It was another mindless day in the cube farm. At most other companies, I’d have an office. Not a corner suite, but an office none the less. As I looked at my schedule for the rest of the week, all I saw was meeting after meeting. I was glad I was going on vacation in a couple of weeks.
While I enjoy my job, it’s not the most intellectually stimulating job. The only excitement was the breaking news that someone had purchased a winning lottery ticket at the convenience store in the lobby.
I normally buy five tickets, one for each work day. For some reason, I’d only gotten one this week. Folded away in my wallet, it was the weekly representation of my dreams, was my escape from the cube farm.
By the end of the day, I was sick of hearing about the winning lottery ticket that had been sold. One person had won 77 million dollars. If they took the lump-sum total, it was a check for 41 million after taxes.
As I sat on the train home, I leaned my head back and let my mind wander. Before long, I was hiking in the woods, a faint trail visible only to those who lived in those woods. Hiking through the woods, I came into a clearing with a log cabin home. My home. I had the plans all sketched out, the costs planned for, and utilities handled.
My dream was 160 acres, a square mile, up north in the woods. A small lake would be nice but that was a preference not a must have for the land. 10 acres would be next to the road, filled out with a solar farm, water wells and storage, and the other infrastructure necessities. In my mind, we would be almost entirely self-sufficient except for groceries.
I leaned my head over rested it on the window. I still had another 45 minutes to sit and stare at nothing. I didn’t like living in the city, so I was stuck with an hour-long light rail commute each day. As I stared out the window and watched the warehouse district roll by, I thought about what I’d do if I had my land.
My work life and my personal life were polar opposites. Work saw me as a straight-laced, professionally dressed cube worker. I did my job, did it well, and kept my head down. It’s the easiest way to work your way up. If you make waves, people remember who you are and that’s not how you want to be known. You want to be the ‘quiet’ one who works hard and gets work done on-time and under-budget.
My personal life…
I’m a neo-pagan, bisexual, sexually liberated nudist. Not an exhibitionist, I don’t care for an audience, but I hate clothes. The first thing I do when I get home from work is take off all my clothes and breathe a sigh of relief.
Every three months, I go camping. I pack up my gear into my late model Saturn that has lasted me for 20 years with good maintenance and will probably outlive my ability to easily get parts. Once up north, I have a couple of places I know. I park the car near the trailheads and hike out a couple of miles. A nice quiet campsite by a small river and I’m in heaven. Pitch the tent, ditch the clothes, and just lay back in the hammock.
It was a sudden jerk stop of the train that threw me out of my seat and into the seat in front of me.
What the hell?!
It took a few moments for me to realize that either the train had hit something or had derailed. There wasn’t a list to the rail car but it seemed prudent to get off the train. I quickly grabbed my bag and stood up just as the Transit Police boarded the train. It was an orderly evacuation with everyone getting a quick medical check for any injuries.
I was fine aside from being rattled. I quickly figured out where I was and realized it was only a few blocks away from my usual stop.
I’ll just hoof it from here. It’ll be nothing compared to my hikes.
Before long, I was home, naked, and laying on the couch. It wasn’t until after I had made dinner that the reality of what had happened earlier in the day hit me.
I pulled up one of the TV stations websites and saw that someone had waited for an express train and then pulled their sub-compact out in front of it. Suicide by train is what they called it. I saw the security footage from the Transit Police as the person pulled their car in front of the train and then made the sign of the cross just before the train smashed the car into bits. Mercifully, the footage had been stopped just before the train plowed into the car.
I realized that I need to get out of the city and away from the rat race. I had enough in my retirement accounts to live comfortably once I hit sixty, but at 38, I wasn’t in a position to do it.
As I turned back to the computer, I saw the story about the winning lottery ticket. I pulled my wallet out of my pants and checked the numbers.
5 – 11 – 17 – 25 – 38 – 42…
My heart was in my throat. Could it be? I checked the bonus number.
It took everything for me not to go running through the condo screaming for joy. There would be a difficult few weeks until I got the payout, but I was on my way to being a multi-millionaire.
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