It was a normal morning, as far as February mornings went this year, traveling down the highway to meet with a tutoring student. Despite the normal presence of a mental screen saver that occupies my thoughts on such drives, something switched my brain on as a sudden fear swept over me, a fear that I, myself, might win the lottery.

It is, as with most fears, completely unfounded, for certain effects must have a specific cause, and to win the lottery, one must have a ticket. The fact that I do not own, nor now plan to own, such a ticket – excepting, of course, the three I bought the day I turned 18, just because I could – should have swallowed up this sudden fear with contempt. But what if, I persisted, as we all do with things we should leave well enough alone, what if someone gives me a ticket? What if I find one on the ground? What if someday I break down and buy one, just for fun?

The possibility – however remote – of winning the lottery cannot be completely ruled out, so the dark rabbit trails of tragic reasoning must follow. More