Barter

'What the hell do you want me to do, Sy? You want me to go back to my boss, effectively your boss, the man you owe more than just money to, and you want me to tell him that you can't pay him?!'

Sy dared to glance to his left, where he saw his wife and daughter cowering in the corner, trying to stay out of harm's way.

'Look, Port, I- I have...'

'You have what?! You have nothing, and yet you owe everything!' Port was getting frustrated with this maggot that stood in front of him, obviously intimidated, but desperately trying to string words together in order to make a solid case. Maybe Port would break his arm, maybe he would trash his house. If it could really be called that.

'I have money coming, Port! I can get you your money,' Sy mumbled.

'No, Sy, you can't get me my money, because it's not me you owe the money to, is it?'

Sy was silent, and Port wondered if he was going to even try to answer the question. He obviously already knew the answer, he was just too dumb to accept it. Too scared, maybe.

Port continued his interrogation. 'You seem to forget that I'm not the one you owe, here. If it were me, sure, I'd be happy to give you time, and I'd believe whatever story you come up with. The money is coming. Sure it is, Sy. But It ain't me you owe the money to. It's Zelos. And Zelos isn't as generous or understanding as I am.'

Port let the dimwit take a second to take in the information that he was trying to get across. But it wasn't the first time that Port had had to slowly but forcefully explain the situation to Sy. He didn't seem to get it.

'So now,' Port continued, 'Zelos has had enough. Enough waiting, wondering if his money will ever find its way back to him. Sure, he's made it back already, and he doesn't even need it, if I'm honest with you, Sy. But that's not the point. Zelos has his principles, and he knows as well as you do that he's not just going to forget your debt. If he let you walk away, before long everybody would be taking him for all he's worth, and worms like you would be walking all over him. He doesn't want that. I don't want that. So Zelos has a proposition for you.'

This was it. Now the swine would get it through his thick skull. He owed Zelos money. Ten grand. And he didn't have ten grand. But there was a very obvious way that Sy could make it for him.

'We're going to enter you in a match of Bloodbox,' Port explained, getting a slight kick out of the sudden flinch that the two women in the corner let out. 'People will be betting on you. Probably be betting against you. But that doesn't matter. Odds are 100:1, against you, obviously. All you have to do is bet a hundred on yourself, and if you win, Zelos keeps the winnings, and we forget this.'

Port had deliberately left the other half of this proposition empty. He wanted Sy to enquire as to the other half. Wanted to scare him... Finally, Sy spoke up.

'What happens if I lose?'

Port smiled a wicked grin, and replied, 'You're dead, Zelos doesn't get his money, and we take it out of...' And then Port did something that almost hurt him. Looking over to the cowering females in the corner, he quoted his boss. 'Your widow.'

The End

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