*The writing improves as the story progresses AKA future chapters

A New Life - Prelude

My friend Paul and I walk down the busy streets of New York City to find something to do. Hundreds of people crowd the streets, blindly heading toward their predetermined destination, distracted by their own little worlds. Such boring and mundane lives these people hold. Wanting to get off the streets and find something fun to do I ask Paul "Hey you got any cash for tonight? Or do I need to find a way to pay for drinks again?"

Paul doesn't even look my way "You idiot, you should know the answer to that. I get the girls and you get the money, that's how we always operate."

Rolling my eyes I begin to fall behind Paul by several strides. I don't like doing this but at this point in life I don't have much of a choice. The mistakes I have made can't be fixed. I don't necessarily want to change where I am at or who I am but if I had a second chance I would take it without hesitation.

Quickening his pace Paul begins to pull ahead then stops and turns around while motioning for me to catch up. "Come on hurry your ass up we don't have all night!"

The distance between Paul and I rapidly increases, forcing me to pick up my speed. I go into a slow jog and run into three people, an older business man, a punk looking college student and some pretentious looking women on the way to catch up to him. "Sorry " is the phrase that leave my lips while patting the shoulder of each person as I bump into. Avoiding bumping into people in these crowded streets is easy but it's not strange when strangers collide or bump shoulders.

"So did you get anything good with that little jog of yours?" Paul gives me a short wink and slows down as we cross the street.

"Hmmm let's see the old man had forty dollars, the lady had sixty and the kid had about twenty five." I search the wallets of the people I 'accidentally' bumped into. "Oh shit the old man had a platinum card! Looks like were hitting the bars tonight!"

"No way let me see that." Paul reaches out to grab the card but I pull it away. I like Paul but I sure as hell don't trust him.

"You don't get to see anything tell you do your part of the deal, we can split the cash half and half tell then." Of course I would give him half the cash, half the cash I said they actually had. The old man actually had over two hundred dollars in cash. I hand Paul sixty dollars with a fake smile on my face.

"What about the extra five?" Paul looks my way with a worried look. Being concerned over every penny sounds exactly like him.

"Fine you cheapskate, but I get to hold on to the card tonight."

A little while later we arrive at a random bar in the middle of the city. I walk up to the bar and call for the bartender "Hey, I want to open up a tab for my friend Eric and I." Obviously I use a fake name for my friend when we're out at night. I have a fake name as well. We have to do this since half our actions would be frowned upon by the local NYPD.

"Oh thanks buddy" Paul comes over wrapping his arm around me with a big grin. That shit eating grin of his means he found some 'prey' for us to go over and hit on.

The bar tender walks over to us, she is a pretty twenty something burnet. "What can I do for you mister..." she scans the card I handed her searching for the name.

Interrupting her I proudly say "Howard, but just call me James" continuing with a smile and a quick wink. My false persona will be that of the old man tonight, in the back of my head I thank him for his kind donation toward our drunken shenanigans.

"Of course mister Howard, so what can I get for the two of you tonight?" completely dismissing my friendly remarks, ouch seams she is all business.

"Two glasses of Bowmore, on the rocks." Being a man of high class I enjoy a nice scotch every once in a while.

Paul pipes in pointing at a table in the distance with three girls sitting around it "Also send a few drinks over to that table." He pauses for a moment to add his own dramatic effect before continuing "From us."

The bartender silently scoffs at us and brings us our order, along with sending one of the other employees over to the ladies table.

"Now we just sit and wait for the magic to work." Paul sits down next to me at the bar.

"You sure we don't need to set out a few more traps, I see some easy picking over by the pool tables." I have been doing this thing for years now. When Paul and I first met I had to teach the kid how to talk to a woman. Probably my only redeeming quality is training people to become what I want.

Paul puts his hand on my shoulder and looks me in the eyes. "Look your job is the money, so let me do mine." Paul puts more pressure on my shoulder than what is necessary to get his point across, but I guess that is just his anger issues. He used to go to anger management, but well I talked him out of that to make him be my wing-man. Why should I work on picking up a girl when I can make someone else do it for me?

"Haha man calm down man, I won't steal your thunder." I need to keep on his good side, he is far larger than I am and if he wanted to he could probably kill me. "You're the man when it comes to getting the ladies, ain't nobody got shit on you!" I then put on another fake smile, my special talent.

Immediately relaxing Paul takes his hand off me and takes a large gulp of his drink "Yeah, thanks I just lost control for a second." Paul's face lights up for a second then he leans in "check it out the girls want us to come see them"

I turn around and see them looking our way with smiles and giggles. "You know a magician's best alley is a drunk audience. Better order some more drinks." Although are skills aren't truly magical, they do have some pretty magical responses.

