Hello everyone! Since I have been lax in posting the last two weeks, I thought I'd give you a little midweek story. I thought of this story earlier this week and it's been on my mind all week, so I finished it off tonight while I'm home alone with the kids. I do plan on posting another story this Saturday since it's already half written too and I just need to finish it off.
I appreciate all of you who read my blog and hope that if you like it you share with your friends. I'm getting some positive feedback through word of mouth, which is encouraging. Thanks!
"And the Cryotechnic Lottery numbers for July Seventeenth, 2022..." The announcer smiled a big, fake smile as he let the anticipation build. Jake Anthony rolled his eyes as he watched the TV. He double-checked that he had the ticket that his mother bought for him.
He was missing what the announcer was saying. "...twenty-four and thirty-five. Once again, the numbers are four, nineteen, twenty-two, twenty-four and thirty-five."
Jake started to throw the ticket away when he spotted a thirty-five on it. A little shiver of excitement went down Jake's spine. He took a good look at the ticket and read the numbers. Four, nineteen, twenty-two, twenty-four and thirty-five! He sent the chair he was in sprawling as he jumped up out of it.
Jake quickly picked up his cell phone and dialed his mom's number. A moment later, she answered, "Hello?"
Jake had to fight to keep the excitement out of his voice as he said, "Hi, mom. How are you doing?"
Apparently he failed to keep the excitement at bay as his mom replied, "What's happening?"
Jake let the excitement out as he blurted out, "Mom, you remember that Cryotechnic Lottery ticket you bought me?"
He heard the excitement in his mother's voice as she said, "Yes I do."
"Well, I just watched the announcement of the numbers and my numbers match! I've won a berth in the first batch of them that Cryotechnic is going to do in September," Jake exclaimed.
"Oh, my! I knew that those numbers were lucky," she said. "We'll have to celebrate! When were you planning on turning the ticket in?"
That thought hadn't occurred to Jake. "Uh, I don't know," he said. "I guess that I could go down there still this evening."
"I think that is a good idea, Jake. Call me tonight and fill me in on the details," his mother replied.
Jake got off the phone and noticed the turned over chair for the first time. He straightened the chair and grabbed his coat. Jake happened to live in same city as the Cryotechnic headquarters, so it wasn't a terribly long drive. Nervousness set in as he pulled into the parking lot of a large building on the east side of town near the river. He parked in one of the few empty parking spaces and took a deep breath to steady his nerves.
As casually as he could manage, Jake opened the front door and walked over to the receptionist desk. His voice only cracked once as he said, "Hi, my name is Jake Anthony and I have the winning numbers for today's lottery."
The receptionist sounded bored as she said, "Really? Well, let me see the ticket then."
Jake pulled the ticket from his jeans pocket and handed it to her. She barely looked at it as she ran it through a scanner on her desk. A green light lit up on the scanner and a friendly beep came out of the machine. Her eyes widened and she said, "Wow! You weren't kidding!" She looked back up at Jake sheepishly. "Sorry about doubting you, Jake. We get a lot of people trying to run scammed tickets by us. I knew that we had a winner tonight, but I didn't think that it would come from our own city!"
She took the ticket out of the scanner and grabbed a little paper that had printed out of it as well. She stood up and walked around the desk to face Jake. "Let me be the first to congratulate you, Mr. Anthony," she said as she stuck out her hand. "My name is Jill, by the way.
Jake shook her hand and said, "Thank you, Jill. Actually though, I called my mom first. She bought me the ticket, after all."
Jill smiled at Jake and replied, "Well, that's nice of her. Follow me and I'll bring you back to our Chief of Operations, Bill Franklin."
She turned and led Jake through a maze of hallways and offices until they came to a door that simply said "COO". Jill knocked on the door and, without waiting for an answer, opened it.
The room beyond the door was large, but sparsely decorated with only a desk and a couple of chairs. Even though he was sitting, Jake could tell that the man was very tall. Suddenly, a faded memory jumped into Jake's head. "Oh man, that's 'Big' Bill Franklin!"
Bill looked up from the laptop on his desk and smiled at Jake. "Always nice to meet a fan," he said in a smooth baritone. He stood up and walked around the desk to meet Jake and Jill.
Jill handed him the slip and ticket and walked out of the office without saying another word. She shut the door behind her. Bill took a quick look at the two pieces of paper and nodded with a smile on his face. He motioned towards his desk. "Come, Jake. Have a seat."
Jake started to, but realized that he hadn't said his name. "Um, Bill? How'd you know my name?"
Bill stopped and turned to Jake, the smile still present. "You're a fan right?" he asked. He waited until Jake nodded and continued, "Good. Remember Game 7 of the '12 World Series?"
"Yeah! You guys faced your old mentor, Joe Finkley. It was only the second time he'd started a game all season," Jake replied.
Bill nodded. "Yep. Joe and I went way back. Like you said, he was my mentor when I played for St. Louis. I knew every pitch he had up his sleeve and when he'd use them." Bill sat down and indicated that Jake should too. He continued, "It's a definite advantage to know what's going to happen before it happens."
As Jake sat down he said, "I'll say. You guys slaughtered them." He looked puzzled for a moment, "But you didn't answer my question."
Bill laughed. "You're a smart one, aren't you? Well, Jill entered your name into our system when you came in and scanned your ticket. It's on the receipt that she gave me with the ticket."
Jake nodded. "I see. Okay, Bill, I've got one more question for you, and then we can get down to business. What's a hall of fame pitcher doing as a COO here?"
The question made Bill laugh once more. "I've always had a mind for business, Jake. When I was playing ball for Harvard, I was also studying business there. When I retired from baseball, I went back and got my MBA and doctorate. I met some people there who were creating a startup called Cryotechnic. I looked at their business plan and got in on the ground floor with them."
"And now you're standing with them on the top story of the emerging market of cryogenics," Jake finished. Bill nodded. "Okay, Bill. I'll let you get down to business, but I'll need an autograph before I go home."
Bill laughed once again and said, "You know, Jake, I like you. You can have as many autographs as you like." He rummaged around in a desk drawer for a moment and pulled out a brochure that he passed across the desk to Jake. "That brochure contains more details about what you've won. As I'm sure you're aware, you can deposit as much cash as you like with us and we'll invest it while you are asleep. We guarantee that you will get at least the equivalent amount of money, allowing for inflation, plus an additional one million dollars as a base since you are one of the six lottery contestants that we're including in our first set of berths."
Jake let out a slow whistle. "A million bucks sure is nice. What happens if I choose to refuse to go into cryogenic sleep?"
"Well, Jake, that is your right. We're not going to force you into it, but you will forfeit your prize. We'd make you sign a non-disclosure agreement and give you an additional small incentive package for not disclosing your refusal to the public." Bill looked Jake over and said, "Something tells me that you're not going to refuse though, are you Jake?"
Jake shook his head, "Not on your life, Bill. I just wanted to get all the options."
Bill stood up and extended his hand, "Great! Congratulations, Jake. All you need to do is come by here next week to fill out some paperwork and I'll see you in September!"
Jake stood and shook Bill's hand. "Thanks! But I think you owe me some autographs first!"