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LOTTO FEVER (#4017)
EPISODE PREMIERE: July 23, 2006
LOGLINE:
Johnny is kidnapped by a "loser" convinced that the psychic ruined his life by helping him win the Lotto.

SYNOPSIS:
Johnny (Anthony Michael Hall) arrives home one afternoon, exhausted from a trip to Boston. A few minutes later, he answers the doorbell to find a desperate-looking man, Boyd Lumely (Benjamin Ratner), pointing a gun at him. Thinking he's being robbed, Johnny offers him whatever he wants in the house, but Boyd has other things on his mind. He touches Johnny, triggering a vision of the two at a convenience store. Johnny is calling information for a phone number when Boyd, a postman, recognizes him. Glancing at a Lotto advertisement, he asks Johnny to look into the future to see which numbers he should play. When Johnny refuses, Boyd becomes frustrated and belligerent. Johnny leaves the store quickly, forgetting to take the phone number, and Boyd notices the slip of paper it's written on. Back in the present, Boyd informs Johnny that he won the lottery using those numbers, which Johnny insists was simply the phone listing for a restaurant. Boyd is adamant -- he just wants his old life back. He forces Johnny into his Hummer and as Johnny drives, he recounts how he blew all of his Lotto winnings and ultimately, borrowed money from a loan shark, who is now after him. They see that the car is low on gas, so they stop at a nearby station to fill up. As Johnny uses Boyd's keys to open the gas cap, he's hit with a series of visions of the postman showing his wife, Marsha (Jocelyne Loewen), and daughter, Emily (Joelle Antonissen), their new house, Boyd buying the Hummer, quitting his job in a huff and coming home drunk, where his wife confronts him about his debts.

Back in the present, Johnny senses that Boyd is just an overwhelmed man, but before he can talk to him about his troubles, Boyd orders him to change into a tuxedo in the gas station bathroom to prepare for a meeting at the country club. When the two head back to the car, they see a tow truck taking the Hummer away to be repossessed. Moments later, Walt (Chris Bruno) pulls up in a police cruiser and Boyd instructs Johnny to play it cool. Johnny quickly tries to cover by introducing Boyd as an old friend from high school. After Walt heads into the store, Boyd hotwires an empty cab and he and Johnny take off for the country club. En route, Boyd confesses that Marsha took Emily and left him after his money ran out. Back at the Bannerman home, Walt tells Sarah (Nicole deBoer) about his odd encounter with Johnny and Boyd. At the club, Boyd grabs a couple of flutes of champagne and as he and Johnny clink glasses, Johnny is struck with a vision of Boyd being shot in the head by an unseen gunman. Horrified, he snaps back to reality just as Boyd is dragging him across the room to meet Bob Westerfield (Daryl Shuttleworth), a wealthy accountant. As Johnny shakes Bob's hand, he's thrown into a vision of the man showing a young woman a large amount of illegally skimmed cash in a safe in his office. Johnny notices where Bob keeps the key. Back in the present, Boyd can tell that Johnny has seen something and as he touches him, Johnny is again hit with the vision of Boyd being shot in the head. But this time, piano music is playing in the background.

Later that night, Johnny and Boyd jump into a cab to the sound of alarms, having just robbed Westerfield's safe, and tear off. They head to a tract house in a modest neighborhood, where Boyd peeps inside at his daughter playing the piano. Marsha drives up and is ambivalent about seeing her husband, but invites him and Johnny inside. Emily asks her father to come to her piano recital that night at the park, but Boyd sadly tells her he can't make it. Marsha and Boyd argue about who he has become, before he says goodbye to them in a way that seems very final to Johnny. They head off again, this time taking Marsha's car. Suddenly, a car pulls out in front of them and blocks their path, forcing Johnny to slam on the brakes. Two large men emerge with baseball bats as Johnny frantically tries to restart the car. The men begin to hammer the hood until Boyd jumps out and yells at them to stop. They back off immediately and it becomes clear that they were hired by Boyd himself to make it look like he was in serious physical danger. Johnny's seen enough and even when Boyd aims his gun at him, he calls his bluff. The postman demonstrates that the gun he's been wielding isn't loaded and begs Johnny to help him get out of trouble. Johnny reluctantly decides to give him one more chance.

At the Bannerman home, Walt gets a call from Roscoe (Bill Mondy), asking him to come down to the sheriff's station to check out some surveillance footage from the gas station where Walt saw Boyd and Johnny. Meanwhile, the pair heads to a church bingo night where Boyd's father, Lloyd (Lee Taylor) works as a janitor. It's clear the two have a rocky relationship, and when Boyd tries to give his father some money, the old man refuses. Boyd gives him a resigned hug and he and Johnny leave. At the sheriff's station, Roscoe and Walt watch the footage and see Boyd force Johnny at gunpoint to steal the cab. By now, the two fugitives have entered a church sanctuary, where Boyd confesses that he hired a hit man to kill him so his family would get the insurance money. Johnny convinces him that they still have time to call it off, so Boyd directs him to a seedy building, where a secret poker game is taking place. The postman tells Johnny to use the stolen money to try to win the cash he needs to pay back the loan shark. Johnny acquiesces, but makes no promises that his psychic abilities will be able to help him win.

As the game progresses, Johnny is losing badly and during a break, he confesses to Boyd that he's not getting any info on the other players' cards. A preppy-looking man bumps into him, triggering the vision of Boyd being shot in the head, but now also showing Johnny as a victim of the hit man. Again, piano music plays in the background, but this time, he sees the hit man's face and recognizes it as the man who bumped into him. Snapping back to reality, Johnny tells Boyd now that he knows who the hit man is, he can call off the hit, but Boyd tells him that he would have to double the man's fee to cancel the contract. The dealer calls the players back to the table and Johnny continues his losing streak. Suddenly, his luck seems to change when he ends up with three kings and goes all in. Unfortunately, another player has three aces, but when the man reaches for the chips, Johnny's hit with a vision of the dealer setting up tiny cameras. In the present, Johnny rips one of them out from under the table, inciting chaos among the players and allowing the two to escape. They try to lose the hit man, but as they round a corner outside, he appears and knocks Boyd to the ground, then aims his gun at Johnny. Emily's piano recital can be heard in the background as the man prepares to shoot. Johnny puts a hand on Boyd's shoulder and is hit with a vision that fills him with hope. Suddenly, bright lights flood the scene as Walt and several deputies rush in and take the hit man into custody. The sheriff explains how he found them and cuffs Boyd, as his family looks on. Walt gives Boyd a minute with them, during which the postman plants the seeds of reconciliation before Roscoe leads him away.

Two months later, Johnny is surprised to find Boyd back on the job, delivering his mail. The postman reports that he got off on probation, thanks in large part to Johnny's testimony in court, and is back with his family. He thanks Johnny again before inviting him to a friendly little poker game with his friends...

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