Winner

At three thirty in the morning he and his old lady walked out a Walmart with a store clearance bread machine and blue sweat pants. He had hit on a slot at the Indian casino and she dragged him into this idea that it would be good luck to spend the winnings right away. He didn’t buy in so quick, so before they went into the store he had her help to corral the loose carts in the parking lot, just to better his odds. He found the marked down bread machine hanging on the edge of a pallet of plastic wrapped merchandise crowding the food aisles. It was sitting there, out of place, so he grabbed it just to hold on to it while he and his old lady searched what to spend the money on, not expecting it would be the thing he would buy. He anticipated holding on to it until he found something more perfect. 

His old lady watched him squeeze his overweight belly between the pallets, maneuvering the bread machine like a baby at his breast. She walked him by perfume and jewelry counters. She walked him past lingerie. When at long last they had been in every aisle, and he had not taken her bait, the bread machine was still tucked in his arm. “Is that what it’s going to be?”

“I think so. I’m tired.”

“You need to get something else too. You will still have money left.”  A pair of blue sweat pants were sitting to the side of the register as if someone had decided not to buy them. He grabbed them and put them on the checkout belt next to the bread machine. She watched him pass the money to the cashier, feeling broke. He passed the money not knowing the bread machine was missing an integral thermal component which he would not get to fixing. The sweat pants would sit with its tags at the bottom of his dresser drawer for years to remind him how he won that night.

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