Kerrigan’s Streak

Money was blowing all over the street in front of the bank. It was blowing all over the street in front of the store and the school. Money was blowing all up Grant Avenue, down Sills Street, and money was whirling around the traffic lights at the intersection of Brown Street, Croyd Road and Bellinger Road. The staff at Kerrigan’s Bar and Restaurant were throwing Kerrigan’s lottery winnings away again.

Out it came like expensive tickertape, into the air, floating to the ground. Well, almost to the ground, most of it was gathered up in butterfly nets by the visitors to town whose turn it was to benefit from the largesse. Orderly queues and a stacking system had been in place for some months by this point; people were very courteous, relationships were formed.

Kerrigan had won the Lottery 57 times, straight. Entire primary and secondary companies had been set up around Kerrigan’s winnings when it became clear that nothing illegal was happening. That was after Week 15. Despite highly educated and completely expert opinions from the best of minds, the economy stubbornly refused to collapse under the regular showers of liquidity from the upper floor windows of Kerrigan’s. Despite mile upon mile of commentary online and off from the most informative of the informed social and cultural commentators about how this kind of singular chance would soon result in popular revolt, the People insisted on continuing to purchase Lottery tickets, week-in and week-out even though by week 30 they knew that only one outcome was likely.

Until Week 15 none of the wins had been any less than £106,000,000, and none had been made generally public. However, as soon as the legality of her continuing winning streak had been established, Kerrigan’s mind changed with regard to publicity and she had agreed that the world was about ready to find out. On the bright and wintery morning of her 82nd birthday she had informed the Lottery people of her decision. She then called around to see Mir Andrew Moffat at the ‘Express and Gazette’ newspaper in town and she, “gave the old bastard the scoop of this life.”

The Lottery had sent its best Public Relations people down to the town in what had been an arduous plane and hire car slog that took up almost two days. They had strategized and shared war stories about ungrateful, ignorant, vile little journalists, and they had assured each other that as gatekeepers it was their task to ensure that the best of all truths were made available. They were an efficient team. They pulled together. Nothing got in their way. 

At 82 years of age, Angela Kerrigan was straight, tall at five feet and eight inches in her flat shoes. She was silver haired and acid tongued. She vaped. She vaped a great deal. She was shrouded in vanilla flavoured steam most of the time. She had explained to her local YouTubers, Toby and Ellen Moran, that they should, “Stop asking dumb fucking questions.

“How do I feel about all this winning? I feel cheated. All this dumb fucking luck and I’ve got no time left to enjoy it as far as I can tell. I feel like God is a cheap joker, a buffoon pranksters who plays games for fun. And you can most certainly quote the fuck out of me on this, for what it’s worth.”

They most certainly did. But they moved onto to more newsworthy articles within a few hours. Their video went wild; scifi horror virus viral. Mad times. Toby and Ellen couldn’t count the money fast enough. They bathed in the scorch-light of their success, they enjoyed every single second.

Kerrigan didn’t. She died three weeks later, one week before the events unfolding now. She died of lung cancer, she was quite aware that it was coming at her. It pissed her off because she knew that no matter what she tried to do in order to defeat her own cellular growth, she was going to fail. She had too much remission, too many remissions. This cancer was unremittingly, bleakly inevitable. She was cremated and her ashes scattered half around the statue of the unknown soldier (“I knew him, the beast, the lovely, sweaty fucking beast”); and half  secretly at the front bar of her own place (“right under my stool”.)