Hello, All! To be absolutely honest, I have no idea why I wrote this. I was just laying in bed one night, fondling a pair of dice when I thought what any normal guy would think; what would happen if all of a sudden, the dice exploded? Perfectly reasonable question, but being who I am I couldn't simply imagine a pair of dice spontaneously exploding. No, I had create a backstory and context, complete with characters and dialogue.
One thing before you read, though; in this quickie oneshot, I mention a gambling game called Craps. The entire scene makes just about no sense at all unless you actually know what Craps is, so I'll quickly sum it up.
Craps is a dice game that involves rolling dice to win money, although that's sort of a given. The 'shooter' bets money that he or she will win the roll, while other players bet money that he or she won't. The 'shooter' rolls both dice once, and if it totals a seven or an eleven, the 'shooter' wins. If it is a two, three, or twelve, the 'shooter' loses. If he or she rolls a four, five six, eight, nine or ten, the bet isn't settled and they gain a point. They continue rolling until they either roll the same number again, which wins the roll, or rolls a seven, which results in 'crapping out' (a loss).
And there you have it folks! Go ahead and give my strange, male impulse write a read and see what you think!
Tim Liall strode through the subway, feeling content. Not for any reason in particular, but when does one really need a reason to be happy? Currently, he was on his way home from work at a small, standalone burger joint on a relatively quiet street corner. This may seem like a fairly uninteresting job to most, but Tim was an optimist. He often thought of himself as the luckiest guy on the planet. He had a steady income, a loving family, a home, and he didn't have to deal with the stress of being rich, or a famous television personality. His work wasn't demanding and he didn't lose sleep over it. He wasn't a stupid man, as he had received a privileged education. He had had a comfortable childhood, absent of any unordinary problems. All in all, Tim Liall was a happy man.
The subway was fairly crowded this evening, as it was every evening during the rush hour. People milled about absentmindedly, rushing to catch a train or waiting for one to arrive. Tim briefly regarded the plain mosaic on the walls of the station, idly tapping his foot as he awaited the uptown train. Tim looked over his shoulder. He didn't really know why, he just happened to look. There was a man leaning on a metal beam, smoking a cigarette. Normally, Tim would have immediately disregarded such a scene as everyday, but there was something different about this man. The expression on his face was... unusual, to say the least. Not unpleasant, just unusual. The man was staring at the ceiling contentedly, but the kind of contentedness one experiences when they take a look at the clock a minute before their shift ends, or the emotion one feels in the final moments of a game when the teams are still playing, but the home team has an unbeatable lead. The kind of contentedness that says, it'll all be over soon. Tim approached the man curiously.
"Evening," he greeted. The man glanced at him, then went back to staring at the ceiling.
"Evening," he said. Tim looked at him quizzically.
"Don't mean to be so intrusive, but any particular reason you're so very relaxed?" he asked. The man looked at Tim and raised an eyebrow.
"My friend, I've seen many people in my lifetime. I work at a cash register, and you see more people in a day than just about anyone. Believe me, there's not a living soul on this planet more relaxed than you." Tim said. The man chuckled.
"Maybe I'm just good at containing my anxiety," he said with a smile. Tim shook his head.
"Mister, do you know how many people try to scam money out of an inattentive cashier?"
"More than I'd care to admit. I spend my days reading people to make sure I'm not being conned. I know what it looks like when a customer walks away with an extra five in their pocket, the expression on their face when I mistakenly charge them less for an item. No, sir, you are one-hundred percent, genuinely carefree right now,"
The man gave Tim a slight grin.
"Alright, you caught me. I got something up my sleeve,"
"Yeah? What's that?"
The man reached into his pocket and pulled out two identical six-sided dice.
"Tell you what," he said, "Lets shoot craps. Two rolls, one each. I win, I get to keep my little secret. You win, I'll tell you."
"Any particular reason?" Tim asked. The man shrugged.
"I got time for one last game," he said, which struck Tim as rather odd, but he didn't say anything. Tim checked his watch and nodded.
