Loophole

Life is never completely safe or straightforward. Even the most mundane of tasks can bring with them a possibility of danger, a chance that a small misstep might lead to disaster. Here for your consideration is the tale of an ordinary train journey, an everyday commute that turns abruptly into something dark and menacing. Given the same choices what would you do?

Harrington
Hey Bron. Get those files I sent?

Bron
Yes Harry. Had to change the clause on liability but we're good to go.

Harrington
Great. Meetings at 20 past. Clients are motivated.

Bron
Make sure Willis has the new folder covers. Get Jean to meet them at the door.

Harrington
Consider it done.

Beth
Hi Bron.

Bron
Anything I can do?

Beth
Need taxi vouchers for the new interns. Can't find them.

Harrington
I got them. They're on my desk. Just need Helen's signature.

Beth
Great. Sorted.

Bron
Should only be 35. Train's on time.

Harrington
See you then.

Unknown
Is that Bron?

Bron
Who is this?

Unknown
A friend.

Bron
A friend would tell me who they are.

Unknown
We haven't met before Bron, but I know you.

Bron
Really?

Unknown
Sure. At the moment your seated in the third carriage of the 6.15 to Central. Rickety old train but reliable.

Bron
I think you are mistaken. Find someone else to bother.

Unknown
If you don't believe me I can tell you that you are wearing blue and carrying a black briefcase. Nicely coordinated but a bit formal.

Unknown
Don't look so worried Bron. I can see you but you can't see me.

Bron
Are you on the train?

Unknown
Maybe.

Bron
What do you want?

Unknown
Oh, you know, just a chat.

Bron
Why can't I see you?

Unknown
Well, where's the fun in that. Face to face is so twentieth century.

Bron
That isn't funny. What do you want?

Unknown
Just a chat. Maybe a decision or two from someone who is losing their way.

Bron
Now you're making no sense.

Unknown
Maybe. Look around. What do you see?

Bron
I'm not sure I understand what you mean.

Unknown
Look around the carriage Bron. What do you see?

Bron
Just people on a train.

Unknown
Look a bit closer Bron.

Bron
As I said. People on a Train. Getting to work. Going about their business.

Unknown
And what are they doing?

Bron
Reading. Talking. Using their phones. One guy's eating something.

Unknown
Want to kill them?

Bron
No. Why would you ask that?

Unknown
Well I do. I was just wondering if we were of a like mind.

Unknown
Tell me something Bron. What would it take for you to kill them all?

Bron
I don't know who you are, but you're sick. I have no intention of killing anyone.

Unknown
Really?

Bron
Yes. Really.

Unknown
Well we'll see. Have a look under your seat.

Unknown
Found something?

Bron
A Briefcase.

Unknown
Good. Don't open it. Just leave it on your lap. Remember Bron, I can see you.

Unknown
Heavy isn't it? Got all sorts of neat things inside.

Bron
What is this all about?

Unknown
Let's get down to brass tacks. Have another look around. What do you see?

Unknown
Come on Bron. Don't get all pensive. What do you see?

Bron
Just the same. People on the train. Innocent people.

Unknown
Well that was perceptive. Want to kill some innocent people Bron?

Bron
No.

Unknown
Want a bet?

Bron
No. Who are you?

Unknown
Does it matter?

Bron
Yes. If you don't I'll turn this phone off. Tell me who you are or this will be the last conversation we have.

Unknown
Well. You're feisty. Ok. I'll play. I am a Demon and I am giving you the chance to be either the Saviour of Mankind or its Damnation. What will it be?

Bron
You're insane.

Unknown
Am I Bron? Look out your window.

Unknown
Come on Bron. Don't be a party-pooper. What do you SEE!

Bron
Its the world. Its burning. Everything is burning.

Unknown
What else do you see, Bron?

Bron
Demons. Millions of them. Tearing everything apart. People, houses, entire cities. Everybody running for their lives.

Unknown
Delicious isn't it? Don't you love that burnt-red sky? Positively makes the skin glow.

Bron
How are you doing this?

Unknown
Oh. Don't worry Bron. Its just an illusion. A taste of what is to come if you don't play the game.

Bron
What game?

Unknown
Why, the Apocalypse game, Bron. Its fun and educational.

Bron
Why me?

Unknown
Because you sat in the seat Bron. No other reason. You sat in the seat and now you get to play for a free trip to Damnation Island.

Bron
This is ridiculous. Who are you really?

Unknown
Look at your fellow passengers Bron. Look hard.

Bron
I'm looking.

Unknown
See all the meat-sacks sitting there, mindlessly tapping away at their smartphones and thinking anybody cares about their boring lives.

Bron
I see people, that is all.

