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At this point in the book, it is the Monday morning following Val's testimony before the Illinois General Assembly. See prologue above. All of Chicago is now wondering who has the winning ticket. Val hasn't come forward and everyone is starting to guess who has the winning ticket.
“Good Morning, Chitown. This is WBPD-1745AM on your radio dial. I’m your host, Howard Knotts. Well folks, there is good news and bad news this Monday morning about the Lotto-50 game. If you haven’t heard, there was just one winner and that winning ticket was sold in ILLINOIS! The bad news is that it wasn’t sold in the Chicagoland area, so I know we have a lot of losers listening this morning.”
Howard continued, “I saw the news last night and they interviewed a woman whose husband they think has the winning ticket. Now I was going to get myself some tickets but forgot. So Lotto-50 didn’t get a dime out of me. But how are you folks feeling about the game now that it is all over? And if you’re not ashamed, how much money did you spend on it?”
Howard looked down at his phone lines. Every line was lit up. He pushed the first button. “Let’s go to DeShawn out in Maywood.”
“Good Morning Howard. Man, what can I say? I mean… I saw people standing ten deep in line man, and uh…out of the millions and millions of tickets sold, only one winner and in southern Illinois? Dude, it just don’t seem right!”
“Okay, thank you for your call. Let’s go to Rick on a cell phone. You’re on the air, Rick.”
“Something just ain’t right! I agree with the last caller. All of those tickets sold and just one winner? I can’t believe it.”
“Well Rick, I don’t remember what the odds were, but I feel you man. Let’s go to Tyrone whose has been holding for a while.”
“Yo, Howard. I bought over five hundred dollars worth of tickets and I won three bucks. Man I feel like a fool now.”
“Five hundred dollars? Tyrone, that’s some folks take home pay for a week. Hope you can afford it! Next caller is Pam calling from West Garfield Park.”
“Hi, Howard. I am pissed. All that money spent on the lottery by black folks and a Klan member wins!”
“Now Pam, how do you know it was a Klan member?”
“Well I don’t really know that, but that is how I feel. How come nobody black ever wins? We spend a ton of money on the lottery and every time there’s a winner, it’s always someone from some hick town nobody ever heard of!”
“Thank you for your call. It’s time for news, weather and a traffic update.” Howard's show stayed on the Lotto-50 subject for well over two hours. So many people wanted to call in and express their feelings about it. Howard decided to let them vent off some of the steam as many had truly believed that they were going to win. Howard looked at the time. It was 9:58am. He took his last caller, “Good Morning, Mabel on the WestSide. You get the last words on this subject today.”
“Yeah, Howard. I just wanna’ know why Val Freeman hasn’t been heard from? She promised to call back this morning when she was on the air last Friday. Do you know why she ain’t called in?”
“Good point Mabel. No I don’t. But I’ll reach out to her and try and get her on the air tomorrow,” Howard disconnected the caller and made a note to himself to call Val. Once off the air, he promptly forgot.
Two days later, Howard saw the note and called Val. Her phone immediately went to voicemail and he left her a message.
Howard was doing a ten minute Lotto-50 update everyday and taking two-to-three callers about it. There still hadn’t been a sign of the winner and now everyone was fixated on the store clerk as the one who had the winning ticket. It had been a week since the Lotto-50 drawing and the entire buzz was about who had the ticket and where he or she was at.