Something for Nothing
Jake is the main character. He’s a good family man and he takes an interest in his mother and lets her spend time talking to her son. Jake lives a regular life with his wife and his daughter.
The mother is an elderly lady. Widowed years ago, who maintaines her intellect and brain power by an active social life with friends and by reading, especially the new yourk times, which is a massive publication 100 of pages long. The mother comes out as a positive character
We know nothing about Jakes wife or child because we never meet them in this short story.
Jake gets himself tested by this recent phone scam in New York, where the crooks con gullible people into a money chase, which normally ends with them losing a 100 US dollars. Jake is naiv enough to fall for the ploy and sets out by buss halfway across New York in his chase for easy money. In this respect, Jake is probably like many other people who can’t resist that temptation of making money by gambling on an easy bet.
The theme is something for nothing. In this context it applies to winning the jackpot with a small stake. Most people fancy themselves in that winner position. That’s why so many of us take part in all kinds of lottery and gambles which after all are legal. The scam Jake takes part in is clearly illegal. He may not break the law, but the crooks who set up the scam are lawbreakers. Otherwise they would play with open cards. The fact that they tried to cheat Jake, in a way justifies Jakes counterploy.
The great thing about this short story is that we expect Jake to win, which he should do under normal circumstances having escaped the claws of the conmen. The thing which makes this a good short story is it’s most unexpected ending where the winner Jake turns out to be the loser, because he destroyes his prize. The conmen who were about to become losers, are very close to regaining their loss....