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A group of teenagers stood together in a dark parking lot where they were circled around a small piece of paper on the ground. Slowly, they each began to chant the magic words under their breath until the rhythm took hold, and as one their voices grew louder and stronger until the night air became saturated with their power. They could feel the enchantment flowing through their veins, see it shining brightly in each other’s eyes. It became an overwhelming force threatening to consume them all until… “STOP!” The command was not spoken out loud, but they each heard his voice echoing through their minds. In unison, the order was obeyed. After a moment of silence he stepped forward, lucky coin in hand. He picked up the lotto ticket. Scratch scratch scratch. The others eagerly shuffled closer, wondering what rewards the fates had decided to bestow upon them that evening. Nothing could be heard except the scratching of coin on paper and the frantic beating of their own hearts. The prize was another lotto ticket. They had won a second ticket. No more, no less. Perhaps the fates thought that it would be funny to set a trail of clues to lead them to their treasure. It certainly would not be the first time that has happened. Swallowing their disappointment, the group broke apart ready to head off in their respective directions. However, before any of them were able to leave, they were joined by a new company. “You kids doin’ alright out here?” the cops asked as they pulled up in their shiny white cruiser. Politely, the group explained that they were out celebrating a birthday and that they were just having fun with a lotto card before they went home for the night. Satisfied with that explanation, the shiny white cruiser drove off again and left the teenagers standing there and hiding sly smiles behind their hands. Those cops must have been rookies. It won’t be long though before they realize what a mistake they made in letting the Square slip though their fingers so easily that evening.
It started with a plan. One Friday morning Katie, Steve and I bailed Eric out of school (or rather we rescued him from the horrors of an EHS pep rally), then we fetched the new lottery card that we had won on Eric's birthday, and drove to St. Augustine feasting on chips and queso. So far it was a success. It seemed that the stars were aligned for us to win the lotto that day. For hours we wondered around the marvel that is the streets of St. Auggie. As usual, there were splendors and wonders galore: -Bumper stickers that read: "Beam me back, Merlin!" "I do whatever my rice crispies tell me to," "Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons for you are crunchy and good with ketchup," "Dyslexic devil worshippers sell their souls to Santa," and "There's too much blood in my caffeine system." -Alpaca store. Enough said. -Dresses that Katie and I were going to buy once we won the lottery. -Henna tattoos, that were only available on the weekend. -"The pizza guy." -Hats! -And the key lime store, of course. Finally we found ourselves in front of a fortune teller machine. Without any hesitation, Eric bought himself a card. After reading it we were all reassured that the fates were indeed in our favor that evening. It stated that water would bring us fortune, and we planned to do our lotto dance on the beach. There was just one bit that stumped us slightly. The last line on the card explained that holding the hand of a Libra would also bring good luck. None of us were Libras, so we now had a new goal for the evening before we could complete our lotto dance. We had to find a Libra.
It was a dark and cloudless night. After making our way to the beach, we were disheartened to discover that it was high tide and there was hardly any sand to be seen. But as the sun had just set, the shore was abandoned and finally the four of us managed to find a sandy patch where we spread out our towels and stuffed ourselves with pizza. Once we had all eaten our fill, we laid back to admire the starry sky above our heads. Being square members, of course we were only able to lay there silently for so long. So once we had relaxed for an adequate amount of time, Katie broke out a bundle of cotton and a bottle of alcohol. No, we were not about to get drunk on the beach, it was fireball time! So Katie showed off her skills, then we tried to tell scary stories around a cotton ball bonfire. Before long however, the alcohol ran out and we were left in the dark once more. But Katie, Eric and I still hungered for stories, so we tried to make one up together. The synopsis: Fire bees really do exist, they feast on the flesh of Katie, Eric and myself, they come from the sky, and are controlled by Steve, not Morgana (Steve was asleep during the entire story so he is still unaware of this fact). Finally we decided that it was time to leave and, after a few failed attempts at trying to catch some phosphorescence in the water on my part, we gathered up our belongings and headed back to the parking lot to continue our search for a Libra so that we could win the lotto that evening.
The four of us made our way to the volleyball courts on the opposite side of the darkened parking lot. We had the lotto ticket, the fortune card, the lucky duck, and the lucky coin all in hand. Steve claimed that he was going to pretend that he did not know us once we started dancing, but Katie, Eric and I were determined. The moment of truth was drawing near and we were ready. We reached the volleyball courts without event. There were crowds of people, one of them had to be a Libra. After a moment of hesitation, Eric stepped up to the first group that we encountered and asked if anyone there was a Libra. No such luck. In fact, the person that Eric had asked didn't even know what a Libra was at first. Once she found out, she asked us why we were looking for one. We gave the short explanation and simply told her that we had a lotto card and it was for good luck. She seemed satisfied with that answer and replied that she would pretend to be a Libra if we shared a portion of the prize with her when we won. It seemed to be the easiest option at the time, and we didn't believe that the lotto gods would be able to see through the lie, so we agreed. As Eric stepped forward to explain how the lotto dance worked, I noticed that our new friend was signing everything that was said to a group of onlookers. She was an interpreter for a group of deaf students. And it was evident by the look on her face that she thought we were all just slightly crazy. We were not to be deterred however, so I placed the cards on the ground with the lucky duck as Eric began the chant. "Lotto lotto, lotto lotto, lotto lotto..." Katie and I immediately joined in, and as our voices began to grow stronger I chanced a glance up at our "Libra." As promised, she was signing the word "lotto" over and over again as we chanted it. She still had an expression on her face however that clearly said she thought we were insane, but that wouldn't matter once we were rich. Gradually we grew louder and louder, attracting more than a few stares (which was surprising as just about everyone around us was deaf). "STOP!" The command was given and we obeyed. Eric picked up the ticket and I reminded him that he needed to hold the "Libra's" hand. So, as I carried the lucky duck and fortune card, Katie held up the lotto card for Eric to scratch with the lucky coin as he also held the hand of our new friend (as she was nonstop signing explanations to everyone that was watching).
We were wrong. The lotto gods saw right through our lie. We didn't win anything that night, but we had one hell of a good story to tell. As we walked back to Katie's car hardly disappointed with our current lack of wealth, Eric exclaimed that it was worth the dollar that the ticket cost for the adventure that we managed to get out of it. I laughed along with the others then claimed the rights to be the first one to retell the tale of what happened in St. Augustine.
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