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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Break (02/06/06)

TITLE: Roulette
By Jeremy Iman


“Not this again.”

He turned, agitated, and darted off towards his office. The door was flung open as he entered, but he didn’t slam it shut like he usually did when his patience was running low. I saw it as an invitation as good as any; especially from Mr. DeMarko.

With his back turned, he continued with his rant.

“Look, I appreciate you trying to umm… ‘save my soul’ but as I’ve told you before, religion isn’t for me. And if you had any sense, you’d see how ridiculous it is too.”

“With all due respect Mr. DeMarko, it’s not about religion. It’s about having a-”

“Hold on, I know this one,” he injected. “A ‘personal relationship with Jesus Christ’? Yeah, like I said Tommy, not for me. You know there’s no room for nonsense in my life. I didn’t get where I am today by believing lies and propaganda.”

There was just no way to reach him. I had tried many times in the past, each instance ending a little worse than before. He was too in love with wealth, too in love with power, and much too in love with himself. I viewed him as a force to be reckoned with, because I had seen him lash out at clients who failed to meet his expectations. In one case, he actually killed a man with his bare hands for not making a drop-off on time. It happened while I was in the room, and I’ve been afraid of him ever since. Much to my disadvantage, he knows this.

“You talk about the need to fear God, well I say if there is one, he needs to fear me!”

He smiled and placed his hands under his desk. I saw a quick flash of silver which caused me to step back.

“I fear no one, you understand?” There was a short pause. “Come here.”
He motioned for me to join him by the desk, which I was reluctant to do.
“Tommy…I said come here.”

Fear was my motivation. It pushed and prodded until I found myself standing beside the man. I could smell the overpowering scent of his cologne as it jumped off his suit and slapped me in the face.

“Tommy, I want to give you a lesson in fear. Maybe then you’ll be able to break free from this religion thing. See this gun? There’s one bullet in the chamber. Me and you, we’re going to play a game. Trust me, it’ll change your life for the better.”

The clicking of the hammer caused my back to become plagued with tingling bumps. I could feel the blood in my veins burning, nearly melting me from the inside. My lungs were tight, contracting several times a second but never getting air.

“You go first, my boy.”

He spun the cylinder, and held out the small pistol in a steady hand. I looked at it, then at him, then back at the gun. I had learned long ago not to make him repeat himself, so I let it slide into my hand.

“You know what to do. Don’t be afraid Tommy, you need to give this religion thing a break. This’ll only make you stronger.”

“God help me,” I breathed quietly. I knew that if I didn’t do it, he would shoot me himself. So I raised the gun to my head. I couldn’t keep it still, the barrel shook and bounced off my temple. And then I squeezed the trigger.


I let out a heavy sigh.

“What a rush, eh Tommy!” He patted me on the back and took the gun, its handle saturated in sweat.

“I do this at least once a month, it lets you know you’re alive. You see this is real. This is something you can feel and it really does change you. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to hold this gun right to your forehead without shaking. You’ll give death a little wink, and pull the trigger.”

He brought the gun to his head with unimaginable ease.

“This is how you break free from the mundane life and realize that you’re your own god.”

He pulled the trigger and I watched as blood marinated the wall behind his lifeless body.

I shook my head and walked away. He was right. This experience did allow me to break free. And the world looks so much brighter without the cloud of fear constantly over your head.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Anita Neuman02/14/06
Well that was certainly a creative take on the topic! The whole situation doesn't seem very realistic to me, although maybe I'm a little too naive. There's some really great wording in there: "I could smell the overpowering scent of his cologne as it jumped off his suit and slapped me in the face." and "My lungs were tight, contracting several times a second but never getting air." to mention a couple.

Sharon Singley02/16/06
Very intriguing story! It felt like I was reading a mafia crime novel!! Maybe you could expand on this and write a novel...?
James Clem 02/16/06
Written with good description and flow. A little more help on the setting would be good and exactly what Tommy's position/role is. And why he continues to work for this monster (fear?). This feels like a piece of something bigger.