A cool breeze flutter over the flower bed near the park bench. Tulips waved their pink and purple cups while the fragrance of brilliant star-like yellow daffodils drifted over laughing children while moms tittered and gossiped in the new warmth of Spring.
Edward bore the name of his father, grandfather and great grandfather. It seemed austere and aristocratic to be called Edward the Fourth, but ruling from a park bench with pigeons and squirrels as his subjects didn’t fit the image. The tattered, disheveled nature of his clothes didn’t come up to the standard of royalty either. His castle was a park on 125th where he slept on a bench and carried his belongings in his military issued rucksack. There were frays and holes worn through in places, but it held more than his clothes and gear. It contained every step of his journey that led to the place he is each day. Each new sunrise added another step and life moved forward. Some days were ladened with stress and difficulty. Others were filled with joy and a sense of blessed peace.
He enjoyed his lunch, a discarded, half eaten box of Moo Goo from The China Sea, while he watched park goers, and animals revel in life revived by more sun and more color. He enjoyed the gentle tunes as they danced along the air from a radio played by sweethearts reclined on the grass having an early picnic.
He jumped to his feet as a soccer ball sailed toward him along the greenway and three boys hustled after it, careening out of control as they neared their goal. Tangled in feet and ball, elbows jabbing and shoulders thrown, one boy tumbled directly in front of Edward. As he picked himself up, Edward, delighted at the scrum, grinned.
“Easy tiger! Look; the ball’s loose again. Go get it!”
The boy, wary of the disheveled homeless man looked over his shoulder with a cautious smile as he walked away. In mid-chew, the grin dissolved from Edwards face and his chin dropped. Again he realized his appearance was cause for people to be cautious and suspicious.
When his eyes focused, he noticed a bit of red and white paper sticking out from under the trash can next to his bench. Picking it up, he brushed the dirt off the Power Ball Lottery ticket. He shook his head amazed and thought,
“Whoever bought the ticket only chose one set of numbers. With a half billion jackpot why would they take a chance on one set? Must have been superstitious. 05 18 25 54 58 20.”
The radio broke away from music for the news and an excited newscaster began the news with an enthusiastic delivery and spoke of the Lotto drawing the night before.
“There is as winning ticket in the metro area. So far no one has come forward. The convenience store where the ticket was sold told News Source AM the winning ticket was a single series of numbers. Those of you out there who haven’t checked your tickets yet get ‘em ready now!”
His delivery slowed as he pronounced each number.
“The winning numbers are 05, 18, 25, 54, 58 and the powerball was 20.”
Edward’s eyes grew wide and his mouth fell open as he looked at the ticket. He held the winning lottery ticket in his hand.
He carefully slid it into his jacket pocket and zipped it closed. As he reached for his rucksack, a smile slowly broke the veneer of sadness, as he slung the bag over his shoulder and whistled while he began the journey downtown.
Each step carried him closer and he was ready for a new direction. It was a long time coming; time for a change.
It’s my first time with this particular prompt. It’s called Scriptic Prompt Exchange where writers submit a prompt, and the admin assigns your prompt to another writer, and you get a prompt from someone else. This is what I got my first time it.
I gave Jordan this prompt: The words she spoke enlightened him and everything changed.