdrawn dormouse was certain, it would be able to do and buy all the things it had always wanted. It could quit its dead-end job, pay off its maxed-out credit cards, and begin living the good life at last. After winning the lottery, the first thing the dormouse meant to buy was a palatial mansion in Florida with garage space for twelve luxury cars, one for each month. It would fill the place with electronic goodies, and not the cheap stuff sold at discount stores either. Also, it would buy a private jet to whisk it here and there whenever it took a fancy to being somewhere else. Needless to say, it would take along its pick of curvaceous escorts with whom to party, party, party. With the prospect of treating itself to the very best and the very most of absolutely everything once it won the lottery, the dormouse made the decision to limit its expenses for now to the barest of necessities. The money saved by this calculation meant the dormouse could buy more and more lottery tickets in hopes of hastening the big day. In a further move to enhance its chances even further, the dormouse never threw away any of the tickets it bought after they’d proved not to be winners. It would instead carefully fold each one of them into the shape of a four-leaf clover and lay it with a silent prayer for good luck on a growing pile in front of the television. Each time a drawing took place, it would turn on the set an hour early to be sure not to miss the winning numbers, tormented by the thought that the prize it had waited for so long might slip through its fingers if it should so much as blink. If no winning numbers were drawn, the dormouse was disappointed but relieved to its toenails that nobody else had been lucky either. With every increase in the size of the jackpot when there was no winner, the dormouse told itself, it would be able to enjoy even more of the good life when its fortunes finally did turn. Not only did its appetites grow with each loss but the list of past disappointments and self-denials to be wiped away lengthened to the same degree. In that sense, winning too soon became as great a worry as not winning at all. Not being able to afford the ultimate thing you coveted might be just as bad as failing to obtain the least of them. Eventually, with its entire life devoted to the lottery, the dormouse no longer dared allow itself a moment’s distraction. Eyes never moving, it peered at the TV over its mounting pile of folded losing tickets from one drawing to the next in an agony of endless expectation. Hoping against hope it wouldn’t hit the jackpot quite yet and ruin everything.
Copyright © 2020 by Geoffrey Grosshans