Posted May 24, 2012
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I found him out there on the bluff overlooking the ocean, his car was his quiet tomb. I noticed this solitary car in the car park at 7am, at first I thought of young couples snuggled together watching the sunrise but an odd shape made me take a second look. I went over and looked in the window. There was this bright pink face staring out into infinity. Stepping backwards I stumbled on uneven ground while my mind was trying to comprehend the scene in front of me. He was dead, I could see that just by looking at the body, he was frozen in time. There is a look a dead person gets when the soul has left the body, if you believe in souls of course. Vacant like there is no one home. I dialled 000 and called an ambulance and the police. I know I am with the police but I was off duty. This needed more investigation.
After reporting the suicide, I went back to looking around the car and also to fend off any other nosey parkers who might find this all too interesting. On the passenger side front seat was a piece of paper. I was dying to find out if it was a note that would explain why this man took his own life. But I had to wait. It was about an hour later when the police car arrived and a little later came the ambulance. The paramedics got the police to unlock the driver’s door and they pulled the body from the car. The constable looked into the car and leaned over to pick the note up. He read it and shook his head… he was disturbed by the contents of the note.
I went over to him and said, “Hi, I am Sergeant Castile from Newport station.”
“What did the note say? You seem pretty cut up about it.”
He handed the note to me and I read about the last few months of the man’s life. He wrote about the loss of his wife and child in a car accident, the subsequent loss of his job because he couldn’t manage the grief, the loss of his family home from having no income and he wrote about how last week he thought his luck had changed… he wrote about the phone call from the lottery office advising him his ticket had won the first prize pool of $30 million. All he had to do was produce the ticket.
Apparently he had a habit of buying a weekly lottery ticket and usually he checked it but lately he had been struggling to follow a lot of his regular habits and he had been tossing the tickets out unchecked. The reality was his flat was a mess, he just had not gotten around to cleaning it up. He was thankful for his bad habits and set about trying to find the lottery ticket in the mess. Day after day he searched the flat and he couldn’t find the missing ticket. The despair was so overwhelming he felt himself sinking into the black abyss. The more he searched the darker his world seemed… there was nothing left to live for… if only he hadn’t gotten that phone call.
I was standing there with Constable Milano and we shared the pain this man had suffered. I needed to do something so I thought I might call the lottery office and ask about the process for collecting first prize lottery pools. I asked Constable Milano if he objected to me doing this. He thought it was a good idea.
First thing on my next shift I rang the lottery office and asked them for some information. I asked them if it was their practice to ring first prize winners. They said not usually but in exceptional circumstances they did. When I asked them about the $30 million prize pool week and the winners for that week they said they hadn’t rung anyone. However they reported that there was a spate of practical jokes where this woman rang people out of the blue and told them they had won first prize. Often these people rang the lottery office to confirm and found out that they had been victims of a hoax.
Seems my man in the car was one such victim. Only he didn’t ring the lottery office to confirm, he died and there was nothing I could do.
He was fragile as glass and his heart shattered.
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Catherine Black writes for fun… she hates to call herself a writer and prefers to say she has pieces of writing that want to be read. Catherine, her cat and her lizards enjoy the meditative musings that writing gives them. They all live in Logan Qld Australia… it is sunny there most of the time and it is a warm winter this year.
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