I'VE NEVER HAD A WINNING TICKET
We’d moved to yet another new city. In the matter of renting an apartment, I only had one requirement: There had to be a lottery shop downstairs. Everything else was up to my girlfriend.
She thought there was a lot else that could be done with 2 Rmb—buy a spoon to use for a year, a pack of tissues to use for three days, a bottle of water to drink for a day, or even just blast the air conditioner all night. Why waste it on a daydream? With the money I’d spent on lottery tickets, I could have already bought a new imported oven; instead, I’d not even won enough to buy a slice of bread.
We’d had a big argument about this. However, after we found a new apartment, I found there was a ticket shop right downstairs. Of course, this wasn’t because my girlfriend had had a change of heart—these stores are everywhere, like trash cans on the street.
The landlord promised to get us a second-hand refrigerator and a secondhand washing machine. On the third day, the delivery guy called me up.
“Boss, what day do you want your fridge?” “Uh, this afternoon.” “Oh? Boss, I might not be able to make it; is tomorrow morning OK?” “Sure.” “Boss, please tell me your address.” “I’ll send you an SMS.” “Sorry Boss; I can’t read texts.” I told him my address, and told my girlfriend the fridge and washer would be arriving next day.
“The floor’s covered in laundry, and they don’t come until tomorrow!”
“The guy’s just the delivery guy, he was really polite to me, calling me ‘Boss.’ And the weather’s so hot. It’s not an easy job.”
“Oh, so he calls you ‘Boss’; that’s great!”
I felt bad, so I thought I’d buy the delivery guy a bottle of something to drink when he came the next day.
At noon, he called, saying he was already on the way. I went down to the compound’s gate to wait for him. I’d bought a drink, but he hadn’t arrived yet, so I went to the lottery shop.
The owner was an overweight middle-aged man. He was lying asleep on the couch with his shirt off, a palm-leaf fan in his left hand resting on his chest. As his snore kicked up in intensity, the fan dropped from his hand.
It didn’t look like he was going to wake up, and the delivery guy wasn’t there yet, so I looked at the trend charts on the wall, beginning my research. I’m quite good at researching lotteries, and know all the key terms: Kill numbers, emits, even-odds, size, space, pass counts, serials, sum values, heat, skip distance, tail numbers…i can talk for an hour with the boss of any lotto shop, even though I’ve never won anything.
The delivery guy called. He was at the compound gate, and I said I’d