If I Won a Million
I stared up as the guillotine blade began its descent. Struggling in vain to jerk my head free from the block, I heard the dreadful rattle as it rushed downward on its fatal journey. My head pounded and sweat poured from every part of my body. I heard myself scream, `Have mercy on me. My only crime was to get into debt!'
The rattle came again, followed by a thud.
I opened my eyes slowly, then blinked as I became accustomed to the gloom. I blinked again. Yes, they were my bedroom curtains and there was no doubt it was my lamp shade. Relief spread rapidly through my body like the incoming tide on a shallow beach. It was just a dream after all, but not the sort of dream I wanted to repeat. So here I was at the beginning of another day, another long drawn out debt ridden day. Another day waiting for a telephone call from the bank or the credit card company politely reminding me that I have grossly exceeded my limit. More likely there would be several letters threatening legal action if I did not pay up within seven days.
Daylight filtered around the edges of the curtains, bringing the dreadful spectre of daytime worries ever closer. It was obvious that I would not be able to go back to sleep again; not that I wanted to return to that terrible nightmare. So I slid my legs out from under the quilt and shrugged on my clothes. Walking past the front door on the way to the bathroom, I saw a pile of mail on the doorstep. Perhaps the sound of the mail coming through the door was what I had heard in my dream. Letters very rarely were welcome these days and I tried to ignore them then went to have a wash and shave.
Later, as I munched through a bowl of cereal, I stared at the pile of envelopes now on the table in front of me. I did not want to open any of them but there was a dreadful fascination in that innocent looking heap of paper and I knew that I could not resist much longer. Maybe if I just sorted them into likely piles it would be better. Reaching forward, I picked up the first envelope.
Soon, instead of one, there were three heaps beside my bowl of flakes. The largest of them was the doubtful pile, those that looked the most likely to contain bad news or, even worse, threaten legal action. The second biggest pile contained the junk mail; take-away restaurants, pizza deliveries, new driveways and fascias and no less than three bringing news of great credit card deals that, if I took them up, would leave me even further in debt. The final pile contained just one envelope, which had little on it to indicate its contents except for a code that I seemed to remember from the past. I was sure that this was a positive news bringing envelope but I could not be sure why.
Then it came to me. I had seen the code before. It came from National Savings and Investments and the only association I had with National Savings was that I owned £50 worth of Premium Bonds. Surely the only reason why they should be writing would be to say that one of my bonds had won a prize! I felt a pounding in my chest as I turned the envelope over and over.
The top prize is one million Pounds - One Million Pounds! That would solve all my problems - and how! Over the years the money I owe has climbed higher and higher; a couple of get rich quick schemes, bad investments, an expensive car I could not afford, failing to pay the credit card off when I could and should have and on top of all that, a divorce. Now there was a cloud of debt hanging over me that was well in excess of £60,000. Yes a million would solve all of my problems.
How nice it will be to write that letter, 'Dear Credit Card Company, here is all the money I owe you greedy, grasping people and, by the way, stuff your credit card - I don't need it anymore.'
Now, a million less sixty thousand will leave me with well over £900, 000. Oh boy, what I could do with that sort of money. I think I will start with a holiday, perhaps in Hawaii, at least for starters anyway. When I get back I shall start looking for a decent house to buy somewhere upmarket, then I can move out of this pokey rented flat in the middle of nowhere. I looked around the room and added a full set of furniture to the list. A computer would be nice too, although I suppose I would have to go on some sort of course to learn how to work the thing.
I walked over to the window and looked out at the litter strewn street. Empty beer cans and broken bottles filled the space where I used to park, before the car was repossessed. It will be good to have some wheels again. I will start off with a Porsche then, when my investments have made another million, I will upgrade to a red Ferrari.
I glanced down at the envelope from National Savings, which still lay unopened on the table. I took a knife from the drawer and slit it open. My fingers were trembling as I withdrew the papers. On top was a short note congratulating me on being a prizewinner in this month's Premium Bond draw. I withdrew the prize cheque and stared at the winning amount. £100!
If you enjoyed reading this story, you may be interested to know that Jack Windsor has published an anthology of 40 of his stories. It is called 'Secret of the Lake'. Published by Braiswick you can order it from your local bookstore or buy online from Amazon.com
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