Reilly looked skeptically at the three doors confronting him; they were all closed and walled off, so he couldn't see inside, and he didn't know what the emcee's endgame was. Was this a real game with legitimate prizes? Or was it a joke? Or something else entirely? He didn't know.
And frankly, he didn't care. Reilly was nothing if not pragmatic, so he put little thought into his choice as he walked up to Door Number One and turned the knob. What the hell, one door was as good as the others, right?
The door opened creakily, on uneven hinges which were coated with rust. The closet-like room beyond was dark, and when Reilly hesitated the emcee slapped him heartily on the back and announced, “He has made his decision! Let's hear it for him, folks!”
There was no audience of course, and only deathly silence followed. The emcee, as if sensing the loneliness of it all, began clapping slowly and loudly, the sharp report echoing throughout the empty warehouse. Reilly quickly second-guessed his choice; something creepy crawled under the skin in his arms and he struggled to nullify the growing mass of gooseflesh spreading there. There was a nagging voice inside his head which insisted he ask if he could pick again.
The emcee would have none of that, he knew, and the host adjusted his star-spangled top hat and spoke into a non-existent camera, “Let's peek in and see if we can catch a glimpse of Mr. Jenson's prize.”
The emcee squeezed past Reilly and pulled from his britches a dollar store flashlight and clicked it on as he poked his head into the tiny room. His already raspy voice added a new degree of creepiness to it when it squealed, “This is SO exciting!”
Reilly pushed past him and walked the two steps to the table in the middle of the “Room.” He nearly missed his prize, and for a moment he thought there indeed was no prize at all, that Mr. Emcee was just screwing with hum. He was actually about to turn and swear at the emcee and ask him just what the hell was going on, but after taking another look, he realized there was something on the table after all. He leaned over and squinted in the dim, ambient light coming from the outside bulb, then he reached out and plucked a small plastic disc from the tabletop and held it in front of his eyes. He scowled in disbelief, then showed it to the emcee, “Is this for real?”
The emcee laughed, a sound reminiscent of wind-swept autumn leaves rustling over a loved one's grave, “Of course it's real, kid. The question is: what are you gonna do with it?”
Reilly's mouth hung agape as he looked again at the object in his hand. Just to be certain he wasn't dreaming, he twisted it in his fingers, but it certainly looked real to him.
In his hands was a poker chip with “Le Piege Casino” foil stamped on it. According to the monetary award placed right in the center, it was worth $500,000 dollars. And on one side was a dark thumbprint smudge.