Dead Ahead – Part 2

A smile formed at the corners of Aaron’s mouth. How he did love a good round of liar’s dice. He had made a fair bit of walking around money over the years from it. He gave his bar mate a nonchalant once over. An older gentleman well decked out and with an air of elegance and grace about him. The kind that would be carrying a fair bit of dosh Aaron imagined.

“Sure, why not?”

The gentleman tipped his hat and moved onto the stool next to Aaron. He signalled to the bartender for dice cups.

“I take it you’re familiar with the game?”

“Oh, I suppose I’ve played enough times. What shall we wager?”

The gentleman smiled and looked into Aaron’s eyes.

“I appreciate a man who goes straight to the heart of the matter. As it happens I have a proposition for you. Let us play one game of dice. If you win I give you this.”

He pulled an impossibly large bankroll from his jacket and placed it on the bar between them. Aaron couldn’t conceal his astonishment at the size of it. The outside bill was a thousand.

“$50,000 dollars in total.”

Aaron gulped.

“Whoa, pal, I’m not up for that kind of action. Sorry.”

The gentleman waved away his concern.

“I’m not proposing quid pro quo my friend. Do not be alarmed. Allow me to continue with my proposition. If I win you must give me three drops of your blood.”

The smile on his face was both genuine and disarming. Aaron couldn’t believe what he had heard. He narrowed his eyes and cocked his head.

“Is this some sort of joke?”

“Oh, not at all. I’m quite serious. The money will stay on the bar while we play. Is that not fair?”

“Look pal, I don’t know what…I mean…what the hell would you want with my blood and how would I give it to you?”

He couldn’t believe he was seriously entertaining the matter. The gentleman shrugged as though the question was irrelevant.

“I have a small pocket knife. A slight prick and a squeeze and the debt would be settled. We would do it here, of course.”

“Yeah? Well you still haven’t told me why you’d wager three drops of blood against $50,000.”

He shrugged again.

“It’s only blood. I would think $50,000 would be ample reward for it. Bartender, another shot for my companion and one for myself.”

The gentleman lifted his glass and smiled.

“Shall we drink to the deal?”

Aaron stared at the bankroll and scratched his chin.

“Mind if I examine this?”

“Be my guest.”

Sure enough, it was a mixture of large bills and the serial numbers were non-sequential. There was no evidence that bills might be counterfeit and for the life of him Aaron couldn’t imagine why the man would go to all the trouble of trying to pass counterfeit bills for a few drops of blood. On the other hand he couldn’t imagine why he would wager money for it either.

The gentleman continued smiling at him and holding his glass up for Aaron to toast. It was crazy, but Aaron had always had a taste for crazy. He couldn’t shake the feeling that the old man knew this about him. He hesitated a moment and then lifted his shot glass and clinked it against the gentleman’s glass.

“To one round of liar’s dice.”

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