Candy Apple-Red Corvette
Durke was not very well liked by Vincent, his coworker, who bought tickets for the lottery pool in the auto parts factory. Durke commuted with Vincent to work, in an industrial park near the frenetically busy expressway. Durke had known Vincent the longest of any coworkers at the factory. But Vincent resented that, instead of joining the rest of his coworkers in chipping in several dollars each week for the lottery ticket pool, Durke abstained, passed. Instead of socializing with Vincent and other coworkers during work breaks and lunch hour, Durke studied the business section of the newspapers. He analyzed stock market trends with a knitted brow, a calculator, a sharpened stubby pencil, and an intensity and fervor that underlined his seriousness as an investor. In fact, he was so astute with his stock market investments and earned so much money from the capital gains on his speculations that Vincent, among other coworkers and supervisors, wondered why he even continued working at the auto parts manufacturing plant.
Durke’s stockbroker was also puzzled by his client’s behavior. His stockbroker couldn’t comprehend why Durke didn’t join him in working for his investment firm, but Durke said he didn’t feel comfortable handling other people’s money. In his experience, Durke found the higher the risk he was willing to assume, the higher the return, and so he didn’t think he could handle the stress of managing a customer’s retirement savings.
Before Durke had even won the lottery, his coworker Vincent noticed an envelope and letter from Durke’s stockbroker fall from his boxed lunch of peanut butter sandwiches and an apple. (For lunch, he never joined his coworkers who preferred to patronize the neighborhood bars and grilles and strip clubs for poutine and hamburgers and fries.) His coworker even waited until afternoon coffee break was over and went through his backpack. Vincent noticed that he had a financial statement with transactions worth thousands and thousands of dollars and a check for thirty thousand dollars filed between the pages of a classic book about stock market investing with a preface by Warren Buffet. Vincent, the same worker who bought the lottery tickets for the group each week, whistled softly to himself and again wondered why Durke bothered to work as a machinist in the auto plants factory. In fact, the co-worker who organized the lottery pool was so miffed he told him. “I guess we don’t need to ask you if you’re going to buy a lottery ticket.”
Since he never participated in the weekly lottery pool, Durke thought the remarks peculiar and could not understand why this co-worker seemed angry with him. Since the provincial lottery, that week was being advertised as the largest jackpot in several years, he laughingly decided during the subway commute home, after Vincent left the factory in his minivan without him, to stop at the lottery stand and bought a ticket for himself on a lark. As widely reported in the national media, that week the jackpot for the lottery reached twenty-four million dollars, not an all-time high, but close, and his numbers matched, and he won.
A fair amount of publicity had attended his winning the twenty-four million dollar lottery jackpot. The most memorable quote, or sound bite, replayed on radio and television newscasts would have been his mentioning his plans to buy a candy apple red Corvette. Having come into possession of so much cash, there seemed to be little reason for him to continue working. Even though his instincts, nature, and intuition told him otherwise, he quit his position at the auto parts factory, which actually paid him a fairly decent and respectable wage.
Soon he found he had quite a bit of time on his hands, time which he attempted to utilize in the pursuit of purposeful activity. In fact, he found himself incredibly bored and leading a meaningless and purposeless existence. Downtown, he drove the city streets lively with nightlife, visited nightclubs, hung out in strip clubs, hired the services of sex trade workers, watched serial dramas on a supersized television monitors, and built up a vast collection of Hollywood movies on DVD and his favorite rock and roll music on compact disk.