How to Not Get Rich Quickly

When Your Number’s Up! by Patrick Osborne

By Niamh Byrne

This novel written by Patick Osborne is considered a ‘dark comedy’ in which we see a very diverse cast of characters trying to make a living. The story is set in Dublin and has characters everyone has encountered at least once in their lifetime.

Forty-four year old Patrick Bridges has not had it easy. With his mother dying at a very young age and having no other family members he has to fend for himself growing up. Patrick lives alone in a dingy bedsit and is on the brink of being evicted. After losing his job, Patrick puts his hopes of his life turning around and becoming rich on a lotto ticket. After this endeavous becomes unsuccessful, Patrick sells his belongings and goes on the lash. On his way home he bumps into a homeless man, Larry, and the pair get chatting. Larry gives Patrick a ‘Genius’ idea of stealing a lotto machine and playing it for free. Little does Patrick know what this encounter will bring him. 

Janice, a mother of two, is struggling with money to keep her family together. She desperately goes to local gangster Frank for a loan, who warns her he expects full payment of her late husband’s gambling debt. Janice, afraid of the money being stolen in her house because of all the recent burglaries, brings it out with her and her two children to visit their father’s grave. While paying respects at the grave, local tearaway Billy wanders through the cemetery driven with anger after being told his sister and her boyfriend are actually his mother and father. Billy spots Janice’s handbag and thinks ‘jackpot’. He steals the bag from Janice leaving her with a black eye and puffed cheek. Patrick spots the burglary from nearby but despite his best efforts cannot retrieve the bag. With a devastated Janice contemplating what just happened, Patrick awkwardly tries to make her feel better and gives her the only money he has, a tenner, to help her out.

Following up Larry’s genius idea, Patrick cooks up a plan to ‘borrow’ the lottery machine from his local shop. Mick, the shopkeeper, oblivious to Patrick’s plan, has his face stuck in a fridge when Patrick picks up a can of beans from the shelf and is about to knock him out so he could unveil his plan. Patrick soon realises this is not right and drops the can, walking out of the store. He re-enters the store to find Mick on the floor unconscious after slipping on the can Patrick dropped. Panicking and acting on instinct, Patrick closes the store and kidnaps Mick in an attempt to go ahead with his plan. 

Tina and Janice, who are employees of Mick, soon realise something’s not quite right. With the staff, local gangsters and Mick’s ex-girlfriend getting involved, Patrick’s genius idea of becoming rich now turns into a task of staying alive. 

When your number’s up is a very funny, relatable and at times a heart warming story for anyone looking for a very easy read. 

The book is available on Amazon/Goodreads and other online stores.