Eddie's Choice

Eddie Jones is a depressed man, whose wife just died and is suicidal. When surprise news of a lottery win for Eddie comes, he is forced to make a choice, live or die.

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1. The Choice

 

 

            There was a hard knock on Eddie Jones’s door. Despite the loud pounding noise, Eddie stayed motionless on his old couch that was only a few feet away from his front door.

There was another knock-knock on the door, but still Eddie did not move. The couch was a under a wide window that looked out to the front lawn of his small white house. The bright light from the window exposed a dusty air in house.

            The next knock-knock was quickly followed by the front door roughly swinging open and a figure stumbling into the house.

            "Eddie!" Said a deep, rough voice. Finally, the body of Eddie Jones rustled awake and he covered his eyes with is left hand from the bright sunlight coming in from the window and door.

            Eddie didn't remember when he had fallen asleep the night before. What he did remember was that his wife of nine years had died only two and a half months earlier and that is what he blamed for his state on the couch. He wasn't drunk or on drugs as many people assumed, but just taking a long sleep that for him could not last long enough.

"What?" Eddie's soft voice groaned.

            "My car won't start, can I take yours to work?" It was Eddie's brother Tom, who was now in his entryway. Tom was a cameraman for the local news station.

            "Yeah, sure." Eddie said still not fully awake.

            "Okay, thanks brother." Tom said. He then moved over to the couch where his brother lay. "Hey, how are you doing?” He said sitting down at the end of the couch.

            That same question had been asked everyday by Tom, but Eddie always gave the same response. "Fine."

            "Have you been doing any work lately?"

            "No."

            "Well, maybe you should think about doing that today, how about that?" Eddie was a freelance journalist. He hadn't done anything work related since his wife, Sara, died.

            "Yeah I'll get on that."

            "Okay, Eddie, I'll see you later. Thanks for lending me the car." Tom walked out of the house slowly and closed the front door softly behind him.

            Eddie leaned back onto the couch and rested his hand on his forehead. He was just about to nod back to sleep when his brother's voice returned.

"EDDIE! EDDIE!" Tom was screaming and running back up to the house.

            The front door shot open with Tom stumbling in again. Eddie opened his eyes to see his older brother holding a small piece of paper in his left hand. "Eddie! I was cleaning out your car and I found this under the seat!" Eddie sat up to get a better look at the thing in Tom's hand. "It's the winning lottery ticket, Eddie! It's the big one!"

            "What are you talking about?" Eddie said still completely confused.

            "It has the winning numbers for the big lottery that nobody has claimed yet! I recognized the numbers because they've been showing them on the news for the past few days. It expires tomorrow."

            "Let me see that." Tom walked over and handed it to Eddie. Tom was shaking, but Eddie was as calm as he had been before his brother came running to the house.

            "They're the right numbers, Eddie. It's the mega millions, the one worth one billion dollars." Tom put his hands on his forehead in shock.

            "That's not possible." Eddie said shaking his head in disbelief and handed the ticket back to Tom. At this point in Eddy's depressed state he didn't believe anything that was not bad news.

            "Eddie! You’re a billionaire! It is possible! You have to take this in before it expires."

            "Just leave it on the table, Tom, and go to work. I'll take care of it."

            "No Eddy, we're going to the gas station now and turning in the ticket."

            "I said I'd take care of it!" Eddy said sharply. His sharp tone was so different from the one he had used before it made Tom jump. This time Tom didn't argue.

            "Okay, but we're taking it in when I get back from work, alright?" Tom walked slowly back out the door, keeping an eye on his brother. Eddie did not respond, instead Tom just walked out of the house with nothing else said and closed the door a little harder behind him.

            Instead of lying back down, Eddy stayed sitting up and stared down at his billion-dollar ticket. He did remember that there had been a billion-dollar lottery ticket, but it seemed like a dream to him. He did not, though, remember anything about buying a lottery ticket. Maybe it had been his wife; she would have been alive at that time. She had always been forgetful and probably had forgotten about the ticket, leaving it in the car.

            Several minutes went by where Eddie just stared down at the ticket and he barely blinked. His mind wasn't racing with thoughts or excitement like it should have been, but was empty.

            Eddie looked down at the coffee table in front of him. There was a dirty, old pillow sitting on the corner of the table. Something intrigued him about this pillow, but he could not remember what, so he pulled the pillow off of the table, exposing something underneath.

            At that moment the events of the night before came rushing back into his hazy mind. It was a gun that had been underneath the pillow. It was the same gun he had held to his head the night before while he sobbed what he thought were his last tears.

