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Gambler

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Gambler

Post by Guest on Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:23 pm

Prologue

Born With Everything, Die With Nothing


It used to be that the highest stakes on a poker table, the only phrase that made everyone shut up and turn away from their drinks or their mistresses to the actual game, was two words: “all in”. In the universe I work in and know, that means perhaps a little more to me than it will to you.

The likelihood is that you wouldn’t believe me if I told you the greatest wager runs a whole deal higher than that: and I’m not talking about material possessions, or betting slaves, or anything quite so primitive as that. I mean your life. In certain, high-octane situations, or action movies, most people associate the phrase “gambling with your life” with 1980s movie villains conforming to one of a handful of various clichés, but here the statement certainly does ring true more than most realise.

I’ll put this simply: in my workplace, individuals can very much gamble with their lives.

The life of a gambler is pitiful. Occasionally one or two win big and make their money, or another handful learn a method for cheating the system, but ninety-nine times out of one hundred, a gambler comes into the casino and the house cleans them out. They take out loans. They mortgage their house. They sell their car. And it gets to the point where they owe so many venues so much that they have little else to bet. But certain casinos, like the one I work in, can offer an alternative.

Think of it this way: even if you lose everything, you have one thing left. Your humanity. Signified by a universal red chip marked with “LIFE” instead of just another string of numbers sitting on top of your little pile of chips, cashing in your life means you are really gambling with it. The casino only offers this, or so they say, to the people that have lost everything. They promise to even their debts, wipe the slate, even give them some more money to get going with, all for the metaphor of gambling with one’s life. Only the stupid think the entire thing is easy. The others are just too broken, too far gone, to care.

They think their luck is so grand: and perhaps they win a game or two, but sooner or later, they start getting greedy. They’re making their chips back, they’re putting everything they have into the game, before, finally, that last face card that wasn’t supposed to show or the pair the dealer wasn’t supposed to have renders the pathetic, drunken fool totally broken, and bereft of everything. The house takes them for all they’ve got.

When someone’s life has been lost to the casino, this is where I come in.

Anyone who exchanges their life for this universal red chip is fitted with a tracker – compulsory in almost all high-risk underground casinos where this goes on. The mainstream ones in Vegas keep it out of everywhere else. Once your life is casino property, you have an initial meeting with an official, and you’re told that you have seventy-two hours to tie up all your loose ends: of course, they’re not totally callous, now, are they?

I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure whether those three days are a boon or a curse. Me? Personally, I’d just rather have the barrel of a gun waved in my face and have it all over with as swiftly as possible. But, no, these heartless bastards like to see the poor fucks squirm. And so they do.

Once those seventy-two hours expire, they send a special individual hired by the casino to collect your body. What they do with it is entirely up to them – some have their memories wiped and become domestic slaves or dealers, some go into organ harvesting, and perhaps some are even auctioned off on the black market for the depraved scientist’s fun. That’s not where I specialise in. I’m the collection agent. I’m the guy that turns up on your doorstep once those seventy-two hours are over and tells you to give it up.

Now, considering the amount of incidents when furniture, a car, or other material possessions are liberated in this manner is one thing: but when you lose your life, almost everyone thinks they have nothing to lose, thinks they can take what meagre items they have left and truly run for it, leave the world behind and start anew. It never works. Everyone thinks they can get lucky. They can’t.

The casino still pays me for bringing in a body broken, torn, or even shot to shit. Even dead bodies are useful – a certain amount of reconstruction ensures they’re of some limited purpose to alternative markets. And this is why these casino individuals, or as they’re called, evictors, have to know what they’re doing – because these people have already gambled with their lives. They’ve got nothing left to lose. They are the most dangerous of the dangerous, and they’re not afraid to do anything in pursuit of that light at the end of the tunnel – freedom. They’re not afraid to do what they have to survive. Some of the wiser ones just give it up as soon as they see me or another evictor get close, but that’s only a handful. The rest run. And once they’re caught, they break down until you disable them in one way or another, knock them out cold, and drag them back to your boss for whatever depraved things he’ll do to them or sell them on for.

Morality aside, it pays the bills, I suppose.

Guest
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