One time me, Chubby, and Juggy Jones won ten thousand dollar radio bingo. I was just going to go to Northern and buy a bag of potatoes with our last ten bucks when we heard on the radio about the bingo. Juggy told me go get one Jackpot card instead. My stomach said boiled potatoes for supper but I bought the card anyway.
When I come back, Juggy was cutting out little squares of paper and making a black frame around each one with a felt marker. Juggy did federal time and I knew he was up to something. I said “what your doing?” “Making sure we eat” Juggy replied. “How?” I asked, “Just watch” he said.
We listened in to the bingo waiting for the jackpot game. My cousin won letter X. I phoned her right away to borrow twenty bucks but she already took her phone off the hook. A little while later, the jackpot game came on. Juggy had a pile of little squares beside our card.
As the caller called the numbers, Juggy would write the number on the piece of paper and glue it on the card. Juggy must have done some forging in his time cause I couldn’t tell the real numbers from the fake ones. I tried to stop him but Juggy said if he goes back to jail, he’s taking us with him. “What you mean?” I asked him. “You guys are in on this too you know.” he said. “What?” We didn’t even do nothing. Juggy was not from around here, he’s some kinda Indian from down south. He could be really friendly but he had a real danger about him too. I never been to jail but I sure didn’t want to find out about it. I already know how to carve anyway.
When he bingoed, Juggy called in the bingo and they told us to come pick up our cash. He told them Chubby was going to pick up the cash. Chubby didn’t want to go and I didn’t blame him. Juggy started getting real mad and swearing around. He’s got about sixty home-made tattoos all over him and he could look real mean when he wants to. He said we’re in too deep now and the best we can hope for a is a deuce less for forgery. Chubby looked at me. “It means we go to jail for two years.” Chubby started crying. I told Chubby I’ll go with him to pick up the money.
We were standing in line with my auntie to pick up our money. She told Chubby, what’s wrong, you look worried. He didn’t say anything. I had butterflies in my guts too. Everybody was congratulating us and asking us what we’re going to spend it on. Of course my auntie had to rub it in by reminding me about that time I borrowed her husband’s scow to bring that German film crew out and never paid them for the boat.
My hands started to shake when Ida handed me two handfuls of hundreds and fifties. Chubby started to whimper like a little pup. Then he blurted out. “Juggy made us cheat.” “What?” Ida said. Eunice, the big cheese at bingos, and just as dangerous as Juggy, said “What the hell you’re talking about?” “Juggy made us cheat” Chubby said between blubbers. She just snatched that money and told Ida to call the cops.
All three of us were sitting in the police station with handcuffs on. They brought me and Chubby in and we testified on tape and were let go. As we passed by Juggy, he made a slicing motion across his throat. I’m not too worried cause he’s not getting out till 2015. The cops bought us cheeseburgers and cokes for being honest. I like having money like anybody else but I’m honest too. Especially with Chubby around. One time me and Chubby…ah, I’ll tell you later.