Unknown
Well good for you. One of them is me. I'll kill them all myself if you don't start playing THE GODDAMN GAME!

Bron
What do I have to do?

Unknown
Just play the game and don't piss me about. Got it?

Bron
OK.

Unknown
Right. Here's the short version. In the briefcase is a bomb. A big one. If it goes off the entire train will go up. Understand?

Bron
Yes.

Unknown
You're going to set it off.

Bron
No I'm not.

Unknown
Well that's up to you. If you don't however, it will trigger something far worse.

Bron
To what?

Unknown
Really? What is the game called Bron?

Bron
I don't understand.

Unknown
Are you that dense? You have only one choice here. Trigger the bomb and everybody on the train dies. Don't and the entire world goes up in flames. Your choice.

Bron
But won't I die either way?

Unknown
That's the booby-prize Bron. Either way you're a gonner.

Bron
But that's not fair!

Unknown
Sucks to be mortal doesn't it?

Bron
Why? What's the point?

Unknown
Come now. There doesn't have to be a point. Just think of it as a blood sacrifice. Something wonderfully Old Testament.

Bron
How long have you been doing this?

Unknown
Since the beginning Bron, but that's not important. What's your choice?

Bron
You want me to choose now?

Unknown
Sure. Why not?

Bron
But its a big decision.

Unknown
Oh I don't know. Save all your family and friends. Save Humanity. Seems like a good deal all round.

Bron
But all these people.

Unknown
Yeh. Sucks to be them.

Bron
How long do I have?

Unknown
Five minutes. Tops. Then everything is going to get toasty.

Unknown
Come on Bron. Need an answer. Time's a'wasting.

Unknown
Bron. Waiting. Gotta go and pick up my dry cleaning.

Unknown
Ground control to Major Bron. Answer please.

Bron
What's the loophole?

Unknown
What?

Bron
Well. If you're a Demon then you work for THE Devil, right?

Unknown
Kind of. More an out-sourcing deal but technically you could say that.

Bron
Just thinking. If you're a Demon then you have rules.

Unknown
What?

Bron
You have rules, don't you.

Unknown
Yes.

Bron
Well, Wasn't the Devil kind of like God's Attorney before he fell.

Unknown
Where did you read that?

Bron
Wikipedia. Googled it first though.

Unknown
So?

Bron
It just occurs to me that if the Devil has a legal background then he would have wanted to protect himself.

Unknown
What from?

Bron
Unemployment of course.

Unknown
What do you mean.

Bron
Well, I have no intention of setting off a bomb. That is just not going to happen. I won't kill anybody. If the Apocalypse starts it will be because of you. Not me.

Unknown
You're not playing the game Bron, and you're starting to piss me off.

Bron
Too bad. Seems to me that if the Apocalypse is triggered everything ends. No Earth. No Humanity. No fun. Right?

Unknown
Yes.

Bron
No Mayhem. No Trauma. No good pizza or fresh air either.

Unknown
Probably.

Bron
Just Judgement Day then the rest of your eternity in Hell. Yes?

Unknown
What's your point?

Bron
So why would you or the Devil want to put yourselves in that position?

Unknown
It's our job.

Bron
Yeh. Right. All that freedom to do bad and you'll just give it up?

Unknown
Where is all this coming from?

Bron
I think you picked the wrong mortal. I have no intention of playing the game.

Unknown
But if you don't Humanity will end. Today.

Bron
Sad business, but if I'm going to die regardless its not my problem. 

Bron
What's the loophole? I know there must be one. You've got 5 minutes.

Unknown
I'll get back to you.

Bron
Waiting.

Bron
Need an answer.

Bron
Chop. Chop.

Unknown
This is unexpected.

Bron
What's the loophole?

Unknown
Geezaloo. The only way you don't have to choose is by giving your seat to another. Technically you are then excused from the game.

Bron
And what happens to that person?

Unknown
They play the game instead.

Bron
You sure about that?

Unknown
Yes.

Bron
Great. I see an old guy who needs a window seat. My stops coming up. Don't contact me again.

Harrington
Where are you?

Bron
Just got off the train.

Harrington
What holding you up. Need an ETA. Meeting's in 20.

Bron
Sorry. Got delayed by a passenger.

Harrington
Everything OK?

Bron
Yeh. Another Demon tried it on. Don't know why they insist on picking lawyers.

Harrington
That's the third one this year.

Bron
I know. Could be one of Abaddon's lot. Send out an email to staff. Can't have anyone being caught unawares.

Bron
And everybody better stay off the trains for a few weeks as well. Just to be safe.

Harrington
Done.

Harrington
Clients are waiting in room 4.

Bron
Be there in 5.


THE END

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