The game
Author: Peter Licari

Chapter 8
The Thing That Madders Most

“Your next question, Mr. Parker, is;” continued the masked man on the TV in Daniel’s living room, “How much waste is illegally dumped by your company on a weekly basis?”

“Oh this should be interesting.” Daniel said taking another sip. “Yes pretty boy, do tell, how much do you dump?”

The man in the chains looked obviously scared to answer the question, despite even more obvious attempts at hiding his fear. Daniel knew it meant when rich people refused to answer a question, even when his and his partner’s lives are in jeopardy. It meant that he was hiding something big.

“umm… well.. uhm…” the man in chains stuttered.

“C’mon man just tell the man you idiot!” Daniel yelled to his TV as if it was a game of Wheel of Fortune.

“Let’s go Mr. Parker we don’t have all day,” the masked man said as the camera went back to him. “Let’s not try my and the American people’s patience. Give us the answer, if you can.”

“Yeah Mr. Parker,” Daniel mocked taking another sip. “Stop wasting our time.”

The man continued to try and buy himself some time.

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

“1,500 barrels a week” Parker spat out as Daniel spat out his drink in surprise.

“How much!” he and half of America bellowed simultaneously.

A pause passed and the sound of a buzzer came over the speakers. The camera view went to the man hanging by a chain and he suddenly jerked up into the air a few inches.

“Jesus Christ!” Daniel yelled, jumping back in his chair.

“I’m sorry Mr. Parker but that’s incorrect.” The man continued when the image of the nearly suspended man left the screen. “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.”

The picture of the man snorting cocaine off the woman’s rear came back up on the screen and Daniels felt a deep anger building in the pit of his stomach at this image. How could this man be this greedy? Was it even possible to be that evil?

He looked in the eyes of the chained man on the television. Despite seeing a fair amount of fear, he saw no remorse for his actions. He took a drink to try and calm the boiling anger building in his blood.

“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?”

The camera focused in on Parker’s face and he seemed completely callous. Daniels squeezed his glass, he was sure that the glass was going to crack. His attempts at staying calm when an other’s life was on the line were getting annoying.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” he said pressing the applause button again. “Alright, Mr. Parker, your next question pertains to another person’s life, or rather the end of it. Here is your question.”

The screen showed a pretty brunette teenage girl with braces and stunning emerald green eyes smiling without a care at the camera. She looked healthy and happy, as a girl her age should.

“The girl being shown on the screen is one by the name of Danielle Madders. Miss. Madders lived in the town of southland, misssissippi. She was a popular and rather pretty young girl enjoying life as a tenth grader at her local high school. While preparing herself for a date, she realized that her hair was falling out in patches and she immediately went to the nearest hospital. After performing tests it was found that she had cancer and was just one of a hundred who were in a cancer cluster around her neighborhood. After testing the water, the local government discovered a high amount of a very dangerous toxin with a very complicated name that if I even knew to pronounce it, the audience wouldn’t much have an idea. Moving on though, it was discovered through interrogations of several local Chemicorp employees, that the company was dumping chemicals illegally only fifteen yards above an aquifer.”

“What?!” Daniels announced squeezing his glass harder. This time he swore he heard a crack form in the cheap brand name drinking glass.

“Further investigation showed that you had signed a memo not just encouraging people to dump there, but IMPLORING them too for the sake of company finances. Your company managed to survive a long and grueling law suit but the damage was done. Several people died including the young Miss Madders. So Mr. Parker, my question to you is this; how long did it take for your toxins to kill an innocent 15 year old girl?”

Daniels could hear shouts of outrage from the other tenants in his building watching the TV. He sat quietly fuming while the rest of America was more out going in their outrage. He took one last gulp and hurled his glass to the floor.

“C’mon you sick son of a b----” Daniels swore as he clenched his fists. “How long did it take for her to die?”


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