This is the story of how Tibert, the Cajun, won the lottery.
Tibert was himself at the store buying stuff, and he handed a five dollar bill that was in his wallet to the cashier person who asked him, "Do you want a lottery ticket?"
And Tibert, who had never bought a lottery ticket before, said, "Non."
And the cashier said, "Look, I have this extra lottery ticket that I printed by mistake, yeah, and it might just be the lucky lucky ticket, so why don't you buy it?"
And Tibert asked, "How much is it?"
And the cashier person, he replied, "Two dollars."
And Tibert thought a bit, and then said, "Okay."
So Tibert left the quick stop with his grocery things and his lottery ticket and went on home to his little cabin on the side of the bayou. He ate a little supper, untangled his fishing lines, then went to bed.
The next morning, he got himself up and went to the Later Gator cafe for some coffee, and while there he saw a newspaper with the previous last night's winning lottery numbers printed right there on the front most page. So he got out his lottery ticket he had bought and started checking the numbers.
The first number, it matched what the newspaper said. Tibert nodded. The second number, it also too matched what the newspaper said. Tibert now had a big smile. The third number, it matched again what the newspaper said. Tibert started grinning. This was getting serious, for sure.
He checked the fourth number... and now you're talking good time on the bayou tonight, it matched again. Tibert was unbelievably incredulous. He looked up and asked the waitress lady what the lottery prize was for matching four numbers and she said, "I think it's something like $40,000."
Well, Tibert looked at his ticket and said, "I think I just won myself $40,000!"
"What you say Tibert?" asked his friends at the table where he was drinking coffee, not sure what they had heard.
He waved the ticket around in the air, "I got me right here a $40,000 winning lottery ticket."
"Let us see!" his friends all said, but Tibert pulled the ticket back to his chest. Then he folded it in half and slipped it into his shirt pocket.
"No, I think I'll just keep it right here. I got me some thinking to do," he grinned.
"$40,000!" his friends shouted. "Man alive! You one lucky Cajun, yeah. What you gonna do with $40,000, Tibert?"
He smiled a big old smile. "I could buy some more traps, pay off my gas bill at Hebert's Service Station, then....good God almighty, I don't know what after that."
But his friends, they had some ideas for him, for sure. "How bout putting on a big Cajun country party for all your friends and their hundred or so closest family relatives?"
"How about taking one of those 'all expense paid' luxury vacation trips to the fabulous and beautiful Hotel Bentley up in Alexandria," another friend said.
Tibert thought about that for a moment. "That's a might far from home."
Another one of his coffee buddies told him, "My brother sells pick-em-up trucks in Lafayette. "You could get yourself one of those brand new super cab trucks with the fancy interior, a dashboard that looks like it came out of a spaceship, all those buttons and switches and flashy lights, a rear-view back in the back camera, and one of those automatic powered tailgates that closes itself with a push of a button."
The group nodded all in agreeement.
"Heck no, I myself don't think so," Tibert said. "What kind of back bayou Cajun wants a truck that has itself a tailgate that closes itself? Heck, that's what you buy a pick up truck for, to slam the tail gate shut."
The group nodded in agreement again.
Another one in the group said," Hey Tibert, you ought to go down to the bank and put that ticket into one of those safety lock em up boxes, just to keep it safe."
Tibert patted the ticket in his pocket. "It's okay safe right here, I guarantee."
"No, you think about it, Tibert. You need to squirrel it away somewhere for safekeeping, until you get a chance to go to Baton Rouge to cash it in."
"What do you mean, I have to go to Baton Rouge to cash it in?"
"Why sure, you have to bring it to them, and they cut you a check right on the spot. $40,000 right there in your hand."
Hmmm. "I wasn't planning to go to Baton Rouge this month, or even this year, " Tibert said. "You sure they don't come to you? I just really don't like going to the big city much at all...."
"Well if you ain't going to go to Baton Rouge to cash it in, then you better give it to me, for safe keeping. I'd be glad to take it to Baton Rouge to cash it in for you." What a kind offer from someone he barely knew, Tibert thought.
Tibert frowned. It looked like this was going to get some complicated, yeah.
"That's for sure you should be careful, Tibert," someone else said." Except you should give it to me to keep it for you until you decide you can go to Baton Rouge. "
"That's okay, my good friends. I'm just going to take it myself home and try to think about it and come up with a plan just what I should be a 'doing with this..."
Tibert went outside, got in his truck and went on back home. Several of his friends started trying to figure out how to get that ticket out of his hands so they could do some "safekeeping" of it for him.
When Tibert got back to his cabin, it wasn't long at all when his phone started ringing.
"Yellow Mr. Tibert, this is Homer Snapbean, and when I heard you had won $40,000 in the lottery, I just had to call you and tell you about this brand new investment program I have to offer that could make you some serious money out of that money you won."
"Mr. Beansnap," Tibert said. "$40,000 is already some serious money, and thanks for calling. "
As soon as he hung up, the phone rang again. This time, when he answered it, it was his cousin Clouberry. "Hey, cousin, I heard me an amazing thing a few minutes ago. Someone told me that you had gone off and won $40,000 in the lottery!"
Before Tibert had a chance to say yes or no or anything at all, his cousin Clouberry went on. "That's right terrific news, Tibert. And I just so happen to need $39,000 to pay my wife's mother's dentist bill. I know you can help me out, so you can just make the check out to me."
Tibert hung up the phone again. He got himself a beer, sat on the little dock off the porch of his little cabin and drank it down. When finished with that one, he had another, and pretty soon, he went inside and laid himself down.
He woke up about two hours later, and all of a sudden he heard a pick-em-up truck pull into his front yard. He went to the door and opened it just in time to see a beautiful young woman person climbing down out of this big truck. She was wearing the shortest little dress.
