The Twenty-Thousand Fraud

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic


This is my first work (with a small twist at the end) of the 35-minutes short story writing competition held at our school last month. I thought of publishing it here. SYNOPSIS:- A businessman
takes part of a lottery and later, gets tricked. He realizes that not everything which seems lucid is actually pleasant to taste, and that not all friends are trustworthy...

Submitted: November 10, 2017

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Submitted: November 10, 2017

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As a small-scale businessman, I had little certainty of huge losses in my trade of cloth. To increase my average income, I had once taken part in a lottery. Never did I test my luck once again.

It was autumn. The afternoon was quite warm, and dry leaves drifted in the air with short bursts of speed each time there was a zephyr. My business was over for the day and I was just sitting by window, reading the newspaper when I spotted a column in it that let an unknown surge pass through my body. It read:

Paplu Lottery Centre

Test your luck!
Guaranteed cash up to ?50,000!
Report at CP Park, Monday, 5pm.

Usually, lotteries aren’t my preference; however, since I had played one before, I told myself, “Why not give it a try?” And thus, at the onset of dusk the next day, I set off to CP Park with a bulging pocket.

The park was abuzz with movement. The lottery stall was surrounded by a variety of people whom I didn’t know. I walked up to the most crowded segment of the stall. A tall, dark man wearing a white t-shirt and a blazing black pair of jeans was shouting at the top of his voice, “Give twenty take fifty!”

On asking a few people, I finally learnt about the scheme– pay ?20,000 to the authorities and get ?50,000 paid in cash, if you are listed among the top five hundred winners.

I hesitated at first; what if it was a prank? The arrival of my neighbor to the scene cleared off all my perplexities.

“How are you sir?” he asked.

“I’m very fine. You were leaving for Mumbai, right?”

“Oh yes. Everything is ready. I just need to win this lottery to get some extra cash for my journey.”

“It may be a hoax,” said I, “and besides, we won’t get a thing if we lose.”

“The cash you pay will be going to charitable trusts, don’t you know? It’s a noble deed, indeed.”

“Alright. What if you lose?”

“Come on sir! We can’t get everything that we want in life. Besides, I am getting a bonus of ?50,000 next week. There isn’t one good reason to worry.”

My neighbor had moved in just a month ago, yet he was already transferred to Mumbai. I thought of him as a very busy person, for I seldom used to find him at his home. His busyness prevented me to know more about him.

“Fifty thousand! What’s your job?” I asked.

He looked at me questioningly and said, “I’m a software engineer in IPAC and am the employee of the year.”

He disappeared into the crowd and that action of his stimulated me to walk towards the stall, take the money out of my pocket, receive a ticket and get pushed away in a rather abrupt manner.

I reached home and examined the piece of paper. It looked exactly like the printouts taken from one of the old, outdated ink-jet printers in my neighbor’s drawing room. Ignoring this fact, I saw that it instructed me to go to the park again the very next day. I was hardly able to sleep that night.

-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-

The next day, I woke up late and hurriedly got dressed. Announcing that I had work to do, I set off to CP Park yet again.

There was not a soul there. The empty swings and benches made me feel uneasy. I headed straight to the spot where the stall should have been. Instead, I was dumbly greeted by a placard that read:

Paplu Lottery Centre has
been dissolved.

18th Oct., 2010.

I was crestfallen, frustrated, agitated and mentally shattered. I tore off the placard and made my way to the police station, but halfway across, I stumbled over a rock and had to tread back home to get some aid.

My family observed this curt announcement and my unhappy face behind it, until the comical side of the situation so stupendously surpassed the seriousness that they all burst out to a roar of laughter.

“I can’t see anything very funny in this!” I cried.

So I learnt a lesson— all that glitters is not gold.

The thing that spooked me though was the appearance of the picture of my neighbor at the headlines the very next week. According to news, he was the leader of some black marketers running fake lottery centers and looting people in the name of eloquent, impossible lottery schemes and then escaping in the dead of the night.


© Copyright 2018 Srujan Sahu. All rights reserved.

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