Authors: Tim Kizer
WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU
Also by Tim Kizer:
Days of Vengeance
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2013 Tim Kizer
After winning a four-hundred-million
dollar jackpot with the numbers he received from the future, Ted Duplass is as
happy as can be. The fun stops when Ted learns that he's going to be murdered
by the end of the year. Fortunately, he knows the name of the killer.
I despise the Lottery. There's less
chance of you becoming a millionaire than there is of getting hit on the head
by a passing asteroid.
“We’re in this together, guys. You have to remember
that.” Ted gave his sons, who were sitting on the couch in front of him, a
solemn look. “We’re a team. We have to be the best team there ever was. We need
to keep our eyes on the prize.” Ted paused. “And it’s a fucking big prize.” He
smiled, and then his sons began to laugh.
It was May 6th, 2013. They were over four months into
the year in which Ted hoped to become a multimillionaire.
“Did you get it?” Ted asked, staring at his youngest
“Yes, I did.”
Joe had been able to legally get a tattoo since last
Tuesday, when he had turned eighteen. Ted was no procrastinator, so this
morning he had handed his youngest son three twenty-dollar bills and instructed
him to visit an ink shop by the end of the day.
“Let me see.”
Joe rose from the couch, pulled down the left side of
his underpants waistband, and showed Ted the tattoo he had gotten at a parlor
in downtown Long Beach an hour ago. The tattoo read ‘[email protected].’ It was
email address. Placing this piece of information on the
crotch, just outside the pubic area, was a strategic decision. In addition to
being well-hidden, that spot had a very high chance of remaining attached to
the body until the end. There hadn’t been many people who’d lost their lower
trunks, you know. Pete, who was twenty two, and Mike, who was twenty, had
gotten their own [email protected] tattoos on the same day two years ago.
Ted didn’t mind getting an occasional email from one of
his sons’ girlfriends—or whomever was going to see his boys buck naked. So far
there had been no emails at all, though.
“Looks good.” Ted nodded approvingly. “Thank you,
Why had he chosen this login name, ‘Ted2013’? Very
simple: it was short and it contained his name and the year in which he
preferred to be contacted. A longer login would have increased the risk of
typos, which would have undermined his whole plan.
His brilliant plan.
You see, Ted Duplass had a dream: he wanted to win a
lottery. A big fat nine-figure jackpot. Well, most people would love that,
wouldn’t they? But unlike other people, Ted had a plan.
The plan, which Ted thought to be almost sure-fire, was
based on a simple, elegant idea. You see, he had faith in human ingenuity. He
believed that one day scientists would invent a time machine. They just had to;
there were no limits to technological progress. It might take a hundred, or
five hundred, or a thousand years, but sooner or later the time machine was
going to be built. Ted’s plan was to get one of his descendants to either
travel back in time and give him winning lottery numbers, or simply send him
those numbers by means of the time machine. Simple and elegant.
Ted realized that time travel was a far-out concept,
which bordered on miracle. The scientists might never be able to send a human
being back to the past, but they might find a way to transmit information, and
that was where his
email address came into play.
The hardest part, in Ted’s opinion, was to make the
descendant remember that among his ancestors there was a guy named Ted Duplass
and that Ted Duplass needed a winning lottery combination. He wouldn’t mind to
receive the numbers from a total stranger, but, in the end, the only people you
could really count on were your family. It was a hard part, all right. How do
you pass your message down through dozens and dozens of generations? Taking
into account that Ted was not a human marvel like Isaac Newton or Confucius,
whose words had lived on—and would continue to live on—for centuries, his best
bet was his three sons and his future grandkids.
Ted didn’t worry about the next thirty-forty years—or
however long he had left to live. And he was pretty confident that his sons
wouldn’t let him down, which should cover the twenty-thirty years after his
death. He was hopeful about his grandchildren, considering that he would most
likely have a chance to personally communicate his instructions to them. All in
all, he could rest more or less assured that his message would survive for the
next eighty-ninety years. Beyond that point, this venture was out of his hands
All in all, Ted was very optimistic about his plan. One
didn’t have to be particularly smart to remember that Great-Grandpa Ted Duplass
needed winning lottery numbers.
“You’re doing for yourselves,” Ted would say to his
sons. “Whatever I win is going to be your inheritance. Keep telling that to
your kids; it’s their inheritance, too. And they should tell that to their
However, Ted realized that human memory was imperfect.
People forget important things all the time. How many of us remember our
great-great-grandparents’ names? How many recall their dreams and aspirations?
His plan addressed this issue. One effective way to
ensure that his descendants would remember and carry out his instructions was
to overwhelm them with his mantra, bombard them with it day in and day out.
Ted’s mission was to become a legendary kooky ancestor of yore who couldn’t
stop talking about lottery numbers from the future.
