A call from an unknown number, could be anything. In his head, Evan thought nothing of it as he slid his finger across his screen to answer the call. Expecting a telemarketer, or some otherwise unsavory caller, he spoke in the driest tone he could muster.
“Hello,” came out as barely more than a bark. He waited a few seconds and nearly found the little red circle to end this encounter when a voice came on the line.
“Hi! Hey, is this Evan Summers?” The voice sounded far too upbeat and real to have been a telemarketer, but who would know his name? Several beats passed before Evan could recover enough to respond.
“Yes, this is Evan, can I ask who’s calling?” He was nervous for no reason, but he didn’t like that someone he didn’t know was calling him by name.
“Good news buddy, you won! Your entry was selected by our third-party people and the Supra is yours!”
With a wave of excitement, nausea, and nervousness, Evan remembered that months ago he had entered to win a contest to win a car—not to mention the thirty thousand dollars cash that came with it. He had long forgotten the t-shirt he had purchased to enter, along with the whole giveaway.
“Listen, all we just wanted to call and let you know but we’ve also sent out an email to the address you listed on your order entry. That should have all the details about flying out here and picking up your prize!”
“Okay, okay awesome! I’ll go check that right now! Thank you, thank you so much,” Evan replied to a chorus of laughter on the other end of the line. He too was laughing out of sheer nerves.
The rest of his day seemed like a blur, he knew he went to class, went to work in between, but he remembered nothing but his phone call. When he finally got back to his apartment, he took out his laptop—he hadn’t looked at his email in class for fear that the call was all in his imagination. Now, he opened it and shakily found his email browser that contained a few unread messages.
The rhythm of Evan’s heartbeat could be shockingly compared to a goldfish that had just found itself outside water as he stared at the small blue dot next to the name of the account he followed on social media; the subject line: WINNER. Inside, details described a time to be flown out to their headquarters, look at his car and drive away in it.
Evan couldn’t believe it was happening. Struck by an awful idea of waking from a very good dream, he immediately confirmed his earliest flyout date and re-read the email ten times over. When he finally received an email in reply to his confirmation, telling him everything was all set, he felt sure that his heart would be finding its way out of his chest soon because of the wonderful impression of a woodpecker it was doing.
After a couple of weekends had passed, it was finally the one that Evan would use to retrieve his dream car and new prize. Having hardly slept the night before, he had no trouble finding himself awake for his 5 a.m. flight. He took only a small carry-on bag and within a few hours, was touching down in Salt Lake City. On the curb outside the front entrance, waiting just for him, was the 1998 Toyota Supra he had longed for upon first sight online. Out of it stepped two men, faces he had seen online hundreds of times.
“Okay man, it’s all yours! All you have to do is take this paper work saying we’re giving it to you, and we’d like a few photos for the website and you’re all set!”
Evan read over the paperwork, smiled like a kid in several photos, and they both simultaneously clapped him on the shoulder and hopped into a waiting SUV. Left alone with his prize, and prize money, Evan felt like all the world was open to him. Truly, there was never a more gratifying feeling than having won something. He sat down in the driver’s seat of the Supra and felt an undeniable sensation of belonging. This was meant to be his.
With nothing but time, Evan decided to explore a little of the city, finding interesting murals to pose his new car in front of, tunnels to drive through that would exhibit the sound of the engine. He found several coffee shops, ice cream stores, and food trucks to drive up to and where he could park conspicuously. At lunch, he found a restaurant that had outside seating where he could sit within a few feet of the car while he enjoyed hot wings and fries.
The drive home took all day, but there wasn’t a single complaint fluttering around in Evan’s head. He had his dream car, thirty thousand dollars cash, and an idea for his own online profile. He figured that he could use the money to start his own sort of giveaway, fueled by bought entries from merchandise, just the way he had won a few weeks before.
With a glistening new dream in his head and a passenger seat full of possibility in the shape of cold, hard cash, Evan drove around aimlessly. He wouldn’t park for hours, but even then, his mind was racing toward the future.