Short Story – 860 words
©2011 Liz Craig
My name is Dorthy Parrott. I live in Mexico, Missouri, population 13,000. It’s the kind of place you get born in, get brain-dead from boredom in, and forget to leave.
Excitement is pretty scarce around here. Driving around the courthouse square with its miniature Statue of Liberty is about it. Oh, one time Roy Clark came to town to appear at the Audrain County Fair. I saw him at the Acapulco Lanes after his show drinking beer out of a plastic cup, but I didn’t want to bother him.
As a native Mexicoan, my expectations have never been high. Until recently, I spent most of my waking hours sweeping up popcorn off the floor of the Liberty Theater, which keeps you looking down in general. The best thing about the job was getting to see all the movies for free. Watching the beautiful stars up there, I could forget Mexico, being fat, wishing for a boyfriend, and Mama bugging me to do something with myself.
It was pretty much the same routine every night. Watch a movie, sweep up the popcorn and Milk Duds afterward. Tie up trash bags and lug to dumpster. Repeat.
But then one day, something different happened. Larry Bright gave me a Powerball ticket to repay me for letting him in for free whenever Mr. Doumanian, the owner, wasn’t around. I had a crush on Larry, but I knew he’d always see me as the lump I was in high school, even if I slimmed down to my ideal weight according to Cosmo. I thanked him for the ticket and stuck it in my uniform pants pocket, then forgot about it.
A couple of days later, though, I found the ticket when I was about to wash my uniform. I thought, “No way will I win more than a couple of bucks.” But when I compared my numbers with the winning numbers in the paper, I nearly passed out on the kitchen linoleum. Then I started screaming, and I couldn’t stop. Mama ran in from the yard to see what was wrong. When I told her I had won $110 million with Larry’s Powerball ticket, she started screaming, too, and when we were all out of screams, we entwined our arms the way they do on TV at New Year’s and toasted my luck with a 10 a.m. beer.
Mama wanted me to build us a house in Branson, so she could go see that Japanese fiddle-player any time she wanted. I said nobody actually lives in Branson. Besides, the sight of all those seniors from Arkansas in plaid polyester outfits would depress a person after awhile.
The question was, what did I want to do with the money? What did I want in life, anyway?
First, I decided to give a million to Larry. Mama started yelling, but I stood firm because I thought it was the right thing to do. After all, he had been nice enough to give me the ticket. A million would ease his suffering over having blown it.
Then I quit my job and let the money (still about 6 mil after they took out the taxes) sit in the bank while I figured out what to do next.
A few days later, I had a dream. I was thin and gorgeous, and I was dressed in a long white satin gown. I swiveled my hips sinuously as I glided down a long white marble staircase to meet a crowd of screaming fans waving autograph books. I smiled graciously and signed my name in their books, making each fan feel they were the most important person in the world for just a moment. They all loved me. Then I sashayed out to my sleek silver limousine and waved like the Queen, turning my hand in little circles, as it pulled away from the curb. I woke up with a warm feeling in my heart and a clear idea of what I wanted to do.
So this is it: I’m going to hire a personal trainer and a nutritionist and get down to my ideal weight, and then I’m going to have my face re-sculpted and my teeth capped, and I’m going to get into the movies. I know you can buy your way into Hollywood. Look at Pia Zadora. Well, maybe she’s not such a good example. But anyway, Mama just wants to take one of those “See the Stars’ Homes” tours, but I told her nobody who lives in Hollywood takes those tours. Because you know all the people who live there, and they invite you over.
United Van Lines just pulled up. We’re only taking a few things to get us started; I’ll buy good stuff when we get to Beverly Hills. The real estate agent found us a house there that once belonged to Jean Harlow. We saw the pictures of it, and it’s fabulous. The best thing about the house is that it has a movie theater and a popcorn machine. You know, I might even sweep it out now and then, just for old times’ sake. Come and see me sometime–in the movies.
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