He woke to the unmistakable sound of a shotgun being loaded. Before he could open his eyes, there was a shot; it had grazed his shoulder. He suddenly broke into a roll, a straight line for the shooter. He knocked him hard in the legs and pushed the gun aside with his left hand while breaking the shooter’s nose with his right. He popped open the mag to check the amount of remaining bullets then shot the shooter four times, one in each thigh and foot. He clicked on the safety and kept the gun as a baton.
9 hours earlier:
Smiling as he admired his clean finish, the bathroom door opened. Everything about him was crisp, vibrant and perfect. His suit crafted from the finest Italian fabrics, every stitch was purposeful. His tie hung nonchalantly, sitting just below an unfastened top button. His cashmere knit tie was just the right length, and his smile reflected light in the mirror. He strolled out of the bathroom sat down and made the hand gestures to be dealt in. There was a subtle language at the table. Not a spoken language, but one understood by all of the participants. Every movement of the hand, quiver of the lip, glance of the eye, sip of the drink, meant something. Every detail including the tick of an opponent’s watch was noticed. This was the grandest casino in the world: Monte Carlo. European royalties sat around table laughing over million dollar games of baccarat, poker and blackjack, all wearing the most expensive clothing, driving the most expensive cars, and having the most exclusive social groups. The only reason he was here was because he had earned a spot at the table. One month of training and he was ready. He had the manners of them, spoke their language, and understood the games. He sipped his drink while checking the time and eyeballing the dealer who appeared to be slightly intoxicated, not at all severely, but too much so to be dealing. The dealer loosened his bow-tie and continued; and that’s when it all started.
He went from calmly playing blackjack at the table, to stealing a Ducati, to sliding onto the last train to Barcelona. He thought he was safe; after the six hour train ride, he assumed that he was finished. As he exited the train at the central train station in Barcelona, something was wrong. He could feel it, sense it; the man watching him was wrong. His watch wasn’t ticking; that could only mean one thing. He broke into a sprint, but it didn’t make a difference. He was sniped within seconds, knocked out cold by a tranquilizing dart. He woke to the unmistakable sound of a shotgun being loaded. Before he could open his eyes, there was a shot; it had grazed his shoulder. He suddenly broke into a roll, a straight line for the shooter. He knocked him hard in the legs and pushed the gun aside with his left hand while breaking the shooter’s nose with his right. He popped open the mag to check the amount of remaining bullets then shot the shooter four times, one in each thigh and foot. He clicked on the safety and kept the gun as a baton. He rushed out of the room to find himself on a roof. Just then more men came from behind him and forced him onto a helicopter. The helicopter ascended, and the man was held over the edge.
“Fuckn’ Yankee! You think you can steal from us! You need a whole fuckn’ army if you’re gonna steal from us! Fuckn’ dog mehn.”
“I didn’t steal anything,” he said calmly. “I swear to god.”
“You pieca shit, then you’d better be swearing to me.”
I am Ryan Thompson. I’m one of the most elite card counters in the world. This isn’t the first time my life has been threatened, but the only way to conquer death is to stare it straight in the eyes and develop a fear of it. Any man claiming not to fear death will be dead within days. As this surged through my head in a matter of milliseconds, I was hurled into the open air and began falling at an increasingly fast rate. I was able to take off my jacket and wrap the sleeves around my wrists. Suddenly I saw it, no coincidence; I had jumped intentionally in this direction from the copter. It was a telephone pole. For a fraction of a second, I let go of the left sleeve of my jacket and then grabbed it again. I was sliding incredibly fast, but I had made it. I let go of the jacket and fell a fatal 25 feet, breaking my ankle. Within minutes I had checked into the top floor of a hotel, using false identification of course. There was a pounding on my door. It was them; they had found me. Saying one last prayer, I was hurled out of the window overlooking the sea.
I guess now would be the time to say that the character you’re reading about does not exist. I’m an elite, level 5 security, international spy. I am number one on the wanted lists of over 50 different countries, 13 different mobs, banned from 300 casinos, and an international threat to every country in the entire world. These kind of things, the adventure with card counting, helicopters, and being thrown out of the top floor of a hotel, are routine for me. This kind of so called adventure is an ordinary 12 hours of my life.
As I’m falling, I smile and wait for it. I tense my muscles and brace for the impact. I had again pushed off the glass at a very particular angle. I land sliding onto a 70 foot canopy that extends on a marble dock 50 feet into the water. I fall into the water and crash loudly. I blank out for a second but blink. Soon I cannot arise; they will see me. I run over my options and then it hits me. I swim quickly to a couple about to take off on a speed boat. I get to the front and hang onto the underbelly so the passengers cannot see me. I didn’t know where this boat would take me and I didn’t know how I was getting home tomorrow, but I didn’t care. Wherever it did, there would be trouble- my kind of trouble.
Scott Newman, Age 14, Grade 8, Trinity School, Silver Key