The winning number for a new lottery game has been revealed to me in a dream. So run to the bank, withdraw your money and make a poor man rich.

That's me, and my game is called "Loco."

I can hear you all now, "Awwright! A new gambling game! Just what the city needs!"

That's right, Loco.

Don't confuse it with the Maryland lottery called Lotto. That's the new government-by-chance solution for financially strapped Prince George's County.

Loco odds are slightly higher than the 250,000-to-one shot in Lotto. In Loco, one will get you none, and I get the rest so there is no worry in waiting.


Loco is even better than "Scratch-and-Sniffle (When You Lose Instantly)," the game for people with a fetish for scraping lead-based paint and peeling toxic nail polish that District officials came up with last year.

After raking in millions with that cute little number, the District introduced the D.C. Double, which makes no mention of the trouble you have trying to collect. Then there is the latest, "Loose Change," which is what you're left with when the IRS is finished playing with you.

Next July, the city gambling czars are going after the low-class gambler with a version of the illegal street lottery. No-class gamblers have already fallen for the intoxicant of "instant winnings."

It must be this do-or-die economy that has caused local governments across the country to pick up where the underworld left off, preying on the metropolitan poor.

Now local radio stations are airing ads for "Gambler's Hot Lines" with toll-free numbers in New York and Baltimore, as desperate addicts seek withdrawal in the face of financial collapse.

The neighboring State of Maryland is not much better with its so-called middle-class game, Lotto, where players have the luxury of waiting a week to learn they are losers.

The way I figure, if people want to throw away money, then play Loco.

For a nominal fee I'll even throw in my answer to "Loose Change," called "Scatter Brains." (This was popular in the Land of Oz where it was known as Dorothy's Wish.) In this game, you click your heels three times and wait for Toto to cough up cash.

So, come on. Let's play Loco.

I'll even get you going with a number. Try this: 4-8-8-3-1-0-0.

Play it by phone and you could get the IRS grand slam. Plus, if you get the Plea Bargain after they get your number, your name goes into a hopper for the Big Time Payer Drawing that grants your family visiting privileges for the rest of your life.


Say you prefer a three-number lottery? Hey, that's awright too, because that's still Loco.

Except what you need now is a dream book, a numerical guide to the meaning of somnolent fancy. These things are selling like hot cakes at newsstands around the city. There are Sneaky Pete's Horoscope and Dream Book, Prof. Konje's Lucky Star Dream Book, The Success Dream Book and the Policy Joe Book, just to name a few.

In Maryland, the Lottery Commission publishes "The Oyster Book," which tells you the next number you play could be "a pearl in your oyster." But, of course, "you gotta play to win."

Well, you can scratch all of that because what you really need is, "My Dream Book." (My book is not yet available in area stores, but if you send me a self-addressed envelope with your dreams enclosed, I'll send you my bill. Awright?)

In one dream I received, a woman is on the beach when the moon speaks to her: "If this is a vacation why does your house need cleaning?"

My Dream Book calls this a spring cleaning dream. "To dream about housework while trying to dream up a vacation is admission of guilt. Shoot the moon--and play 842."

With all these new gambling games popping up all over the place, it pays to know which games to play. Don't be misled by impostors. There is only one game that lives up to its name. That's Loco.

Sure is.

And the slogan says it best, "You gotta be to play."