The Unraffle

To the people of Tlön, the unraffle was the ultimate in egalitarian chance, perhaps something even greater.

Today, Joan had chanced to win. She already held her winning ticket as she arrived in the village hall. The prize, a basket of her home-made produce was beautifully wrapped in her finest transparent cellophane, so everybody could see her baking, her preserves and her homecraft.  Excitement was mounting as the other participants, her competitors, were arriving and taking their places  in the hall. Each one carefully uncreased their crumpled losing tickets as they found their places. She placed the prize on the trophy table with a great deal of excitement, noting the spotlights reflected coloured beams of light across the room to the other tables the other competitors were seated. Then Joan listened as her number was announced as the winning ticket and the room settled down to the excited buzz that indicated that the draw had just taken place.

Over tea, the ticket vendors wandered around the tables, badgering and cajoling the participants to part with their ultimately losing tickets for a small cash sum from the central pool. Joan smiled as she collected her payment, confident that she held the winning ticket, no matter how unlikely. The vendors would then take the responsibility for selling her prize for a sum that would exactly match the sum distributed. That was the law, it was strictly forbidden to make a loss or profit for the small draws. Then the now ex-ticket holders would withdraw from the room to go home and settle down for a quiet evening after all the excitement and anticipation.

Somehow, the winning ticket always matched the one held by the person bringing the prize. Sceptics of the game put this down to chance, rationalists to the notion of a universe running irrevocably to a crashing end but to people like Joan, and that was the vast majority of the inhabitants of Tlön, it was a simple proof of the existence of the divine.

Link to notes.

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2 Responses to The Unraffle

  1. Pingback: Notes for “The Unraffle” | Small Stony Notes and Jottings

  2. Pingback: Carnival 4: “Flash Across Borders” | An Aotearoa Affair

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