Several people were eating by their desks, chairs turned inwards to form a loose circle, burrito wrappers and tortilla trays spread on the floor. Joao and Deedee strolled over.
“Who wants to be a billionaire,” Joao said in a sing-song voice.
“What you got now,” Changwith asked, trying to talk through a full mouth.
“Powerball! The jackpot’s two and a half bill. Maybe even three now.” Joao handed Lindsay his phone matter of factly, with the lottery app open.
Her eyes widened. On the app, the jackpot ticker was rising rapidly. The default increase was $10, but sometimes it would jump $40, and sometimes $100. “How much is a ticket?” She asked.
“Five bucks,” Deedee said.
“Let me see.” Changwith playfully yanked the phone from Lindsay’s hand and squinted at the number. “H-E-double hockey sticks. I’m in. How much?” He pulled out his wallet.
“Nice!” Joao fist bumped him.
“Fine,” Lindsay shrugged. “If we won, I’d quit in a heartbeat. I feel like everyone would leave.” She looked around, fearful that someone was listening.
“How about like 20 bucks each?” Joao said.
“Works for me,” Changwith said.
“Cash only ok. No PayPal or Venmo or bitcoin or whatever else you wanna try to pay with. Cold hard cash only.”
Deedee walked to the printer and grabbed a sheet of paper. “Give the cash to Joao or me, and we’ll write your name down here. Then you can sign it.”
Changwith took the sheet from Deedee and signed his name with a flourish. He froze as he handed the page back to her.
Donald had walked up. “Hey team! What’re you up to?” He put his hands on Deedee’s shoulders and squeezed. He looked at the sheet of paper.
“Oh, we’re, uh, we uh, playing a game,” Joao said.
“Nice!” Donald looked at each of them in turn.
“The lottery,” Changwith blurted out. “It’s three billion.”
“Three. Billion?” He mouthed the bee sound again, slowly. Then he peered over Deedee’s shoulder at the sheet of paper.
No one spoke.
“We’re doing an office pool,” she finally said, moving away from him as she spoke.
“I love that! So Changwith is the first in? My man!” Donald pulled out his wallet and began rifling through it. “You know what? I’ve got a better idea. Why don’t I just buy tickets for the whole office?” He looked at them expectantly.
“Does that complicate things?” Changwith asked.
“We already started,” Deedee added.
But Donald didn’t hear them. “Is $200 good? How many tickets does that get us? Give me a sec. Don’t move.” He trotted to his office and returned with a wad of bills in his hand, licking his fingers as he counted the bills. “Two, four, six…nine, ten. Ten. There we go!” He tossed the $20 bills onto the closest desk – Lindsay’s – with a flourish.
She stared at the money. “Ok, so is this for everyone then?” Lindsay looked around, nonplussed.
“How many tickets does that get us? Is it enough?” Donald checked his watch. “I gotta run. Came back for my laser pointer, actually. Deedee, help me with something?” He turned and walked toward his office, not waiting for her to follow.