And I did. But I didn’t feel any better when I finally woke up. I called and told my boss I was sick and asked for a week off, half jokingly because I knew that was impossible. Much to my surprise though, he let me have it. “Feel better Dax. See you in a week.” Even more of a surprise, I was starting to believe that man. What if I could control people? Just like I did with my boss just now.
All that week I tested it out. The results were unsettling to say the least.
I outrageously asked Lisa to make a commitment and move in with me. Lisa is the type to not rush things as her parents made the mistake of doing in their relationship and rationally take the time to think things through.Her stuff was in within a few hours no questions asked.
I asked my friends to go bungee jumping with me merely because it was the most off the wall thing I could think of. They planned the whole thing and we started lessons the next day.
Here’s the kicker, I asked my parents for a five thousand dollar “loan” that they would have NEVER given my drop out older brother who has actually made something of himself now, let alone this fresh drop out whose big claim to fame is being a D.J. It was in my account at the end of the week.
So, I was playing a game. The reasons to not believe the man were growing scarce. I was a major player. So what was my next move?
The first night back at work I waited impatiently for my callers to die down and then played that techno song that not many people asked for. Not even thirty seconds passed before the phone rang.
“Dax, glad you’re ready to talk” rasped the familiar voice.
“I want it to stop, it’s not right. How did it even happen to me?” I asked
“You have a natural sense of adventure son, an open mind, talent in most things you try. The game just picks people. You were an obvious choice. But the game can get dangerous. Tell everybody in your life the truth. Hope that they understand once the curse is broken. If you’re truly lucky you may still have some loved ones once the game is over.”
There was nothing I could really say. It all sounded ridiculous but I knew it was true. I knew that’s what I had to do.
“If you’re going to do it, Dax, do it tomorrow. I’ll be at Klutch that evening so stop by and talk. Drinks on me. You’ll need them. Trust me. I lost everything in the game.”
“Names Jason.” He said.
“Thanks Jason. I guess I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Good luck kid.”
And that was the last time Jason and I talked. I never got to really meet him at Klutch the next night. I did see him, but not on friendly terms by any means. That night was the absolute longest night of my life.
Once I woke up the next day from a restless slumber things went bad pretty fast. I felt so awful about the game and wronging my loved ones (or at least the ones I thought loved me, who really knew now?) I decided to get it all over with fast. There was no way I wanted to stay in the game forever. Now that I knew about it I would never truly be happy again with it.
I called my parents first. It took a lot of explaining, and I still don’t know if they understand, but that didn’t really matter. I told them, and then I asked for another thousand dollars. Let’s just say it was not in my bank account within the hour. So that curse was taken care of.
Next I told my friends, they were open- minded like I was and they actually sort of began to kind of believe me. I asked them each to come over for a bit to hang out now that I told them the truth and they blatantly refused. Two down, one to go.
Lisa was the easiest to convince. She said she always felt like something wasn’t right. Like I had some magnetic force that she was drawn to over and over again. She didn’t understand that I never knew what I was doing. Just as fast as she had moved her stuff in, her stuff was moved out.
To say the least, I was heartbroken. My parents thought I was crazy, my friends were a little pissed off, and Lisa wanted nothing to do with me. Doing the right thing never felt so wrong.
I headed out to Klutch not long after my ex-girlfriend left with her last box. A drink was exactly what I needed. Jason was right.
About a block away from Klutch a group of three men appeared in front of me. Just like my first encounter with Jason, I knew this was no coincidence. I should’ve been afraid but I just remember thinking what did I have to lose anymore really? I stopped directly in front of them and stared them down. They stood their ground.
“Dax, that man Jason, he’s no good. This game, this gift, is the best thing that’s ever happened to you” said the man in the middle.
“Leaving this would be a mistake. You’re a great player.” said the one on the right.
“I didn’t even know I was playing a game. And it doesn’t matter. It’s over. I’m done.” I said.
“I’m sorry to hear that Dax.” said the final man. “What Jason failed to tell you is that it’s not that easy to just quit the game. That’s why we’re here. To stop you.”
Just as the man said this he did a peculiar thing. He quickly stepped forward and closed the space in between us. He showed me a gun that he had in his pocket and slowly brought it out. My heart started pounding and I remember thinking about Lisa as he lifted the gun higher.
Instead of putting it to my chest or my head, however, he slipped it in my pocket and stepped back.
“Be careful Dax, that things loaded.” he smirked.
“What are you doing?! I don’t want this!” I shrieked.
“Then stay Dax. Don’t give up the game. Don’t do anything you would regret.”
“My decision is made. I won’t regret this.”
“Maybe not. But you will regret this.”
Everything started moving in fast forwarded time it seemed. By force my hand shot in my pocket. I placed my thumb on the top of the gun and cocked it like a pro. I had never used a gun in my life. My index finger cradled the trigger tightly and I pushed past the men into Klutch without even thinking about it. I saw Jason waving at me from the bar and all too soon realized what was going on.
I had quit the game, but the other men outside had not. They had complete control over me.
I remember hearing the screams as I brought the gun out of my pocket. I remember my blurred vision of Jason as tears started building up in my eyes. I remember the pure feeling of hopelessness as I effortlessly aimed at Jason. Most of all, I remember the look of betrayal and terror on Jason’s face as I shot him perfectly in the forehead.
The rest is history.
I’m here. Nobody understood my explanations. Nobody understood the game. The men outside had disappeared. I was guilty as could be.
Perfect timing, the night guard is coming back. Again, he looked dishelved and in a hurry. He skipped the chair once again and came straight to the bars.
“Look, Dax, I just had some visitors. Three men who said they need to talk to you. They’re bad news! Don’t listen to what they say. You did the right thing!” The man breathlessly pleaded.
“Don’t worry. You’ve taught me well. I’ve been expecting them.” I calmly said. I added in a winning smile which seemed to convince him all was well and he slowly turned around to leave, smiling back.
I had had a year to think about this. I knew what I had to do. I needed my life back. The truth definitely did not stop a tragedy. I needed to play. I needed back in the game.