[ Dramatis Personae: IT Person, Client Relations Person, Programmer, Second Programmer. They're around a table. On its center is an envelope, partly stuffed with money, with names written on the back. ]
IT: I just wonder if we should change who we send for the tickets.
Programmer: How can it possibly matter? Somebody goes to the store, buys the quick-picks, and comes back.
Second: I don't see any way it can matter.
Programmer: Thank you.
Second: But they have a point.
Client: It's not that we're losing confidence in you.
Programmer: Confidence can't enter into it! There is no human judgement entering the lottery pool procedure. There is nothing I can do that in any way affects our winnings.
IT: Fine, but, we used to win.
Second: Explaining why we're all here. We love it so much.
[ Client laughs, sincerely yet excessively ]
IT: Yeah, not the big payouts, but enough for pizza money.
Second: [ While tapping the envelope ] Everybody writes down how much they're putting. Everybody puts in their dollars. We get back photocopies of the twenty tickets we buy.
Client: It's not always twenty, is it? I mean, a big jackpot like this week and everybody gets serious putting cash in.
Programmer: It's not, it's ---
Second: I mean it's not like money's being pocketed. I don't know how many we get, the weeks we play. I don't even look at the photocopies.
Programmer: Why did you complain when I stopped giving you photocopies?
Second: Hey, I'm on your side. I don't know the insinuations here. I'm saying the accounting is dead on. [ Second picks up the envelope and counts the money. ]
Client: I wasn't insinuating anything. It's just, you're picking the tickets wrong.
Programmer: Nothing can pick the tickets right or wrong.
IT: Man, remember that time two years ago when we won five hundred bucks?
Second: That was great.
Client: We got pizza twice a week for ...
Programmer: Until we were sick of pizza.
IT: And with you buying the tickets we haven't even broken five dollars.
Second: We got so sick of pizza we had the Thai Fiasco.
Client: They were good.
Second: When they finally arrived. It was, like, 2:30? When was it?
Programmer: I don't know. I was out getting my car strangled.
IT: They were tom yummy. [ Client laughs, as Client laughs at this every single time. ]
Programmer: What is anyone even suggesting? I don't understand any part of this conversation. [ Second takes a pen and counts the envelope's names. ]
Second: I'm not the one asking whether to replace you as lottery buyer.
IT: You know the problem? You don't think we can actually win, that's the trouble.
Programmer: We can't win the big jackpots, which isn't the point.
Client: I'd put up with winning the big jackpots.
IT: We wouldn't have this conversation if just one you brought in four hundred million dollars.
Programmer: I wouldn't be having any conversations.
Client: Maybe if we sent someone with you it'd help?
Programmer: With what, the lifting?
Second: Yeah, those are some hefty twenty-dollar envelopes to haul across the street. [ Second re-counts the money. ]
IT: You always said you didn't even care about this. Why not let someone who knows how to pick a fifty-dollar win do it?
Programmer: Nobody knows how to pick a fifty-dollar win better than I know and everybody knows that nobody knows.
Programmer: You know.
Second: Ooh. Yeah, I do.
IT: What would we even do with a real jackpot?
Client: Something banned in Chapter F. [ All snort, acknowledging. ]
Second: This doesn't add up.
Second: There's 28 dollars, and only 27 names accounted for.
[ Client takes the envelope and checks the names. ]
IT: I put in three ---
Second: And you wrote three after your name, I got that. Couple others like that too. We're one dollar high.
Client: [ To Programmer ] I saw you put two dollars in and didn't write a two.
Programmer: Well, an extra buck might be what we need.
Client: If it wins you're cheating yourself out of a share.
Programmer: I'll be sick enough of pizza on one share.
IT: Well ... just remember to get the tickets at lunch.
Client: It's a big jackpot this week.
Trivia: The bearings within the space shuttle's Atmospheric Revitalization Subsystem, providing breathing air, were designed to operate for ten thousand hours, despite the strong oscillations set off by the shuttle's motion in flight. Source: Development Of The Space Shuttle, 1972 - 1981, T A Heppenheimer.
Currently Reading: Secret Wars And Secret Policies In The Americas, 1842 - 1929, Friedrich E Schuler.