They’re at a union banquet—his. They join friends around a table big enough for ten. During the dinner there’s all the talk of work, which she filters and mostly ignores, preferring to chat with the other wives she has come to know. Lots of the talk is about the draws as rumor has it there will be a big grand prize. Everyone has their tickets tucked into pockets or purses.
“What number have you got,” he asks.
She checks her ticket. “Two-six-nine. Why?”
“Trade me!” he says. “That’s my union number. It’ll be a lucky number for me.”
She shakes her head. “I’ll keep it thanks.”
Throughout dinner he pleads. His buddies throw in a few comments of their own.
“Ah, come on, be a sport.”
“It’s gotta be his, it’s his union number.”
“And don’t forget, this is his banquet.”
The guy next to him, leans over and checks out his ticket. “Five-six-eight. So close and yet so far.” He holds his hands over his heart and beguiles her with a forlorn puppy dog look.
“Okay, Okay,” she says and they trade tickets.
After dinner, before the dancing, the draws are made, for odds and ends that have been donated. Nice prizes, but little.
“And now, Ladies and Gentlemen the moment you’ve been waiting for.” Silence descends. People lean forward in their chairs, tickets clutched in their hands. “The grand prize.” The emcee holds up a picture frame wherein they can all clearly see a one hundred dollar bill (which was a lot of money in those days). Claps, cheers, hoots and more cheers.
“And the winner is …” A hand goes into the jar. It comes out with a ticket which is passed to the announcer.
“And the winner is … Five-Six-Eight.”
Everyone at their table erupts in laughter as she triumphantly makes her way to the podium to claim her prize.