Submitting to the Billionaire(3)

By: Georgia Le Carre

“Take him to the pit,” I instruct.

Roman and Andrei oblige by grabbing his forearms and shoulders. “Hey,” he screams in a panicked voice. He is still shouting when they quickly frog-march him down the hall to the cellar. I walk behind, keeping a small distance. Nigel pleads over his shoulder. There is nothing in the cellar but a badly stained pool table and a couple of chairs. They have already pushed him down onto a chair by the time I go in.

I close the door quietly behind me and stand for a moment looking at him. Every time I see him I am shocked by how unbelievably pathetic he is. I don’t speak, and he rushes to fill the dank silence.

“What are you going to do to me?” he asks, wild fear in his eyes.

I shrug. “Nothing … if I get my money.”

I watch him lean forward in the chair and shuffle his feet. “You’re going to get your money, Mr. Smirnov. I told you, I had a dream. It was so vivid. I was playing in this very club, and I just couldn’t lose. I won a lot of money. Much more than I owe you. You just need to let me play tonight. Please, I won’t lose, I swear. You’ll see.”

Sudden laughter erupts from my throat. Roman and Andrei join in. Our laughter reverberates around the carpetless, curtainless room.

I stop laughing suddenly and step closer. I remove my jacket and hold it out. Roman steps forward to take it from me. I roll up the shirt sleeve of my left arm, and then my right arm. It’s just drama. Adds nicely to the tension. Actually, I’ve never done this before. I suppose I could be a gangster. It’s not too bad if I only had to knock off whiney excuses for human beings like him. Nigel’s eyes dart anxiously from me to my men and back to me. His hands are trembling.

“I’ll pay you back. You know I’m good for it.”

“Do I look like a fool to you?” I ask pleasantly.

“No. Not at all.”

“You must think I’m a fool. You actually thought you could come here without my money, and I would let you play again.”

“I know you’re not a fool. It was an honest mistake.”

I raise an eyebrow. “An honest mistake?”

“Look, I won’t play tonight, all right? I’ll leave this club, get the money, and come here tonight.”

“How will you get the money?”

“I … have the money.”

“You have the money?”

“Well, not, right now. But, I … I … can get it. Just give me one day.”

“One day?”

“I’ll get it by tomorrow.”

I shake my head. “That’s not the deal, Nigel. The rules are clear. Every member has three months. Run up as big a debt as you want during that time. Then you have to settle in full. Your three months was up last night.”

“But I can settle it tonight. If you just let me play. My dream …”

“This is no dream, Nigel. This is your fucking reality.” I stare at him. “Put him on the table.”

Before the sniveling liar can say another word, he is thrown face down on the pool table.

“Hold his right hand out.” Roman takes one and Andrei the other. I walk slowly towards the wall cabinet and pick up a hammer. My staff have a sick sense of humor, there is blood still on it. I go back and hold the hammer close enough so that he can see the blood. His eyes bulge with terror. Ridiculous fool.

“Please, please, Mr. Smirnov. I’ll get you the money,” he begs.

I lift the hammer above my head.

“Wait, wait,” he screams. “You can have my Mercedes. It’s the latest model, worth one hundred and fifty grand.” Sweat is pouring down his pale face, and there is a wild tick in his jaw. I try not to smile as I lower the hammer and drag the metal claw against his face. How could he fall for this shit?

“You owe four hundred and fifty grand you piece of shit. What else do you have?”

“Take my house. It’s worth one point eight million. You can have everything. Anything. Just let me go,” he cries wildly.

That’s the thing about gamblers. Even when they’re in danger of taking their last fucking breath they’ll try to con you.

“Is that all you have?”

“I swear, Mr. Smirnov, that’s everything I own. I only owe less than half a million, but you can have it all. Everything I own.”

I walk across the room and stand with my back to him. For a few moments, I let the silence ride while I turn inwards. Why Nikolai you’ve won. You’ve played the game, you never flinched or gave up, and you won again. I smile. Yeah, I won. I wipe the smile off my face, turn around and walk back to him.

“Well, Nigel, in that case, you are completely fucked. We both know the bank owns everything you have offered me. Break his hands, boys,” I snarl.