The bad: It's gonna cost a lot. Angell pretty much wants all the payment up front when they spring Marf, and we're looking at anywhere between $1200-$2400 depending on whether she stays one day or four. If I can get someone to go in on a payment plan with me (I can't get accepted for these things) then there'll be monthly payments that automatically come out of my bank account, etc. etc. But I'll have to work on that tomorrow.
The weird: Walking back down Hall Ave tonight I found, on the ground, a bundle of lottery tickets wrapped in a rubber band. It's a thick bundle, and I brought it home to look at. The tickets were for Tuesday's Daily Numbers drawing, and they were all for the same number. 3653. Ten of the tickets were $1 bets for All Four Exact, and eighty were 50 cent bets for First Three Exact (365X.) That's fifty dollars' worth of lottery tickets.
"That's so strange," Jude said, looking them over. "Who would buy so many tickets of the same number?" I shook my head.
"I can't think of anyone who would, unless they knew something..." and we rushed upstairs to check the Lottery website.
The number for Tuesday's drawing?
Had that third number -- one single solitary lousy number! -- not been off, I would be here holding nearly $59,000 in winning lottery tickets. (It's probably the reason why I'm holding them now.) The odds of getting 3 out of 4 numbers are, of course, 1 in 1000, but buying so many tickets only to end up 1 digit off is just too weird to be mere coincidence.
I mean, let's face it. Barring some crazy dude with a coincidental hunch that was almost right, psychic intuition just sliiiiiightly offbase, or a schizophrenic guy mumbling some numbers but mixing up the 8 and the 5, this is pretty much proof that the Massachusetts State Lottery Daily Numbers Game is rigged. Someone here was obviously acting on a tip they got for Tuesday's drawing, and either the tip was wrong (who gives out wrong tips?) or the tickets were printed up wrong (the 5 is dangerously close to the 8 on the number pad) or the guy buying the tickets heard the tip wrong (that Chahlie, he can't hear for shit these days) ...
...or, since you shouldn't hit the big jackpot every time, a batch of tickets was intentionally purchased slightly incorrect so as to make out on the other lesser bets and not arouse suspicion, either from a person or a lottery computer (don't think for a second they don't track purchases like this...)
Consider: what if there were fifty more dollars' worth of bets in that stack to begin with, bets for First Two Exact? That bet did hit. Those tickets would've been taken out and redeemed, and as the First Two Exact paid out $45 for Tuesday, our Tipster-Using Friend here would've made a tidy profit on those bets alone. The other tix were bought in this case just as cover ("Oh well! Guess you can't win 'em all! At least I hit the Two, eh?") and discarded just as easily. Perhaps even as Tipster-User was walking home, counting his newly-fattened bankroll..
I know Somerville has its share of shady underworld types (sup Winter Hill Gang.) I'm willing to bet, ahem, that someone of a nefarious bent is behind this. And if I'd been the one to bring in $59,000 in winning tix, beam "I found 'em on the ground!" and made the daily news, they probably would have found me. And they probably don't like, er, sharing their windfall. Even if all I'd ask for was $2400 for a sick cat.
Of course, if you have any better theories, I'd love to hear 'em, but right now I'm pretty convinced that the game is rigged. I wouldn't Rip The Lid Off The Whole Thing with this stack of 90 tickets, no, nor would I want to play Wally Whistleblower here, but I guess I've now bettered myself for knowing it and, maybe, now so have you.