1st December 2014
It was the first day of winter. People were celebrating it and the city's center was crowded. In this crowd Vincent was walking. Being dressed as usual you might think that he will stand out from the crowd and people will stop and glare. But no one seemed to ignore him. While walking he was humming a song. A sad one. A cigarette was burning his mouth and the trail of smoke that he was leaving behind looked like it danced on his song. A sad dance. Despite his sad appearance he was more cheerful than usual today. But only a little.
"Who should I pick today?"
He saw a woman talking on her phone.
Then he looked the other way and saw a coupe holding hands.
"That's interesting, but I will leave that matter for another time."
Then he saw him. The perfect candidate. A homeless person sitting on a curb.
"Mike Nelson. Would you like to play a game with me?"
"Sure! But how come a nice gentleman like you has time to play a game with someone like me?"
"I appreciate the compliment, but we are not that different. I too don't have a place to return to."
"You know.... I heard this somewhere and I really think that is true."
"That no one has a place to return to, we only have other people to return to."
"That's a nice saying..."
"It really is inspiring!" replied the homeless man
Vincent then explained to Mike the rules of the game and the stake. Mike was looking at him with astonishment, but didn't say any word or move.
"So before we finish this game you won't be able to go anywhere."
"Interesting! Sure I'll play."
"Are you really not going to question anything, Mike Nelson?"
"I am too tired to go anywhere anyway so I will just trust you. It's more simple."
"As you wish. The first card is a 3. What is your answer?"
"An interesting choice, you have a higher chance of winning if-"
"Don't underestimate me! Even though I am homeless and I don't know a lot of stuff I know that much."
Vincent took the next card, looked at it then showed him to Mike. It was a 2.
"Congratulations, you have won!"
"Well thank you! But if there is a winner does that mean there is a loser as well?"
"No th-" he was interrupted
"I win so that makes you the loser, right? And the loser has to do whatever the winner say. That's how I played games when I was still a kid."
"So I have to do anything you ask me to huh? Sounds fair. I am also curious about what you will request." usually he wouldn't accept that, but maybe that tiny bit of cheerfulness made him agree
"If you didn't lie about your power, then I want you to..... kill me."
That statement surprised even Vincent. But only for a moment.
"So that's why you chose Lower. You wanted to die."
"Yes! Look I have nothing and no one left. I am all alone and there is nothing in this life for me anymore. Please kill me and send me in the afterlife! I heard that everyone is happy there and there's plenty of food!"
"Life wasn't fair with you, was it?"
"No! I struggled since I was little. My parents were so poor that they couldn't afford to send me to school so I grew up without ever going to school. And in today's society, what can a dumb person like me do! No one wants to hire someone looking like me! And I am not qualified to do anything either!"
The man was shouting doing aggressive gestures with his hands, trying to convince Vincent to do what he asks. He was no longer the friendly looking man from a minute ago. Vincent looked at the man with disgust, but didn't interfered. When Mike was done Vincent finally said.
"You abandoned this life and put all your faith in the afterlife. That's why you act so nice and friendly. You hope that some divine force will see you acting like that and send you to haven when you die. I really hate people like you, Mike Nelson."
"That's perfect then! Kill me if you hate me!"
"Life hasn't been fair with you since the beginning. So what makes you so sure that it will be now. If you want do die just kill yourself. And if you don't have the guts that's entirety your problem, so don't stress other people about it. "
Then Vincent turned his back at the homeless man and left. Even though he agreed to accept Mike's request and even though Mike was the winner and he was the loser he didn't care. He just left.
"That's not fair! I have the right to order you to do whatever I want! Come here and respect our agreement like a man!" shouted Mike with tears in his eyes
But it was futile. Vincent disappeared in the crowd. But he did left something behind. A single coin in Mike's hat that Mike placed in front of him, asking the strangers for some spare change.
"Your punishment is that you get to live, Mike Nelson."