She walked up to Tibert who was just standing there. "I'm looking for Tibert," she said.
"I'm Tibert," he told her.
"Well, hello, Mr. Tibert, I'm Sherlene, but you can me sweet Sherrie. I heard that you won some money in the lottery last night, so I wanted to come here personal like and invite you to go with me and some friends to Thibodeaux in a couple of days for a big party, after you cash in the ticket, of course."
Then she reached out and with her finger, stroked his earlobe right on the side of his head.
There are two kinds of men in the world. The first type of man, when a good-looking woman reaches out and strokes his earlobe, will start to melt inside and get all wobbly and start grinning.
And then there's the other type of man, the type of man that Tibert was, the kind that, when a good-looking woman he just met strokes his earlobe, a small voice inside of his head says: "RUN FOR YOUR LIFE."
But Tibert was a gentleman, and he very slowly and calmly said to her, "Pardon me, Miss, but I have to run."
Then, suddenly, he bolted off and started running down along side the bayou, as fast as his two little legs would take him. He ran and ran and then ran some more. About a mile or so down the side of the bayou he started slowing down, then he stopped and hunched over, catching his breath. He turned slowly around and looked back towards his house and breathed a sign of relief. The young lady was no where to be seen.
Back at his cabin, sweet young Sherree stared at the cloud of dust left by Tibert and shrugged. "Well, I guess I best be getting outta here," she said. Then she climbed back up into her big old pickup truck and took off down the highway.
About an hour later, Tibert got back at his cabin, and he started looking at that lottery ticket again, wondering just what the heck he was going to do. All of a sudden, this big old fancy car pulled into his front yard, followed by a beat up old pick up truck. A bunch of his bayou friends and guys from the Later Gator cafe jumped out of the pick up truck, and some fancy-looking dude in a business suit got out of the big fancy car.
"Mr. Tibert?" the guy in the suit said, stepping up to Tibert standing on his porch.
"That's me you got," Tibert answered him. "What can I do for you?"
"Well, I'm Bennie Clemmings and I work with the Louisiana Lottery Office in Baton Rouge. I was just passing through town when I heard that you had one of those $40,000 lottery tickets. Thought I would come out here myself and check it out."
Tibert thought for a minute. "You were just passing through? Just where were you going to be passing through our town? There ain't anywhere a person would be heading for that they have to pass through that town."
Now that reminds me of the old back bayou story of when a parachute guy was flying over the swamp. He jumps out of his perfectly good airplane with this parachute thing on, and whap, it opens up and he starts floating down, slowly, slowly, drifting to one side a little, then drifting to another side, then oh oh, he gets tangled up in one of those tall cypress trees.
There he is, hanging there, his parachute caught on the tree top, and he's dangling with all those stringy things. He says "Hep! Hep me. Hellow, I need hep."
Well, after an hour or so, he manages to work himself out of that parachute and drops 15, 20 feet straight down into the middle of a bunch of alligators. Yep. That's the story, and every bit of that story is true, except the part about the parachute guy and the alligators.
But I digress.
That's an old word that means I'm kinda off the main track of the story. That word came from a guy named Pierre De Gress, because he sorta had the same aforementioned problem. Dammit, I digressed again.
Anyway, the big fancy car lottery man in the suit told Tibert, "Well, actually, my brother lives up in town, and he called me in Baton Rouge and told me about you matching the four numbers and winning the $40,000, but you didn't like coming to the big city, so I thought, well, heck, I'll just get in my car and drive on down there. I get to visit my brother and help you out with your little problem at the same time." The man in the suit smiled big, and Tibert looked at him.
One of the cafe guys standing off to the side piped up. "Yep, that's my brother. He works with the lottery, and I called him like he said."
Tibert felt a little better about the whole situation after that.
The lottery guy then told Tibert," just let me take a look at the ticket, check the numbers and verify its a winning ticket, and then my office can cut you a check and mail it out to you. "
Tibert liked that idea, yeah.
"All I have to do is take a picture of it with my cellphone, send it by text message into my office, they can scan the picture and verify it's the real ticket."
Tibert looked at him. "Have you checked the cell phone signal out here, my friend?"
The guy looked at his phone, laughed, and said, "First time I've ever seen MINUS two bars."
Tibert shrugged and finally reached in his shirt pocket, took out the ticket, carefully unfolded it, and handed it to the guy in the suit. The lottery guy looked at it real close.
Yep, the first number matches, he said. Yep, the second number matches, too, he said.
"And the third number and the fourth number are right smack dab on the money, too," the guy in the suit smiled. "It's a real winner, Mr. Tibert, you really have won forty thousand dol.... wait a minute. Wait a minute, the FIFTH number matches, too, and Oh, wow! The sixth number matches, too!"
Tibert shrugged. "I guess I stopped looking at the rest of the numbers when I found out that the first four numbers meant I won $40,000."
"But you, but now, but with six numbers that means you won the grand prize jackpot, Mr. Tibert. You have won four hundred million dollars."
There was a slight pause, only broken by the collective group GASP given out by the eight or so cafe coffee buddies who were standing there near the porch. Tibert blinked. Then he slowly took the lottery ticket from the dazed lottery guy's hands.
Tibert held the ticket in both hands and with a rip, rip, rippity rip, he tore the lottery ticket into a hundred little tiny pieces, much to the amazement of the lottery guy and the dozen cafe buddies.
"Why...what for why did you do that?" the lottery guy blurted out.
"Well, I could just barely stand all the aggravation when it was just $40,000," Tibert explained. "But if I've got to put up with 400 million dollars worth of aggravation..." He shook his head and walked over to the side of his porch, climbed down into his pirogue and paddled off down the bayou.
Click here for another Tibert story: Tibert's Flying Pirogue