Family Lottery

William Clark took the stairs that led to his LA apartment two at a time. Loose change, random scraps of paper he’d collected throughout the day, and his car key all jangled as he approached the front door.  


One tap of his iPhone, and a soft beep later, and William was inside.  


The small two-bedroom apartment was nice; located in Hollywood, just a whisper away from the Walk of Fame, some would call Will’s place a steal. His rent and general cost of living were well below the money the writer/music producer was collecting from his various gigs. Will was, as the kids call it, ‘paid’. His taxes was that of the yearly salary of most of his peers. And with great cash, came great scammers; businessmen in form fitted suits, made of luxurious threads, had all kinds of opinions about where Will ‘should stash away his cash’. 


“It’s not illegal, but…” 


Will’s father once told him that all ever comes after buts is bullshit. So, Willy would politely thank the suited men and be on his way.  


The city was full of people like this, constantly poking and shouting at Willy, demanding his attention, and demanding that he stretch his hand out and help them. Of course, Willy did help, not the people shouting a demanding, but others, the ones who were actually putting in the work; Willy was happy to offer up an underdog or two, because he knew that they would keep the momentum. The people that were already pumping their legs like crazy; that were already working on their music, their art, their films, the ones that showed up time and time again and tried, failed, and dusted themselves off and got back on that horse, those were the ones, that when they reached out, Willy would gladly reach out as well and meet them half way.  


Dropping the contents of his pockets into a bowl by the door, Will felt himself relax.  


LA was wearing him down, and the stress of it all was beginning to weigh on him.  


“Will! How’s the city of Angels treating you!” Paul, Will’s older brother shouted into the phone. 


This was a tradition that Will and his family had kept up since Will’s move to the city. Every day, without fail, Paul, Will’s sister Megan, and Will’s parents would FaceTime him. Will’s mother and father were usually the first to call, and their timing was scary good. Will would wake up in the morning, and as his feet touched the ground, his phone was going off. Their timing was so on point that Will stopped using an alarm clock. Besides, who needed an alarm clock when two of your favorite people where Face Timing you to recount crazy stories; people being robbed at gun point, loose chickens running around the city, a member of the family cooking up some wild scheme or prank. The Clark family, on both sides, were wild; the older they got, the less outside opinions mattered, and the wilder the shenanigans got. With three aunts and four uncles, all with children, and all within walking distance of Will’s childhood home, the house was always packed. Whether it was Sunday dinner, football or soccer was on, or it was just a nice New York day, the Clark family always had a reason to get together.  


In the beginning, Will would constantly feel himself getting jealous, in his mind, Will and his family were worlds apart and life was passing him by. Often times Will would end phone calls and question his dreams, his goals, and what it was that he was after. 


Once, while on the phone with Paul, Will mentioned wanting to throw in the towel and come home. Paul let Will go on and on about wanting to give up music, come home, and work a ‘regular 9-5′, and once he was done, Paul told him that if he quit, if he actually threw in the towel, no one in their family would speak to him again.  


“The world needs to hear your music Will. I know that sounds cheesy, and is easier said than done, but if you quit, I’ll make sure no one invites you to another family gathering, and I’ll edit you out of every single family photo, including the baby photos.”  


Paul wasn’t joking either. For weeks after that, he would send Will videos of him erasing Will from Christmas cards, birthday parties, even Will’s own graduation photo.  


Will’s family knew how badly he wanted to become an actor, and they wanted to see that vision become reality.  


“Aw, it’s treating me, weather that’s well or unwell, well I’m too tried to even think about that right now.” Will huffed. 


“Hey, at least you’re seeing the fruits of your labor! Sarah loses her mind every time she sees you on screen.” Paul laughed. 


That made Will smile; if there was one thing the Clark family did best, it was supporting the ones they loved. 


Paul, his wife, Will’s parents, and the rest of the family were constantly sending photos of Will in magazines, on TV, in movie trailers, if Will was in it, then they had a photo or a video of it. They even made a channel in the family Discord server called Will sighting.

“Nothing beats a good game of where’s Willy.” Paul laughed. 


There was a pause before Paul let out a sigh before speaking again. 


“Look, in a few years, you’ll have your own studio, and you’ll be able to make the music you want, in the cities you want.” Paul said. 


Will laughed, if they’re being one thing he loved most about his older brother, it was his confidence. Paul spoke of the future like he was recounting a story, like something that already was. And that’s where Will got it from, his drive, his ability to dream big and make it happen, it all came from Paul and the rest of their family. 


“Five years. If in five years I don’t have everything I’ve ever wanted, I’m quitting!” Will said.

He was exhausted, and out of his mind at this point. 


“In five years, you’ll be the name on everyone’s lips, just you wait.” Paul said.  


“Yeah, yeah, I’ll phone you tomorrow and you can tell me all about this glorious future.” Will said sleepily. 


Paul could only laugh before, wishing his brother a goodnight and leaving him to rest. 


As Will got ready for bed, he couldn’t help but smile, he’d defiantly hit the family lottery. 

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