Gerald entered the phone booth. He was looking around as the phone rang. He was always looking around these days. Finally, after five rings, the person at the other end picked up.
"Hello?" A sleepy voice said.
"Hey, Pete. This is Gerald. Listen, man. I really need your help..."
"You do know what time it is, right?" Pete asked.
"Yeah, but this couldn't wait. I have a bit of a gambling problem..."
"I should know. I lent you some money to get you out of the mess a couple of weeks ago, remember?"
Gerald didn't. He had borrowed money from so many people that he had lost track. Anyway, it didn't matter. Whatever money he had borrowed, he'd used up for gambling and lost already.
"Yeah, well, I'm in a bigger mess now, and I really need some cash."
"Oh no. I'm sorry, Gerald. I'm not going to lend you any more money. You have to learn your lesson. You'll thank me later."
"You don't understand! They'll kill me, Pete! These people are mobsters. They'll kill me!"
"You're getting paranoid, Gerald. Listen to me. Calm down, get some sleep tonight and it will all be alright. Just stop gambling, simple as that."
Gerald could see he was getting nowhere, so he hung up.
He looked around the street again. For some reason, only alternate street lamps were working, and it made him more paranoid as to what was going on in the areas he couldn't see. Was there someone just waiting in the dark to pull a knife out and stab him to death?
No, he decided. They wanted their money so bad, they wouldn't kill him until they got it. Perhaps they would kidnap him and torture him. He shivered.
He had left the motel earlier that day. He was scared of staying in the same place for too long. Now, he thought, maybe staying there for the night would have been the smarter move. But then, nothing he'd done for the last couple of years had been smart.
The street was empty as far as he could see apart from a bum. This man approached him now, and Gerald felt fear gripping him. Even if this man wasn't with the people he owed, he might still try to mug him. Gerald had a nice suit on, even if it was the only piece of clothing he owned at the moment.
The man came nearer, his finger pointing towards Gerald. His face was twisted and deformed, and Gerald just wanted to make a run for it, but he was too ashamed to. You're a grown man, he thought. Stop running.
"Hey!" The tramp said.
"I don't have any money." Gerald burst out and backed away, any trace of bravery remaining in him disappearing.
The tramp made a dismissing motion and asked, "Aren't you Gerald Smith from The Time Of Our Lives?"
This was the last thing he expected. He relaxed a little. That had been his biggest hit. He had always been good at acting in romantic comedies.
"Yes, that's right."
"Wow, that's great. I'm a fan. I used to watch your stuff back when I owned a tv. Whatchyu doing here at this time of night?"
"I...I don't know."
"Sleepwalking, are you? I remember my late wife, used to do that often. She'd wake up every day and..." Gerald had a feeling he was in for a long boring monologue, so he simply walked away. The tramp didn't seem to notice and went on talking to himself.
As he walked onto another street, he sensed something moving behind him. He turned around. There was nothing but a few cars in the parking lot. He started walking and got the same feeling again. He tried to resist the temptation to turn around again, but failed. He turned once again, and saw nothing unusual.
Get a grip, Jerry. You know what they call people like you? They call them para...
He turned around again. The Chevy that had been in the parking lot was moving slowly. When the driver saw that Gerald had seen him, he sped up.
Gerald ran for his life. He turned around the corner and he heard the screeching of the car as it took a fast turn. He couldn't believe his luck when he saw a building lit up and with people inside. He ran inside.
Surely they wouldn't try to kill him here, wherever here was. It was some kind of an office.
The secretary smiled at him.
"I suppose you are here to apply for Killzone." The secretary said.
Killzone. Sounded familiar. It was some kind of a famous reality show. Gerald hadn't watched much tv since he had stopped acting, so he didn't know what it was about.
"Sure, yeah. That's it."
"Please fill out this form and then go into the doctor's office for a physical. Your results will be mailed to you a couple of days from now."
"Do you know what killing is about?" Nathan asked his best friend, simultaneously sparring with his trainer.
"No, tell me, oh great Nathan. What is killing all about?" Dan asked.
"It's about survival. The human body has been conditioned to survive. You can not kill someone effectively simply out of anger or for getting some sort of a revenge. For effective killing, you have to convince yourself that your life is in danger from the person you are attempting to kill. This will give you all the will power you need."
"I'm not entering the contest, if that's what you are trying to get me to do."
"No, no. I'm simply explaining to you why I'm going to win. You know I have been training for a long time, right?"
"Ever since I've known you. I don't know what your obsession is. It's not like you need the money."
"It's not about the money. It's about showing everyone that I can achieve anything I set my mind to," he finally landed a punch on his trainer's face. "that I don't need my father for anything," Another punch, this one in the stomach. The trainer doubled over in pain. "and to show the world exactly what I'm made of." He laid a final punch and the trainer collapsed.
"Oh, so that's what it's all about!" Dan said.
"Yeah, and the money doesn't hurt either. None of this money is actually mine, it's my father's. After I win this contest, I'll be even richer than he is."
"Still doesn't seem like enough motive to risk your life, but alright."
"I'm not risking my life. I told you, I'm going to win. It's not a maybe." Nathan said as he took off his gloves.
"Enough training for the day." The trainer groaned.