The game
Author: Peter Licari

Chapter 7
Strike One

“Alright Mr. Parker,” said the man in the mask turning the camera in front of Robert Parker to record. “Your first question is simple. What is the net worth of your company, Chemicorp?”

Parker froze over at that question. Why was it such a simple question? Was it a trick question?

He mentally collected himself and decided to try for the non-trick answer solution. “265 billion” He choked out. He held his breath as the man in the mask looked at him, or at least appeared to be looking at him. Cold sweat dripped down his neck and his heart was pumping into his skull.

“That is correct sir!” the man finally announced. Parker and his partner both took a sigh of relief. That was one question complete, he only had to answer four more. If they were all that easy then they would be as good as freed.

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

Parker grew cold. He knew exactly what he used that money for. He’d been hiding the things that he bought and used from the money for years now. He knew what he did was wrong but honestly, he always thought he had the money and the power to get out of it.

He pulled on the chains in a vain millionth attempt at freedom. It dawned on him that all those things may have finally came back to bite him.

“That is the equivalent value of 20,000 dollars in expenses,” the man continued. “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.”

“God d--- it!” Parker hissed under his breath. He was right, things were finally coming back to bite him and it was going to ruin not only his reputation but his net-worth. The Chemicorp stocks would close at an all time low the next day and, if he was lucky, he would get fired with a moderate package.

“But enough dwelling on this question,” The masked man announced, seeming happy. “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.”

Parker’s heart skipped a beat, he wasn’t sure if he was going to like the next question.

“Your next question Mr. Parker is: How much waste is illegally dumped by your company on a weekly basis?”

Parker started panicking and tried as much as he could to keep it in internally but he could feel himself failing.

“umm… well.. uhm…” Parker muttered out. He felt like he was puking up the word into the air.

“Let’s go Mr. Parker we don’t have all day, let’s not try my and the American people’s patience. Give us the answer, if you can.”

Parker knew the amount of barrels dumped into dirt on a weekly basis, it was his job after all to know his company, but the amount would most definitely make himself, and his soon to be former company, look bad.

“Mr. Parker” the man said snapping Parker out of his thoughts. “Answer the question or else it will be considered a strike.”

Parker sighed. “1,500 barrels a week” he spat out.

The man looked at parker steadily. He pulled out the remote and pressed a button. His partner on the platform jerked a few inches into the air.

“I’m sorry Mr. Parker but that’s incorrect.” The man said “It seems that you shorted yourself a bit. The correct answer, America, is 1,758 barrels dumped per week illegally on average. That’s 96,580 gallons a week, 5,022,162 gallons per year dumped illegally. That’s thousands of lives killed at the expense of a few thousand dollars. I wonder what that extra money is used for.”

Parker started hyperventilating. He could feel himself blacking out to the sounds of his partner starting to gag. He forced himself to stay conscious as the man in the mask continued to bring to light the things Parker wished could stay in the shadows.

“Well that’s my guess” said the masked man into the camera. “Well Mr. Parker,” the man continued, “perhaps you will be able to recover from that unfortunate mis-answer and recover on this next question. Are you ready?”

“I’ll take that as a yes,” the man declared. The fake “whoots” covered over the sounds of Parker’s partner’s breathing while Parker himself tried to mentally prepare himself for the next task.


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