Schrödinger’s Millionaire

“…and there’s your change.”

“Cheers.” Taking the change the previous customer took the newspaper and packet of cigarettes and left the shop. A short, thick set, man stepped up to the counter.

“Hello Jimmy, what will you have today, the usual?”

“Yes please Mrs Patel, and a packet of wine gums, and a Sherbet Dip Dab please.” Jimmy opened his purse, pulled out a five pound note and a scratch card. Putting the scratch card on top of the pile of newspapers on the counter Jimmy handed over the fiver.

The door of the newsagent clattered to a close as a rather intimidating man with a shaven head and paint covered clothes joined the queue behind Jimmy.

“Don’t eat them all at once Jimmy,” said Mrs Patel as she handed him the sweets, along with a new scratch card.

Jimmy was apparently oblivious of the new customer as he put down the sweets and the second scratch card on the newspapers in front of him. The queuing customer looked on impatiently, eager to reach the newspapers in front of Jimmy.

“And there’s your change Jimmy, one pound and seventeen pence.”

Taking the change Jimmy put the money down with the sweets and scratch cards and, very deliberately, separated his purchases from the scratch card he had previously taken from his purse, leaving the whole lot spread across a copy of the Daily Mirror and half of The Sun.

The new customer glanced at his watch and looked on frowning, as Jimmy took the first scratch card and scraped off the gold coating to reveal the symbols underneath. Mrs Patel watched the ritual with an almost imperceptible wry smile.

“Is it a winning ticket Jimmy?” asked Mrs Patel.

“Not this one Mrs Patel…” he dropped the change into his purse and picked up the intact scratch card. “But this one might be!” he exclaimed.

Picking up his sweets Jimmy turned to face the paint covered man, looking up at him. There was a brief pause as the shaven man hesitated, slightly thrown by the situation, as Jimmy stood, confidently waiting for him to get out of his way, though there was plenty of room in the shop.

“Oh, err, sorry mate!” faltered the painter as he stepped to one side to let Jimmy pass.

Clutching his purchases Jimmy stepped into the street, the morning sunlight glinting gold off the coating on today’s scratch card, as he strode out, ready to take on the world.

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