The game
Author: Peter Licari

Chapter 9
Stalling And Desperation

“Alright, Mr. Parker,” the man continued, staring at him. “Your next question pertains to another person’s life, or rather the end of it.”

Parker grew cold. He had heard of cases where his company had not acted in the best conscious and he knew that in a few of those cases, death was a result. He knew that because he was the one who had to deal with the investigators, both private and public, and the lawyers, both prosecution and defense. He was the one who signed the memo’s, imploring his men to “think the true green” while rubbing his fingers. He knew where this question was going and he already didn’t like it.

As if reading his thoughts the man looked back to the camera and said “Here is your question.”

Parker was trying to think of a way around this, a way to delay for time. He knew that the man had to have an audience on the other end of those cameras and if that was the case then he knew that the police would be there to save him. All he had to do was just stall, he just had to stall.

 “The girl being shown on the screen” the man continued to the cameras. “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.”

Parker closed his eyes as he remembered the face of Miss Madders. Well, her face was not an accurate way of saying it. Her picture before she died was more accurate. He remembered that group of people suffering from very similar cancers, generally situated in the throat or mouth. Yes. He in fact remembered them.

 “After testing the water,” the man rolled on. “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.”

He started to squirm in his chains slightly. He still hated those men who testified against him. They not only destroyed their careers, but nearly ended his. All because he refused to give them a raise, too. He thought that he would be able to break out of those chains by rage alone.

He started to move. No such luck.

“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.” The man declared. “Your company managed to survive a long and grueling law suit but the damage was done. Several people died including the young Miss Madders.

The law suit. There was a memory Parker truly wished he could repress. He had to sit there, with his lawyers in an attempt to make his company look good and honest, and listen to whiney little pests testify against him and his company. In the end, the only reason that he had won the trial was because he had “negotiated” with some of the jurers. He walked away without losing more then legal fees and 120,000$ payable to those twelve people the justice system called his “peers.”

The girl’s death though affected him a little more though. Her face was plastered all of the media the day she died. No matter where he went, her face followed.

“So Mr. Parker,” the man said. “My question to you is this; how long did it take for your toxins to kill an innocent 15 year old girl?”

Parker swallowed as the light in front of him began to flash. He knew it was his time, he had to start stalling. He remembered what his mentor, the previous C.E.O of chemicorp taught him, told him about answering questions like these. He was told that he had to make the answers as long winded and complex as possible, try to confuse his audience. That way, he could say whatever he pleased and could get away with it.

He sighed. It was worth a try.

“Well sir.” Parker began. “Let me first say that I do remember the case in which you are talking about and if I do recall, I didn’t kill that girl. The jurors proved that my company wasn’t the source of those chemicals and-”

“Mr. Parker.” The man whispered coolly causing his vertebrates to be icicles. “I, as well as the people watching this, would prefer you try to not baffle us with your ‘suave’ speaking skills. You have 7 seconds to answer the question before I simply give you your second strike.”

Parker began to have another panic attack. How in the name of the father, son, and holy ghost was he supposed to know how long it took for a insignificant, unremarkable, teenage brat to die? He thought back on all the medical testimony and decided to go with a number he heard often in that trial.

“Six months!” Parker yelled out, praying that his guess will be correct.

A large snap came as his partner was lifted another few inches into the air. Parker struggled to hold back tears of apprehension as more automated boos flooded his ears.

Parker began to hyper ventilate. No, he wanted to live. He didn’t want to die. He didn’t deserve to die. Not like this. Not like this!

“Oh, I’m sorry Mr. Parker,” the man said, slightly angered. “But that again is a little off. You may have been thinking of how long the medical experts speculated she had left. The actual amount of time however is four months and 19 days. Tough break, you have two of three strikes possible and you have two questions remaining. You might want to get your thoughts together sir, before they get blown out of your mind.”

“Let’s keep this pony show moving Mr. Parker, On to what could very well be, your final question.”

Parker began to feel hot tears sting his eyes. He was cracking up like a plexi-glass window after being slammed by a rock. He had to keep his mind together. There was no other option. He had to stall. Soon the police would be here and it would all be over and he would be saved. Soon, it would all be over.


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