1. We’re all in this together

2. I saw it before me and I demanded answers

3. Well, you think you’re so clever


Thelma Paddleford looked around the room and announced, “I just saw it before me and demanded answers.” I could tell from the expressions of the other three ladies that I wasn’t the only one who was offended. Thelma’s smirk was insufferable.

“Well, you think you’re so clever,” I growled at her. “We’re all in this together, you know, and you had no business going ahead without us.” Now, normally I’m not that abrasive, but Thelma gets on your nerves at the best of times, and this time she’d gone too far.

Mary Alice was nodding with more than her usual enthusiasm. “I was the one who thought up the whole thing. What made you think you could take charge?” The angrier she got, the faster her head bobbed.

Beside her the twins, Kate and Rebecca Elizabeth, whispered soothing sounds and patted her arm.

“Now, Mary Alice, it’s gonna be okay,” Kate said. She didn’t look as if she really believed it though. Her sister was a bit more forthright.

“Thelma hasn’t got a chance of keeping it all to herself. We’ll all see to that.” Knowing Rebecca Elizabeth as we did, no one in the small room doubted her, including Thelma, who turned a shade more pale. She patted her blue hair and started to explain.

“I just thought I’d make it easy on all of you,” she said. “After all, I’m the one holding the original ticket. None of you could claim the prize with only your photocopies anyway.”

“Besides,” I interrupted, “we all have signed copies of the agreement. One for all and all for one. Ten bucks each in the pot and equal shares if we won.”

We all looked expectantly at the oldest lady there as she upended her purse and money, lots of money, fell out onto the table. Thelma smiled.

“Good Lord, Thel, how much did we win?” Mary Alice had never been one to pay attention too closely to details. “I figured we had a ticket with a ten dollar winner and one for about sixty. Did I count wrong?”

We’d all checked the pages, looking for winning combinations. I knew we’d end up with more than Mary Alice estimated, but I hadn’t figured on