I am so shocked that I'm tempted to order a maternity test. Surely The Pony was switched at the hospital! I have no other explanation for the shocking turn of events that befell Mrs. Hillbilly Mom today at the gas station chicken store.
The Pony has had a lottery ticket laying on the kitchen counter for a couple of months. Yeah. Mrs. HM's housekeeping leaves a little to be desired. It's not like she's a hoarder. This was not a mummified cat found under a pile of pizza boxes. To be fair, it's on the kitchen counter that sticks out like a peninsula, from the side of the sink, dividing the kitchen from the dining nook. Not the kitchen counter by the stove, where Mrs. HM does her food preparations.
So...amongst the pack of napkins left there from Christmas dinner, and Mrs. HM's school bag that rests there every night, and a couple of Entertainment Weeklys, and a lottery ticket awaiting mailing to the #1 son with his $6 for Chinese food, and a pair of winter gloves, and Mrs. HM's purse...was this winning lottery ticket. It was a $10 ticket. The Pony had traded in some of his Christmas winners, and got this one that won $10. Every now and then, I'd ask him if he wanted me to cash it in. "Nah. That's okay." So now that he has turned 18, he could do it himself. He's bought one or two, just to say he did.
Today I asked if he wanted me to cash it in while I was in town for a 44 oz Diet Coke. "Sure. Why not?" That's a standard answer for him. I was not planning on getting any tickets today. I cashed in my $300 winner yesterday, bought a few, and pocketed the rest, to play with another day. Which was not today. Nor did I take my stack of small winners for trade-in. I was only going to get a soda, and two $5 tickets for The Pony when I cashed in his winner.
As I was filling my 44 oz cup with my magical elixir, I noticed that The Pony had not scratched off the bar code area. That's a no-no! The clerks HATE that! It means they have to grab the plastic spoon taped to the ink pen they loan out, and scrape that ticket until the bar code is revealed. So...I took one of my handful of coins to be used for exact change on my soda payment, and scratched for The Pony. There. Easy peasy. I approached the counter.
It was the cranky old clerk who's nice to me. The one who gets all rattled, and says every step of the transaction. "Is that soda separate?"
"A dollar sixty-nine."
I handed over my correct change. She rang it up, and turned to scan the winner. She punched it in the register, took the receipt, stapled it to the ticket as per procedure in the gas station chicken store, laid it by the register, and said, "That's fifty."
"WHAT? Can I look at that? I thought it was a ten-dollar winner!"
There is was. Plain as the nose on Danny Kaye's and Jimmy Durante's faces. FIFTY DOLLARS. The very first number on the ticket was a winner, with a dollar bill symbol that meant DOUBLE, and a $20 amount under it. AND there was a $10 winning number on down the ticket. Huh. The Pony was certainly not observant.
"I'll take a Twenty-five Hundred For Life, and a Cash Vault. And the forty dollars left in cash. That's my son's ticket! I can't believe he didn't know how much it won."
The clerk completed the transaction, and I stuffed the cash in my shirt pocket. Do you think it crossed Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's mind to buy tickets with that forty dollars? You know her pretty well. Of course it did. I might as well have been Larry "Pinto" Kroger in Animal House, with a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other shoulder, giving me conflicting advice.
Maybe that was one of my tickets that I didn't want to take one day, so I laid it on the counter by my purse. The Pony thinks it was a ten-dollar winner. I'll give him his two tickets. He won't know any different. And it might have actually been MY ticket anyway. I seem to recall cashing one in for him already...I can stop at the Orb K and get some tickets for myself.
Wait. I ALWAYS reveal the bar code on my winners. ALWAYS. So if that was MY ticket, it would have been scratched off. That's the first thing I do when I see it's a winner. Scratch the bar code. Even before I see how much I've won. That couldn't have been my ticket.
I kept driving, right past the turn-off to the Orb K. The Pony was shocked to hear that he'd won $50 on that ticket. I told him my dilemma.
"You could have used it for tickets. I don't care."
"No. It was yours. But how a son of mine cannot figure out how much he won on a lottery ticket is beyooooond me!"
The Pony put away his winnings. Then he sat down to scratch his two tickets. "Huh. Loser. Another loser."
To which I responded, "ARE YOU SURE?"
I might need to dig them out of the trash to check them. And schedule that maternity test.