Set for Life

It was only natural that hobbies would arise in the Zone. Once you got past the terror, the malnutrition, the lack of privacy, the cold, and the despair, there was the boredom. There was plenty of all six to go around. A few people tried knitting scarves and sweaters, some played cards, most just shivered around campfires and talked to pass the time. Only Nye played the Lotto.

Tickets were hard to come by, of course. They were one of the first things looted from the convenience stores in the early days of the Panic by people who had since either turned, starved, or frozen. Nye was smart enough to survive short term so that he could survive long term.

Nye savored his cards like a wine connoisseur treated his bottles. They were always arranged in neat stacks hanging in the dispenser that he’d liberated from a Hess gas station. Losing cards were filed by the hundred to “offset the taxes on the big one.” He was on his twenty-sixth stack in the box. That tax deduction would save him $910 one day. He knew he had to be careful: When he’d win, he couldn’t go all crazy like that hick from West Virginia who won the $300 million MegaBall. He’d have a plan.

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