They crouched, facing the mosaic on the wall. Tim pulled out some paper money, but the strange man waved it away.
"I have no need for money, this is just a friendly game, no bets involved," he said. Again, this struck Tim as odd, but still he did not comment. The man shook the pair of dice in his hands and tossed it toward the wall. The dice rolled across the floor, hit the wall and bounced back. The dice settled, rattling on the floor as they did so. One and two. Tim smiled.
"That's craps," he said, "go ahead and spill, my friend." The strange man grinned, shaking his head.
"Not so fast, you've still got a roll. Crap out, and I win."
"I've never played a craps game like that,"
"You've also never shot craps without gambling."
Tim snatched up the dice from the ground and gave it a roll. Five and two.
"I believe that makes me the winner," Tim said, "Now are you going to tell me your big secret?"
"Alright," the man said, "the dice."
Tim raised an eyebrow. "The dice?"
"Yep. You asked me why I was so at ease. It's because of these here dice," the man said, picking the dice up off the ground and standing.
"What is it about those dice that gets you so relaxed?"
"These are very special dice," he said, and left it at that.
"How can a pair of dice take all the troubles of the world away?"
"It's not the dice themselves," the man explained, "it's what you do with them. With a bit of luck," he tossed the dice at the wall, "it can change your life." The dice bounced off the wall and landed on six and five. A winning roll. The man grinned widely. Tim would have grinned back, but something was off. The man's grin was... unsettling. Almost like he was anticipating something.
"Mister, are you all right? You look kind of funny," Tim asked. The man's grin never faltered.
"I am now, my friend. I am now."
At that very moment, the dice exploded, ripping through the subway station. A deathly ball of fire erupted, demolishing the foundation and killing all in its path.
"A deadly terrorist attack occurred only moments ago at J. Reginald Station, burying the tunnel and collapsing much of the surrounding area," a fast-talking reporter on the local news was saying, "The casualties are not yet known, but the death toll is expected to be in the thousands. Aboveground eyewitnesses are saying that they heard a muffled boom, immediately followed by a massive cloud of dirt and debris erupting from the subway access stairwell, just before the street collapsed. The motive and culprit are unknown, but the police are to undergo an investigation immediately, as well as search for survivors. A S.W.A.T. team is arriving on scene now,"
The camera zoomed in on a wrecked staircase leading into the underground, as uniformed men bearing gas masks and assault rifles ran into the destroyed subway station. Several tattooed men in an abandoned warehouse several miles away laughed and high-fived. A single man in front of the small, portable television set wore a solemn expression.
"Bruce," he said, "Why did we have to do this?" The rejoicing died down gradually, and a large man with a few holes where teeth should have been grasped the young man on the shoulder.
"We went over this, Charlie," he said, "We're sending a message. The members of Hell's Gambit won't be ignored after this,"
Charlie turned to face Bruce. "But why? Why do we want to be recognized? What merit does it have?"
"We're fighting a war, Charlie. The world is weakened, and every mediocre 'terrorist cell' is clawing for a piece of it. The government had their chance to rule, now it's our turn. This isn't a war of greed. It's a war of justice." Bruce said. Charlie turned away.
"What gives us the right to decide what justice is?" he said.
"Who says we can't?"
"Plenty of people,"
"Those people are the same people that started wars between nations that killed millions. The same wars that took your family away. Now it's our war, and when we come out on top there will be no more political wars. No more old men yelling at each other while young people are killed on their behalf. It's better this way, Charlie." Bruce said, and walked away. Charlie frowned.
"Better for who?" he said to himself. He had joined Hell's Gambit in an act of irrational despair once his father and brother were killed in active duty, but all it takes is a pair of explosive dice to make a man realize how in over his head he is. Charlie was no terrorist. But if he stayed here any longer, he knew he was going to become one.
And there you go. Tell me, do you think I should continue this? I think it's kind of an interesting concept, but I'm working on something else and I'm not sure if I want to make time for this as well. Review and tell me what you think!
A bientot, mes amis!