(DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA) – As the evening rush hour built up around Daytona Beach this evening, countless gas stations and convenience stores across the county were trying to keep up with the unprecedented demand for a chance at history, as an endless stream of customers were trying to obtain two tickets for two separate but huge lottery jackpots: The Powerball and the Megamillions, with a combined grand prize of over $1.5 billion.
At the Sunoco Gas Station at South Nova Road and Bellevue Ave, a sight that could only be described as a “chaotic mob” swarmed in the parking lot, as patrons yelled taunts and charms of good luck.
“Good luck, Johnny, you ain’t never gonna win it!” Yelled someone in the massive crowd, as someone opened the door to exit.
“This is going to be the one, I just know it!” said John Bailey, who said he had purchased a combined total of about $100 in tickets today. “I just keep thinking, one more chance, that’s all I would need to win this. One chance. No more flying on Spirit Airlines. Or at least, I’ll be able to afford a seat and seat-belt on Spirit. I don’t know. Man, this is going to be wild. I’m such a dreamer.”
“All I really need is $1 million to retire,” said Abella Carson, a 36-year-old part-time receptionist from Holly Hill. “Though, I wouldn’t mind $1.5 billion. With that, maybe I could finally rent that studio apartment in San Francisco I’ve always dreamed of. I mean, if I make some sacrifice. Like, not eating, and carpooling. Maybe starting a GoFundMe. I don’t know. Ok, maybe not San Francisco. But definitely somewhere outside of Des Moines for sure.”
While the odds of winning both games are astronomically low (approximately one in 88.4 quadrillion. That’s 15 zeros.), there was certainly no shortage of enthusiasm on the scene outside of the gas station. We spoke with a local college student.
“I mean, $1.5 billion is a lot of money,” said Jordan Houlahan, who studies professional flight technology at the local Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. We asked him what he plans on doing with the money.
“You know, it’s always been a dream of mine to own a private plane. A nice one. Maybe a jet of some sort. But I think all I can really do at this point is put it towards my student loans. Every little bit helps.”
In the recent months, the increasingly large student-debt that our nation’s youth carry has reached epic proportions, at over $1.5 trillion.
“Yeah, I’ve done that math. I actually am about just over 1.3% of that statistic of all the national student debt,” Houlahan said. This comes out to about $19,500,000,000.
We asked how one student could possible amass such debt.
“I mean, I changed majors once. I originally thought I wanted to be an air traffic controller, and so it was only a quarter of that. You know, like a few billion dollars. Not too bad. But then I realized I don’t really have the knack for witty insults, accelerated aging, divorces, and chronic sleep deprivation. So I went into professional piloting, where I can at least never see my family and breathe toxic air, all while traveling in a poorly maintained radioactive tube while being paid less than the bartenders at the local neighborhood strip bar,” he said, with increasing intensity and passion.
“Winning these two lottery jackpots will certainly help, at least with the loan consolidation and stuff like that,” he added.
“I’ll also probably finally be able to date one of those girls in the sectional chart leggings on ATC Memes. Or at least talk to them. Once.”
A large jet aircraft suddenly appeared in the sky during our interview, which prompted Houlahan to jump onto the roof of his 1997 Ford Taurus, shielding his eyes from the low-setting evening sun.
“Holy shit, man. Holy FUCK!” he shouted across the hundreds of gas station patrons waiting to get their ticket to instant wealth, the jet booming in the background.
“DID YOU WIN?!” Shouted a slurred and confused voice buried deep in the crowd, with a distinctive and thick southern accent.
“How are you people not seeing this? That was a 727-200 with original JT8D-1s!” Houlahan shouted.
The plane lifted higher into the darkening sky, with a huge trail of smoke behind it.
Houlahan jumped into his car, started it, and peeled out of the parking lot, heading eastbound down Bellevue Avenue. As he left, he failed to realize he had left his lottery ticket on the roof of his car, and it blew off in the chaos and urgency.
As we attempted to flag him down, a young man wearing a PILOTS DO IT BETTER shirt, pumped his fist in the air as he shoved open the gas station door with a force so strong, it bounced back slightly. “Ayo, Billy, pick up that fucking ticket!” He said, pointing to the ticket Houlahan had dropped. “If I win, I’m buying ANOTHER Gulfstream! Ok, everyone together, SELFIE time, I’m at 100 million followers finally! PILOT LIFE, BAES!!! What hashtag should I use?”
“Brian, calm down, dude. You have your private pilot checkride tomorrow,” one of his friends said to him, nudging him in the chest. “Don’t fucking fail it again.”
“Ok, ok, stop saying that shit.”
He walked over to his V12 Vantage, got in, and peeled away, westbound.
Good luck to all.