There’s a Raffle that’s been going on in my town ever since I was a little boy. They started doing it in the 90’s. People seemed to have a lot of opinions about it. Everyone’s always said it was stupid and they hated it. I think some of those people are lying. People say we should get rid of The Raffle but they never do anything to actually change it. It’s all a bunch of talk and no action. The Raffle’s been going on so long I was numb to it for a long time but I’m starting to feel some way about it again. I started to read between the lines and understand what was actually happening in our city. If you live here too, just be glad you haven’t won yet.
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My husband Daniel is the type that keeps to himself. He doesn’t talk to any of the neighbors whereas I’ve always been outgoing. Even as a kid, I liked to get to know people so I could understand them better. Understand what they’re feeling better. I can learn so much about people by striking up a conversation…occasionally, I’ll meet someone I’d be best off avoiding…
“Let us pray.”
“Heavenly father, we are the family of Holy Cross. Bless us and guide us as we pray together in our church. Teach us wisdom and give strength to our community. Keep our family safe and our moral compasses true. We ask this in your name. Amen.” The congregants voices rise in unison to echo off the rafters of the old wooden building off north Main, just outside of town square.
“You may be seated.” Pastor Thomas, with his palms up, extended, directs them. His wife Gwen mounts the steps to the podium.
“Just a few matters of business to discuss with you all,” she begins.
The first time I saw one, I was seven. That was the night the neighbor-girl Cindy died. We were friends.
It was October and hot and the marsh was foggy and the frogs were all going at once, making an awful racket with their obnoxious noises.
I could write you a book about cleaning. If I did, it could have an entire section devoted to getting out your stains. I clean houses. I’m sort of a maid, I guess. I’ve learned a lot about people while doing this and the most important thing I’ve learned is that they’re pretty horrible. Including you. The second most important thing I’ve learned is keeping my mouth shut. I could tell you how to get the bloodstains out of the curtains at 4829 Barren Drive, Apartment 7 — but I probably shouldn’t. Nobody will ask anyway. There wasn’t a spot on them after I left. I cleaned up your mess. I keep your secrets.
This has always been one of my favorites and now it lives on NSP in infamy along with haunting stories from 24 other authors.
“How’s she doing?” I asked, tossing Kyle a beer as he mounted the steps to my porch. Beers around sunset was one of our traditions on the weeknights I was lucky enough to be home. We never drank to excess, just a beer or two after work. Over the course of the past week, Kyle began to seem more and more downhearted each night.
“Hello, my class is taking a field-trip and I’m selling magazine subs—” I slammed the door in his tiny, stupid face.
He might have been eight-years-old, and my reaction might have been cruel, but the kid’s gotta learn the world is a harsh place sometime in his life. Why not now?