            He had held the gun to his temple for what felt like days, before he finally placed it on the glass coffee table and put the pillow over it. Not long after, Eddie fell asleep, leaving the gun where he had left it.

            Eddie's eyes now turned to the gun. It was a small shotgun that he had purchased a few years ago for self-defense. He had never touched it until his wife died. Then, almost every night it was the same routine of putting it to his head and telling himself to pull the trigger, but of course he never did. He had done it so many times by now the gun felt normal against his temple and the trigger felt the normal with his finger.  No one else knew about the gun and he wanted to keep it that way, which is why he put the pillow over the gun when he resolved not to pull the trigger the night before.

            Now, he had a real dilemma. Even though Eddie had sounded uninterested with his brother about the ticket, he was interested. He and his wife had always been poor, every year of their marriage, but they always stuck together. Eddy never made much money as a freelance journalist and Sara never made much a part-time secretary. The house they lived in, the one Eddie was in, had belonged to Sara's grandmother. Even the house, which was not much, would have been too expensive for their small income. The lottery ticket obviously provided Eddie with more money than he would ever need, alone.

            Alone, that was the other side of the dilemma. Eddie had been diagnosed with severe clinical depression in his early teens. Eddie’s depression did not disappear completely when he met his wife, but it did get better. He was happier than he had ever been. But, when she died that all collapsed in an instant. Eddy was in such a dark place for so long that he did not even speak for weeks. The bullet of a gun seemed like the most obvious and easy choice for him. It took out two of his problems, bringing him out of his misery and reuniting him with his wife in a better place. Still, there was something about actually pulling that trigger that had proved impossible for Eddie. He could no longer count the nights he had stood over that couch and table with the gun pressed against his head. Each time he sobbed more than the time before.

            One thing Eddie did know was that he would have to make a choice, live or die. It may seem to most people like an obvious one, live and receive a billion dollars. It might have also been an obvious one to Eddie if he had been in the right state of mind, but he hadn't been for the past two and a half months.

            Still, the gun's presence loomed in the room, as did the tickets. Eddie also knew he would have to make his choice before his brother returned. For some reason he had a new resolve. Perhaps it was because he finally had a viable option besides the bullet of the gun, but this option was expiring.

            He wanted to get his situation over right then. Die or take the billion dollars and live. There was no middle ground. Winning the first ever lottery worth a billion dollars brought fame and of course, fortune. Eddie could see himself holding up the giant check with his name on it. He gave himself a small smile, the first he had had in two and a half months.

            Unfortunately, the smile was soon followed by a loud gasping sob. Tears began to flee Eddie's eyes. He set his head in his hands and pressed his elbows against his thighs. He cried more and more.

The figure of his wife suddenly entered his mind like a ghost. Her distinguishable soft, comforting smile and warm eyes stared into his thoughts. He only cried more at this. "Come with me, Eddie." Sara's voice whispered in a soft soothing tone.

            Eddie threw himself back on the couch and pressed his left hand harshly against his forehead, trying to press his dead wife out of his crowded mind.

            "AH!" He moaned. He had never had hallucinations of his wife before and it scared him.

            Her figure disappeared from his mind, but her voice continued. "Come with me, Eddie. Come with me, Eddie." It repeated over and over again.

            Finally, Eddie screamed in desperation. "STOP IT!" The voice suddenly stopped and disappeared. Eddie was left panting on his couch. He lifted his head back and stared up at the heavens. "Help me, please help me." He moaned.

            For the last time, Eddy heard the whisper of his wife. "Come with me, Eddie."       Eddie dropped his head down and stared at the floor. He took a big gulp. His choice was made.

            He reached his body across the couch for a note pad and pencil lying on the side table. The side table was filled with suicide notes. He had written one each night he had held the gun to his head, which was every night.

            This time he wasn't writing a suicide note, but two simple words. "For Tom." Eddie then placed the note over the lottery ticket.

            Eddie reached for the gun and snatched it in his hand. It felt just as normal as it had when he had pressed it against his temple the night before. This time, though, there were no tears.

            Eddie was now firm in his decision. His older brother would become a billionaire, not him. His brother had a chance at actually living his life in happiness. Eddie knew that would never be possible for him. No matter how much money he ever had he would never be truly living.

            The only way Eddie could be alive was to be with his wife, to die. For the first time in two and a half months, an ounce of happiness entered Eddie's heart as he thought of seeing his wife again. His wife's figure appeared once more in his mind just as he pulled the trigger.

 

 

 

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