A Survey To Dine For

1. Do you find that life is more enjoyable when more unpredictable?

Jeff nearly fell directly into the first question, but he hopped the chasm, and his eyes landed on the second question.

2. Do you believe that you have a strong ability to adapt in the case of unpredictable events?

And another two questions:

3. Do you view challenges in life as games to be won?

4. Do puzzles intrigue you?

But before Jeff could look any further, he found the pen in his grip and could not resist the words that flooded forth. He gave one simple glance at the man, and then pressed the pen down hard. He was too caught in the questions to wonder what their purposes were.

He answered the first four completely before even reading the fifth. Perhaps the size eight font on the fifth question was there for a reason.

5. Would you be interested in taking part in a few simple tests for a research project? If so, you may be selected as one of a few to be paid one thousand dollars for your time.

Jeff stared. Then he raised two wavering eyes. The man grinned.

"What...is this?" asked Jeff.

"Answer yes, and we shall talk further."

Jeff frowned. "If I write yes on this silly survey, that means that I'm interested. It does not mean that I'm signing my life away to you. I want to see a few official documents before I go anywhere with you."

The man laughed roughly. "Would you settle on going to the Piano Lounge?" he asked.

Jeff was amazed. That was an unpredictable question. The Piano Lounge was the most expensive place to dine in the northern hemisphere. He wasn't even sure if he would be allowed in the door without a strip search, let alone allowed to walk away with a single lucky penny.

"Lunch will be provided. I will pay," added the man.

"You'll pay for me to be interested!" scoffed Jeff. "What kind of a research project has a budget like this?"

"It is my private research project. The funding comes directly from my pockets."

"Pockets? You mean Swiss Banks! A thousand dollars per helper is a bit much for a few tests."

"We wish to attract only the perfect matches for the experiment. Money is the easiest way. Now: come, come. Let us dine."

Jeff blinked, suddenly coming back to reality. And by reality, it is really to say that he realized how ridiculous the situation was when compared to the ever elusive norm. He was being asked to 'dine' with a man off the street who claimed to be made of money when all Jeff could see was a red toque and a black cloak. At least the man's eccentricity seemed to match his supposed line of work.

Research, eh? Jeff shrugged. How hard could it be? It was at least worth a stroll to the Piano Lounge. And with that being decided, he then slipped into the back of an armored vehicle with a strange old man.

The End

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