Trials the Novel: Chapter 5

Fingers crossed, Steve and Amy Jones huddled around the small TV. Usually he didn’t play the lottery, but after being out of a job for the last year he started playing monthly. The prize: a one-way-all expenses-paid trip to Mars for you and your family as part of a recruiting gimmick by Unicore Technologies and Mining.

With the economy in shambles as a result of years of war, jobs and industry followed suit. Over-population in major cities, a nearly twenty percent unemployment, and failed attempts at rejuvenating the struggling economy made it easier for large companies to regroup on Mars, utilizing cheap labor from the skilled, but jobless, here on Earth. To play the lottery, you had to qualify: only those who had job experience (in Steve’s case it was mining), were unemployed for over six months, and those no longer eligible to receive unemployment, could play. Steve and his family also easily passed the mandatory medical examinations that ensured that potential candidates were fit for the seven month journey. When Steve realized he could apply for the job in the form of the lottery, he jumped at the idea. If Mars was anything like the commercials and promotional videos on Unicore’s website, he knew his wife and daughter would love it.

To the background of police sirens and arguing, Steve and Amy huddled close to the small TV in their two bedroom apartment. The numbers slowly appeared on the screen as a beautiful brunette woman in a beige Unicore dress read them aloud.

“Tonight’s numbers are…Twenty-two…Fifteen…Seventeen”

Amy’s eyes got wide. She looked at Steve.

“Seventeen again,” said the announcer. “Have we ever had two seventeens in a row, John?

“No, I don’t think so Scarlett,” her host responded. “This must be a very lucky draw.”

“And the last number is… TWENTY-ONE!”

Steve couldn’t believe it. He read and reread the numbers at least three times over. Amy sat in awe, and then finally started to scream.

“We WON. We won Steve! We won!”

Steve stared blankly at the TV. There is no way we could be this lucky. No way. I never win anything.

The lady on the screen continued. “John, do we have the name?”

“We sure do Scarlett. Let’s give a big round of applause to the newest Unicore employee Steve Jones!”

They hugged. Steve truly couldn’t believe it. He’d go to the Unicore booth in the morning and turn in his ticket. Finally, a break. My big break, Steve thought.

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