The Ticket

The Ticket

A Story by K. Mascis

A story I wrote while waiting in the DMV.


The bathroom was white. Not is white, was white. The tiles had taken on an array of yellows, some so dark they were a golden brown. The walls smudged grey into the paint that seemed four different shades under the flickering fluorescent light. The toilet sat alone in the corner. The sink bolted into the wall to the toilet’s right. The mirror reflected the plainness of the room back into itself, duplicating every forgettable detail in another world. The ceiling looked like choral, brittle and jagged, tempting his hand to reach out and grind a piece of it into dust. It was the kind of material you wanted to feel, to touch lifeless and manufactured. He noticed a small dark red boil on his thigh. It itched like hell. He took a s**t, didn’t bother wiping, looked himself over in the mirror, and left.

            He sat down on a wooden bench, uncomfortably designed to force proper posture. All around him were people, some holding magazines, books, children. Most of them had a ticket on them. His was A187. They had just called A176. He sat by himself.

            He fiddled in his coat for his cigarettes. Loose tobacco littered the insides of his pocket. He considered smoking in the rain; it had been coming down in buckets, now it was no more than a furried mist. He didn’t want to miss his spot in line, he thought. He considered once more how nice it would be to feel the rush into his lungs, to feel the burn of calm wash over him. Better not to get wet, he thought.

            “A183, Window Number 6”

            He fingered the ticket in his pocket. To his left, some kid started crying. He wasn’t balling, he was too old for that, but he was making a scene. He joined the rest of the room in pretending not to notice. The Kid was raising his voice in protest to something his mother had said, her posture now rigid with anger at the pending tantrum of her son. The kid was becoming louder in his arguments with his mother, a light quiver of his voice and slight glaze of his eyes gave him away. He debated whether or not to feel bad for the kid, he was pretty young, no older than 16. Then again, by 16 you should know better than to cause a scene in a public place.

            A186, Window Number 4

He was next. He noticed the woman shifting in her seat the bench over from his. She was concentrating on avoiding contact with anyone, including him. She was attractive, had been more attractive in her younger days, but still had to put up with the stares and judgments of strangers. You could tell she had had experience; her body language was fierce, aggressive. Unapproachable.

A187 Window Number 6

He thumbed his ticket stub in his pocket. Casually, unnoticed, he made his way across the room. He approached the assigned window and came face to face with a thoroughly disinterested woman in her mid to late 30’s. Her long fingernails tapped on the keyboard in front of her like high heels making their across the keys. Her eyes could have been neon for all he knew, she never even bother to look up from the screen.

You understand you have been chosen at random?


You understand that you, of no fault of your own, must comply with the wishes of the state and of it’s people?


You understand that what you are doing is of the greatest good to the community as a whole, and that further financial compensation will be supplied to those of your choosing, given they pass approval?


Please stand on the platform.

It looked to be little more than a single shower stall, a plastic box with no fourth wall. It was dirty, mired in thin grey dust. He had never thought of it, but he had always assumed that they were cleaned after each use.

Behind the window, the fingers clicked across the keyboard. He lit a smoke.

Your community and your country thanks you.

There was a distant hum building in the box, faint but powerful. He could feel it reverberating in the ever-growing pit of his stomach. He attempted to swallow the lump in his throat and, when that failed, he drew another breathe of smoke. To his embarrassment, his eyes began to water.

The hum became overpowering.

He sighed slightly, attempting to regain some composer. He straightened himself out, glared at the passionately disinterested window, and waited. The hum reached it’s climax.

A quick flash of light notified the stewardess in the window of the machine’s completed task. She typed a simple command, took a sip of her soda, and then pressed enter.

A192 Window Number 6

© 2010 K. Mascis

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F*****g great story. I love it

Posted 10 Years Ago

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Added on April 18, 2010
Last Updated on April 18, 2010


K. Mascis
K. Mascis

New London, CT

Hey Internet, So, like most of you on this site, I like to write and have been doing it almost exclusively for myself for years now. It still scares the hell out of me to share my stuff with other .. more..

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