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One Way Ticket Essay, Research Paper
The beggar dashed away from the cart with is heart pumping and feet feeling as
though two shoes of lead had been branded around them. His breath was short and his
head filled with contempt for his own being. He ran non-stop to his friends waiting two
blocks away in an abandoned ally. He ran not for himself but for his friends, as they had
done time after time for him. The bread that he had stole was not a meal for one, but a
meal for three. The only meal that most would see for two days, and that was in a good
week. If too much bread was stolen the owner of the cart might become suspicious, and
then a new source of food would need to be established.
?I hope you got the bread I am starved.? One pauper whispered form the corner.
?Yea, of course I got it, you think I?m gonna let you starve, Jesus. You all
remember the pact right. One don?t eat, we all don?t eat.?
?Come on stop talking and split that bread? The third pauper wined as he talked.
After splitting the bread the three settled down in the corner to go to sleep. As
they drifted to sleep they thought about their close friendship with each other and how any
could manage without the others. As each said goodnight in a repeated triangle of voices
the rain that had, unbenounced to them, been expected that night began its steady and
depressing splattering of tiny wet drops. Without thought the three combined their torn
and worn overcoats to create a makeshift cover and keep the majority of the tiny drops
from soaking their tired bodies.
The next morning, after the rain clouds had retreated to the north, the first of the
beggars aroused from his tossing slumber. Next to him the gutter rattled with the water of
the storm the night before. He glanced toward the noise and in an instant, and without
thinking plucked a piece of drifting paper off the flowing water. His thought was to use
the piece of paper later after it had dried out, as a book mark for the novels he plucked
from the garbage. He was amazed at how many novels were thrown out after the reader
had finished. Once he had found a worn copy of A Tale Of Two Cities in a dumpstar
outside a broken down apartment building on the corner of 21st street. It had several burn
marks where a cigarette had carelessly been laid by its former owner, and the last three
pages had been torn out in a diagonal pattern so that he could read to the end and never
find out the fates of the incredible characters.
This ?bookmark turned out to be something quite different indeed. This washed
and worn piece of paper was a lottery ticket. But the fact remained, that if it had been
cast aside so easily it must be one of the million other false hope creators scattered about
the streets of every city in the United States.
When the other two woke up they were surprised to see their friend pulling a filthy
and crinkled paper out of the nearby garbage can. The first two pages had been stuck
together with gum, and the next few were torn and tattered, but enough was visible to
read the winning lottery number.
?Jack, what in the hell you think your doin, what?d you need to read the news for?
The drowsy pair of men pulled themselves up from their slumber with a mild chuckle at
the absurdity of their friend.
?Well, if ya must know Charlie, I?m checkin my lottery ticket.? Although the
words sounded funny, even to himself, coming out, he still took a great deal of offense
when his two partners bent over with laughter. ?Laugh all ya want, but if I get rich I aint
given you two a cent.?
As he plundered to pull the disintegrating pages apart he realized he had to be
crazy, but if he had any chance of getting out of the gutter, it shore wasn?t going to come
through hard work. That method had been tried before, in his pre-pauper stage when he
tried his hand at working for a successful insurance agency. Two faulty deals and a trial
for fraud later he was in the gutter.
Three, six, eight, one, seven, one, OK if I get at least three I get a hundred bucks.
He stared down at the rotting paper and focused on the number: 368171. His eyes
widened as he jumped to his feet with amazement. ?I won, I won, I…. ahhhh, I won!? He
clamored to his long term friends and praised each for their company through the years,
and after assuring them he would split the money three ways, he looked up and fell to the
?My chest… I can?t feel my arm, I… help me.? He fainted with his last word, help.
?So what we gonna do?, cried Charlie, We better get him to a hospital.? Nearly in
tears when he spoke, he turned for comfort and advice from his friend. Instead he found
the blunt end of a broken coffee table leg in his face.
The next day the two men awakened alone in different rooms of a hospital. They
knew what had happened. When Jack fell from his heart attack from his grand excitement,
the third man decided to take his opportunity to take the ticket. He had hit his friend so
hard that he had lost vision in one eye and required 30 stitches to stop the bleeding.
The paper was delivered to each room and each took it up simply out of sheer
boredom. The front page read as follows: ?Beggar Bags the Bucks?. A nice half page
picture occupied the majority of the cover, with their ?friend? holding a check for 3
As the two men read the article Charlie found himself hating his former friend, but
Jake knew what the other had not. Their friend turned foe had wanted what he got, but
would never get what he wanted. Never would he have a true friend, or peaceful moment.
He had entered a ring of money, a wicked circle where he was in his own company, of
liars and cheats. From riches to rags and from simple to devious, never again would he
know a person past their wealth.
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