Yes, overkill was the key here. Tattooing his email
address on his kids’ bodies was just one rung in the ladder. Ted had even
considered creating a cult or a religion; they still remembered what Buddha had
said twenty five centuries ago, didn’t they? However, he had abandoned this
idea since it was a long shot and required too much effort and resources.
Besides, he didn’t want to let total strangers in on his plan.
Ted was also planning to buy a time capsule. Yes, he
realized that the capsule was far from being a sure thing: in five hundred
years its location would probably be forgotten or it would be buried under a
shopping mall or a highway. However, he had nothing to lose by trying, so why
not? The capsule wasn’t particularly cheap—it would set Ted back eight hundred
bucks—but you have to spend money to make money, don’t you? He was not going to
tell his wife, Nora, about the capsule: she would kick him in the nuts if she
found out he had spent that kind of cash on some useless can.
Ted told his sons to engrave ‘[email protected]’ on his
tombstone. It was an excellent way to keep this email remembered since
tombstones could easily last—and remain legible—for four-five hundred years. He
had also put the engraving request in his will in case these three pinheads
forgot about it. He was thinking of purchasing a gravestone and putting the
email on it
, but then decided to wait a few years. If Ted had an
extra fifty thousand bucks, he would unhesitatingly go for a private
mausoleum—these things had enough wall space to write the entire story of his
Another thing that Ted kept telling his sons about was
personal safety. He needed his bloodline to last for centuries, which meant
that his sons and their children and their children’s children had to do their
best to stay alive as long as possible.
“Avoid riding together in one car or flying on one
plane,” he would say to his boys. “Stay away from bungee jumping and skydiving;
those things are for idiots who got tired of being alive. Don’t use drugs, try
not to smoke, and don’t become alcoholics. You only get one chance to live,
guys. One fucking chance.”
What were the odds that all three of his sons would die
before he did? Ted believed they were pretty low, especially after the guys had
heard those self-preservation lectures of his a hundred times.
Would they still have the lottery five hundred years
from now? Would they still use email? Would they even remember what lottery and
They’d have to search the archives, he supposed.
By the way, we still know what pigeon
mail is, don’t we?
Hopefully, there would be at least one shrewd guy—or
gal—among his great-great-great-grandkids.
Ted figured that the time machine would be kept in
secret and only a handful of people would have access to it. For his plan to
succeed, his progeny would have to either work at the time machine facility or
have enough money to bribe someone who worked there. He was willing to bet that
bribery would still exist in the year 2500 and even 3000.
One could say it was a tenuous plan. Ted didn’t deny
that he was facing some serious challenges. It required determination—lots and
lots of it—to overcome them. And he was definitely going to need a boatload of
Ted’s idea had received a mixed reaction when he had
presented it to his family three years ago. His sons thought it was cool. Like
all teenage boys, they loved the prospect of becoming millionaires without
having to work too hard.
“It will be our conspiracy against the world,” Pete
said to him.
His wife believed he was nuts. And his parents agreed
with her. In fact, his dad had gone to the trouble of explicitly calling Ted’s
lottery idea the most idiotic thing he’d ever encountered in his life.
“Why don’t you just get a better job?” his dad said.
“Or invent something? Why are you looking for shortcuts? You’re gonna have to
bust your ass like the rest of us, there ain’t no way around it.”
Ted wouldn’t be surprised if everyone who heard of his
plan believed that he had lost a few of his marbles. And he was fine with that.
People’s ridicule didn’t bother him at all. Actually, it played into his hand:
if no one took his idea seriously, no one would try it and he would have no
competition, which was always a good thing.
As for dad’s lecture, Ted appreciated honest hard work,
but realized its limitations. The reality was that few people had become
multimillionaires working for the man. And inventing the next Snuggie or
ShamWow was not as easy as it might seem.
It was his dad’s rejection of his idea that Ted was
thinking about when he sat down before his laptop and opened the
email inbox at half past one in the
afternoon on June 10
, 2013. He still didn’t understand why his old
man couldn’t admit that this plan was at least
“Our conspiracy against the world,” Ted muttered,
staring at the laptop screen.
He had expected to see an empty inbox. This bitch had
been empty these entire three years! When Ted’s brain processed what he was
seeing, he froze.
There was a message in the inbox. Its subject read:
‘Lottery numbers for Ted Duplass.’
The text of the email was simple: ‘5, 16, 30, 33, 42.
Mega #22. Megamillions.’ It was signed ‘Nick.’
Interestingly, the ‘From’ field of the message was
His heart quivering, Ted moved the laptop closer and
reread the message several more times. He was looking at the numbers with
extreme intensity, barely blinking, as if trying to burn holes in the screen.
His face was hot, beads of sweat stood out on his forehead.
Was this it? Did his plan work? Did Lady Luck finally
smile on him?
5, 16, 30, 33, 42. Mega number 22. These were obviously
for Mega Millions lottery.
Thank you, Nick. God Bless you,