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Movin' On Up

Based on a true story…

I was once a millionaire, actually a multi-millionaire, but I squandered my fortune on the internet. Fourteen years ago, my entire family came up for about 45 minutes and just as quickly as we got it, we lost it. I swear it was something that you see on your favorite sitcom, but we knew all of the years of struggle were behind us and we had made it to Easy Street. It was a hot day in the summer of 2004 when I arrived home from work, took my shoes off and heard a commotion coming through the front door not long after I began to decompress. My cousins Perry and Reggie were moving fast and talking faster. I couldn't really understand what they were saying at first, but I kept seeing the lottery ticket being waved around and then I finally was able to put together what Perry was saying, "We're millionaires!" Then he corrected himself, "Multi-millionaires!" and the spending spree started.

The jackpot was $196 million and after matching up the ticket with the numbers from the drawing the night before, I lost my cool, because it was now apparent that the children of Lillian Sutton were filthy rich! My mom, aunt and uncle were in Atlanta at some sort of religious function, but we had to call them and inform them of the good fortune of our new fortune. I don't remember much of what my mom said, Perry repeated "We're millionaires, no, multi-millionaires!" over and over again, to her responses of "Praise God" and "Hallelujah".

The new houses, new cars (Perry promised to upgrade me out of my Cadillac Brougham), trips around the world were purchased, my sister's college tuition was paid and we didn't have a care in the world. What happened to us next goes down right next to my Uncle Troy falling out of the chair during Thanksgiving dinner as the funniest moment in family history; I was looking at the "golden ticket" in awe when I noticed that it was created that Friday afternoon. Turns out when Reggie went to get his tickets for that evening, the operator included a printout of the numbers from the previous night and Reggie mixed them in with the tickets he purchased the day before.

Have you ever seen Black folks lose $200 million? Talk about losing your freedom papers! We were instantly deflated, we had to call my mom back to tell her that we still had to work our way up, Perry became an Indian giver (he had given all the money in his pocket away), Reggie was just dejected and I drove that Cadillac a few months more…

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