The game
Author: Peter Licari

Chapter 6
A Picture's Worth

“What the h---?” Jonathon Daniels said looking at the chained man in the partially torn clothes.

The television went back to the image of the masked man as Daniels tried in vain to escape this demented broadcast by switching the channel. Unfortunately for him, and all of America, the man was on every possible station, even the ones that were previously just static.

“For all of those who don’t know,” Said the man as Daniels went through 8 different channels. “His name is Robert Parker and the man over here-” the image changed to a sniveling man with his legs and wrist bound standing on a platform with a chain around his neck, “is his newly acquired business associate, Mark Patterson.”

The camera changed back over to the masked man.

“Both these men may seem, at first glance, like the victims of a mad man.” He declared.

“No kidding” Daniels said taking a sip from his fuzzy navel.

“I assure you, though,” the voice continued, “I am not as insane as you think. I’m just like you all, tired of the kind of life ruled by people who don’t even have tied shoes without owing someone a tip.”

Daniels thought about it for a second to briefly consider how alike he was to the man on the television. He figured that he couldn’t be all that similar. After all, he may have hated big businessmen, he may have even had a personal vendetta against Chemicorp for killing his dog with their class “F” dog slop that was supposed to have gotten recalled, but he was fairly certain that he wasn’t comparable to the maniac on the TV.

“Enough of the small talk America,” the man said. “My airtime is short due to the fact that the police, FBI, and secret service will all be looking for me now that I hacked all the communications satellites. Let’s continue on and I will go over the rules of the game.”

“Oh there are rules now?” Daniels said leaning forward with slight interest as the man pulled out a remote and enjoyed his fabricated applause.

“This game will be like the majority of those shown on game shows in this country.” The man announced as the applause died down. “The contestant, Mr. Parker, will be asked five questions that I guarantee the majority of the American people don’t know the answer to. These questions all pertain to the company he owns, Cemicorp, the third largest chemical company in the world. It is also now the parent company to his associate’s corporation, guaranteeing the layoff of 1,500 workers and the addition of millions of dollars to their bank accounts. Like baseball, its three strikes and well-”

Two images adjacent to each other appeared on the screen. One was of the man with the chain around his neck and it zoomed in on a crank mechanism while the other image was of the main contestant which was zoomed in on a gun pointed at his skull.

“D---,” Daniels muttered. “This guy ain’t fooling around.”

“He and his partner are out,” concluded the masked man as the camera returned to him. “Each time a question is answered wrong the chain around Mr. Patterson’s neck will lift him a little higher into the air. After three wrong answers he will be completely lifted off the platform and his air will be cut off like the livelihood of thousands of people was because of him. The platform also doubles as a pressure sensor. The second all of his 197 pounds of greed is off into the air, a mechanism is triggered which fires the gun above Mr. Parker’s head, showing the world the inside of a true killers mind. If Mr. Parker manages to answer three of five correctly, then he and his partner are allowed to live.”

The image switched back over to the man on the wall, attempting to move around in his chains, to no success.

Daniels started to ask himself, as well as 99% of America, why he was watching this. He figured he could just turn off the TV. However, he just like every other person in the nation was awestruck to the point that they wouldn’t have turned off their televisions if they were paid. They all had the feeling that something big was historically altering was about to unfold and they weren’t willing to miss a single second of it.


“Well now folks” the man announced. “It seems our contestant is eager to get started with his questions so without further delay, let’s begin.”

The fake applause started up again and Daniels smiled grimly as he took another sip. It was becoming almost putridly humorous.

“Alright Mr. Parker,” the man said as the shot zoomed in on his mask, “your first question is simple. What is the net worth of your company, Chemicorp?”

The camera quickly went over to the man who seemed to be surprised at such a question. Eventually he answered in a quiet and nervous voice, “265 billion dollars.”

“That is correct sir!” Said the masked man. “Allow me to further break this down for the rest of the nation. His company is currently worth 265 billion dollars if you were to sell it right now. Its annual net income since 2005 has been 13 billion dollars. Of those 13 billion dollars, 10% goes to the owner of the company. This means that he earns 1.3 billion dollars a year. Now what does he use this for?”

An image of him and the partner snorting cocaine through a one hundred dollar bill off the rear of a naked call girl came onto the screen abruptly

“That is the equivalent value of 20,000 dollars of expenses,” continued the masked man once the screen refocused on him. “12,000 dollars were spent on the cocaine alone! This same man, however, said in 2006 that he couldn’t ‘afford’ to give $500,000 to the national cancer society.”

Daniels sat back in his chair and took another gulp of his drink.

“Christ,” he muttered, “what kind of asshole is this guy?”

“But enough dwelling on this question.” The masked man declared. “Let’s continue on with our game. Our contestants are so far still in this game with no strikes and only four questions remaining. I wonder how this will turn out.”

 

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