9.

The line for scratch tickets was typically centipedal. She listened with dull attention to the jaded prattling of her neighbors and friends, each leaving the corner shop with slightly fatter wallets. On her turn, under the cashier’s hooded gaze, she shaved off five losing numbers on her third ticket, then yelped as her fist got yanked skyward like a heavyweight champion’s. She was too exposed, too slapped with surprise, to act happy; was this what losing in a world of winners felt like?

grh

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