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The Word

by Casper Tales 2 years ago in humor
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One lucky guy and his little black book.

The phone rang.

Inori answered, “Hello?”

“Hey kid,” a mysterious voice spoke, “It’s time.”

Inori hung up. He gulped, and opened the little black book on the desk. There was a name: Ben King. Beside the name was a number in red: $20,000. Of course, there was also the word.

Inori quickly closed the book, just as the train hit a bend in the track and sent him for a jerk. He braced himself against the bed located in the small cabin. He stood up straight, and quickly returned the book to it's hiding spot.

Inori smoothed his uniform, and continued to push the dining cart down the length of the train. When he got to the dining car, he found it unusually empty.

"That's strange," Inori thought, "Mr. King must be at the bar, but why did everyone follow him there?"

Naturally, Inori figured it had something to do with the game. The game that seemed to have everyone addicted since the year 2057. Passwords given to every player and huge sums of money to the person that gets that player to say their word out loud. Ben King had been playing for eight years, and never once said the word written down beside his name in the little black book.

"Hmm," thought Inori, "I wonder how they're trying to trick Mr. King into saying his password today?"

Ben King's password: prayer. A simple word, and easy enough to avoid for a smart man.

When Inori finally got to the lounge car, there was quite a commotion. A large crowd had gathered around a monitor. Mr. King was singing karaoke -- one of his favorite pass-times on long stretches of travel aboard this train.

But, could it be? Was Ben really singing Hans Jorgensen's rock classic Prayer for the Living?

"Johnny was down on his luck. Laid off from his job, he knows it will suck when he gets hungry. So hungry," Mr. King softly crooned.

Inori smiled. Ben wasn't a half-bad singer, and if he sang the chorus, the rules of the game stated that the person who spoke to him last got the prize. Could be any of the businessmen in suits cheering Mr. King on. Looked like none of them really needed the twenty grand. They probably played for the thrill.

"Oh, what else is there but singing?" belted out Ben King, "Yes, here's a --"

He stopped and laughed, while the rest of the car shouted, "Prayer for the living!"

"You guys must really think I'm stupid," he taunted.

Inori approached, "Your dinner, sir."

"Thank you," replied Ben King.

He opened the lid on the rack of lamb he had ordered earlier. Ben inhaled deeply through his nose, pleased by the smell. Then he turned to Inori.

"You know what I like about you, kid?" Ben began, "You do your job, and you leave me alone. What's your name, anyway?"

Ben peered at Inori's nametag, but obviously was a bit too inebriated to make out the moniker.

"Inori, sir," said the young busboy.

"Inori, that's an interesting name. What is that Korean or something?" Ben asked.

"Actually --" Inori was cut off by the sirens that began to blare. Red strobe lights flashed. A voice echoed over the loud speaker, making the announcement.

"Password has been spoken. We have a winner. Inori Fujinara you just won $20,000!"

Ben was livid, "No way, I didn't say anything!"

The announcer continued, "Mr. King you are half-Japanese."

"How did you know that? I never even met my father," Ben hollered.

"And by the rules of the game, a password can be said in any official language of a person's citizenship," the announcer said, matter-of-factly.

Ben glared at Inori, "You're telling me..."

"Yes sir, Inori means prayer in Japanese," Inori said sheepishly, looking down at his shoes, and trying to conceal a smile.

Inori slowly backed out of the lounge car, amid cheers from the crowd. He retrieved the little black book he had hidden in his cabin. He opened it. How he could not say, but Ben King's name was gone. His own name, Inori Fujinara had been written in its place. Beside it was a dollar figure: $50,000. And of course the new player's password.

What was Inori's password, you may be inquiring? Well, he hasn't told anyone yet, and he's not going to start now. But, what he will tell you is that he spent his prize money on tuition. Finally, he got a chance to go to college, and get off the train.

You may also be wondering where he hides that little black book, and who is the mysterious bookkeeper?

Maybe this answer will shock you, but you have to play the game to find out.


About the author

Casper Tales

Age: 36

Insurance broker by day, library owl by night. Avid writer, proud father, devoted husband, and novice chess player. B.Sc. from Queen's University.

Currently living in Alberta with my wife and two children.

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