Kickoff written by WillMorgan

Playing God

He took the oath. He took the money.

"Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. Above all, I must not play at God."

Those were the words. Those were the words they that all said. Those were the words that they swore by, that every single one of them promised to themselves to live by.

And yet, here he was, staring down at an envelope that contained just one slip of paper, with one sentence on it.

'Your account has been settled.'

He scoffed and down his scotch, motioning for the bartender to bring him another.

'You sure you want another one?' The bartender asked, clutching the quarter full bottle like a new babe, unsure to hand it over.

'Just pour.' The letter hold growled.

'Hey man, you're a surgeon, right? One of the regs told me. You don't got surgery or nothin' in the morning, do ya? I don't want that crap on me, yanno?'

The surgeon closed one eye and stared up at the thirty something guy with a sprayed on tan and slicked back hair. He hated when you could smell a guy's aftershave, especially
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when it was cheap, like the bartenders was.

'Here's a hundred,' The surgeon said gruffly, pulling a wad of notes from his pocket. 'Settle my tab, leave the bottle, and piss off.'

The bartender's jaw twitched. He stared at the money for moment, knowing that the bar would only take for the drinks, and that whatever was left would go in his pocket. It was worth it.

He snatched the note from the surgeon's deft hands and slammed the bottle into the table in a show of indignation, before he left to return to his position behind the counter.

'Yeah, that's what I thought.' He grumbled, pouring himself a large glass. 'Money, money money. It's all everyone ever thinks about.'

He tutted and drained another glass, grimacing as the amber acid stung his throat.

That's why he was there. Money, or lack there of. He was kicking himself now, for being so stupid, so naive. It was all set up, right from the start. Four months in the making to get him on the hook. And oh boy was he on the hook now.
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He felt like spitting.

His fingers clenched around the envelope and twisted until the paper almost tore in two.

He'd not been drinking alone all night. No, he'd met someone earlier. Someone he only knew as 'Sam', although he assumed that to be a fake name. She was tall, and had short hair. She carried herself in a way that said, 'try it and see what happens.'

She'd been good in bed - damn good. But she had expensive tastes. Champagne, cocaine, room service three times a night. Doesn't seem so bad, but when you're in the presidential suite, well it mounts up pretty quick. He couldn't believe he'd been fooled so hard. There's no such thing as a hot streak at a casino. I mean, who drops two hundred grand in twenty minutes? Him. Or so he thought. No wonder she came out of the woodwork, whispering in his ear about how hot she was for a winner like him.

Two hundred in the black turned to eight hundred in the red real fast. Poker, craps,
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blackjack, roulette. Sit at the high rollers table, there's nothing like it, she said. Mr Cavaniero extends lines of credit to high rollers. He knows your good for it.

She just kept saying - one more roll, one more spin, one more hand, and it could all change.

Then, two goons had him by the shoulders. He was in a dark room, tied to a chair. They roughed him up a little. None to the face though, and they were gentle with his hands.

Then Cavaniero himself appeared.

'Hey Doc,' He said. 'I'll make this simple. Your Thursday morning surgery; Davis Hemple the third. Heir to Hemple International. He's having a splenectomy, right? Tricky procedure. Something could easily go wrong, couldn't it?'

I narrowed my eyes. 'What the hell is that supposed to mean?'

Cavaniero laughed, his white silk suit shimming as he did. 'It's supposed to mean that you own me eight hundred grand, and that unless you say yes, I'll slit ya' goddamn throat. Get it?'

I nodded slowly, the taste of bile hot in my mouth.

He smirked. 'So Doc, whaddya say?'
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