Monday, March 17, 2014

"Close But Not Quite," a #YA Short Story

Douglas Winslow Cooper and Brian Maher

Mr. and Mrs. Williams agreed on most things, but Mr. W. bought twenty-five lottery tickets to try to win a new mini-van, and Mrs. W. called it “buying a pig in a poke,’ as her husband had no clear idea of what the new van would be worth and how many other raffle tickets had been sold.

When they learned more about the raffle, they both had facts to support their points of view. Twenty-five thousand tickets had been sold at $1 apiece. There would be one winner of a new van worth somewhat more than half that price, so the charity [which shall be nameless here] would make a nice profit, and a lucky winner would get a fine prize.

Rick said, “With twenty-five tickets out of twenty-five thousand, Dad, our chances of winning are 1 in 1000.”

“It’s a long shot, I agree, but it would be fun to win. Let’s go to the hall where they will be holding the drawing.”

The family all piled into their used car to go to the hall. They met friends and neighbors, had refreshments, and awaited the selection of the winning ticket.

After announcing how successful the sales of raffle tickets had been and explaining how the money would be used, the master of ceremonies had a little girl come to the table that was holding the raffle tickets, close her eyes, reach in and pick one out.

“The winning ticket is 13589!” the M.C. shouted.

“We won! We won!” Tim said, pointing to one of their raffle ticket stubs.

“Let me see that, Tim,” said his dad. “No, the closest one we had was 13586. We missed by three. I see someone across the hall jumping up and down. They must have won.”

“We were close,” Tess said.

Mrs. W. was less excited, “There are some old sayings that apply, including ‘a miss is as good as a mile,’ meaning that being close is often worthless. Another is ‘close doesn’t count, except in horseshoes.’”

“…or hand grenades,” Rick joked.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” the announcer continued, “the Didsbury Movie Theatre has donated prizes for the runners-up: all of you who have the first four numbers right. Every ticket from 12380 to 12388 will be exchanged for a free pass to all the movies at the theatre for the rest of the year.”

“That’s us!” Tess exclaimed. Being a big movie fan, she was pleased with the prize.

“See, Mom, we won something,” Tim added.

“Yes, and we had a nice time, so it wasn’t a complete waste, but I am not a fan of gambling on anything.”

With a smile, Mr. Williams, as they got out of the car in their driveway, quoted Shakespeare, “All’s well that ends well.” Buying the raffle tickets had just barely been a good idea.


One of fifty instructive short stories we have written.




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