After grabbing a few more drinks to bring with us we wonder over to the table of three women. They are all probably around my age of 24 years old. There all pretty good looking, but more importantly they look morally casual to put it nicely.

One of the girls squeals with excitement. "OOOOh another strawberry daiquiri!"

"Of course, these babies will keep coming all night via my friend James here." Paul smoothly sets me up to succeed. I knew there was a reason I kept this guy around.

"It isn't even worth mentioning, I make plenty at the small company I own." With that the girls glance at each other with a bit of excitement.

"What company do you own?" one of the girls asks curiously.

Not having done any research, or really even thinking about this at all I have no time to think, luckily thinking on my feet is basically what I was born to do. Going into something like this with a game plan makes life too easy. I need the challenge of thinking on my feet and taking the twists and turns as they come. "It's a small online company that sells several different products ranging from plush toys all the way to inexpensive and efficient home appliances. It's a business that is oriented toward families. But what I'm most proud of is our philanthropy and donations. Twenty percent of our income goes to different charities including make-a-wish." I hope to distract them with that last bit.

Paul butting in with a perfect add on says "I am the co-executive, and recently we started donating to nine lives rescue." Almost shedding a fake tear before continuing Paul says "It's really amazing to see all of those rescued kittens, and it truly hits home when I don't have some way to help out."

With this the night continues for a while, making lie after lie slowly pulling the strings on the three girls hearts and emotions, just a regular night for Paul and I. A few hours later we all gather into cabs. I take two girls in my cab and Paul takes the third in a separate one. We begin driving to a high class hotel that James Howard will kindly pay for.

One of the girls sticks her head out the window "I'm on top of the world!"

The other girl sloppily climbs over me to try to get to the window also "let me see let me seeeee!"

The cab driver being worried turns around and says "sit back down and get in the back in the cab please."

In my drunken state I grab ahold of his face and mush him forward while saying "shut up you stupid cab driver, nobody is getting hurt so leave us alone grumpy old fart." With that the driver looks back at the road and keeps driving. His driving become more aggressive the louder we get.

One of the girls grabs ahold of the drivers head from behind and in a very loud whisper says "Calm down we will be fine. Oh hey want to play a game?" she then covers the drivers eyes with her hands and begins to giggles.

The other girl begins to yell happily laughing at the frustration of the driver. "Haha old man worries to much!"

Not really thinking of the situation I laugh along with her while throwing my arm around each girl. "Yeah old man, chill out why don't you?" I couldn't have a care in the world. My ideology is that life is just a game so why not play around with others.

The old man tries to peal the women's hands off his eyes but fails so he slams on his breaks instead. He then whips around and yells "If you guys don't sit down and shut up I'll kick you out of the cab without a second thought." He stares angrily at us for a few moments until we nod and sit down quietly.

Without thinking the driver slams the gas pedal to the ground igniting the engine. The wheels peel out slightly as he accelerates forward. The next instant a loud truck horn blares from the left. Turning to see the origin of the noise my jaw drops as my eyes shoot open.

A large truck speeding through the light rams the side of the cab. Metal scraping against metal echoes through my ears as the paint peels from each vehicle. Due to the lack of using our seat belts the three of us flail around the inside of the cab. We all get flung to one side as the yellow slams into a street lamp on the side walk. At this moment I lose my consciousness for a few seconds.

I wake in a daze. I am lying on my side in a warm crimson liquid. I can't tell if it is my blood or someone else's. I can't see anything since my head is being crushed between two hard objects, my face flat against the ground. I can feel sharp pain radiating from my back as something trickles down into my hair. A larger pressure builds in my chest and breathing becomes harder and harder. Slowly I begin to fade away again.

Oh wait I can't feel anything anymore… The pain in my back is gone. The pressure in my chest is too. Where am I? Did I die? I try to move, I try to speak, smell taste and hear. Nothing works. I am in a void of darkness… Wait that's not quite right it's not black. It's almost translucent. As if color and light and darkness never even existed in the first place… how strange… It feels like a dream. The absence of everything surrounds me. Hmmm but I am definitely conscious. What did that old philosopher say? I think therefore I am? Hmmm I am either dreaming or I died. Let's think about this for a little bit. Oh wait thinking is getting hard… I'm forgetting… everything…

….

Oh wait I can see darkness again! And some type of weight, where am I? Actually this doesn't feel like my body, it doesn't even feel human…

What am I?