Dead Dogs Don't Roll Over
Written by: Alex Sandell

Chapter 31
So, This is What Hell's Like?

When I walk into the office, I’m greeted by far more than the smiling Paul Connor that I expected. Paul Connor is there, but he’s flanked by three security guards, and the owner of the casino, an angry looking Larry Hunt.

I try taking a deep breath and only end up making a squawking sound. My palms begin sweating so fiercely that I start worrying that I may die of dehydration. The security guards just have to be the most ominous people that "Broken Arrow" has ever employed. I have never even seen them working in the casino. I wonder if they have them hidden away in a box and only take them out for special occasions. I notice that both of them are wearing a gun.

Then there's Larry himself, his eyes are as red as an albino rodent’s and his face is hard as stone. He doesn't greet me when I walk in the door and he turns away when I attempt to shake his hand. Even Paul Connor looks scarier than usual. His eyes seem to have sunken in since I saw him yesterday. His expression seems to be saying, "I'm glad I'm not in your shoes, boy." My throat lets out another squeak as I sit down.

"Have a seat," Richard commands sarcastically, immediately after I’ve already taken one. Pointing out how I overstepped my meager change-person boundaries by sitting down without senior worker’s approval. "Richard," Paul Connor begins, nervously pausing at least eight seconds in-between each word, "I . . . appreciate . . . your . . . bringing . . . in . . . Wayne, . . . but . . . could . . . you . . . please . . . leave . . . now?" Richard looks like a dog that just got caught shitting on the floor. Even throughout all of my nerves, I can feel a sense of triumph over watching Richard get reprimanded. He makes sure to give me one final dirty look, before leaving the office.

I sit, surrounded by two gigantic security guards, a man with more power than any one person should have, and an office manager that I'm beginning to lose faith in. I listen to my heart thudding in my chest as I wait patiently for whatever is about to come next. Paul is the first to take a stab at explaining what’s happening.

"We've . . . got . . . a . . . problem . . ." Paul begins, before being cut off by Larry Hunt. "It's less a problem," Larry begins, "then it is a conceeeern." It takes me about thirty seconds before I realize that my superiors have decided that it is my turn to speak. "AnD wHat COnCeRn iS thAT?" I ask, my voice trembling so badly, it sounds like I'm driving a Volkswagen Bug over the surface of the world's biggest waffle iron.

After what seems like an hour of silence, Mr. Hunt answers my question. "`Broken Arrow' prides itself on its state of the art security. If you look over my shoulder, you'll see Sir Edward and Bubba, two of `Broken Arrows' top security men. If you look above their heads, you'll see three security cameras attached to this very ceiling. These cameras are videotaping every thing in this room. If you look to you left, you will see a plant; inside of that plant is a state of the art bugging system. It is recording all that I’m saying in this room, all that has been said, and whatever comes out next . . ." Larry stops a moment to crack his knuckles, ". . . and what I’ve just pointed out to you is only the tip of our security iceberg. Let me inform you, Mr. Ziekel, you are sitting in a entertainment fortress. You cannot whisper a vulgarity without offending thousands of mechanical ears. You cannot pick your nose without getting a detailed photograph of your snot put into the security files. So, after hearing all that I've told you, do you have anything you would like to reveal, before I get to the specific reason that I’ve called you here today?"

I look around at all the cold, inquiring eyes that are staring down at me. I look to the cameras that are staring down at them. I look to the once innocent plant that rests against the wall and grimace at the thought of its robotic ears. Every squeak, every fart, every smile, and every cry that has ever emanated from my body has been recorded. There's nothing that I can hide. Still, I decide to hide almost everything.

"Well, okay, I admit it," I say in a meager, hollow voice, "I went down to the locker room with my change-apron on." I look around to see if anyone has loosened up, they only look all the more angry. I continue with my minor confession, "it was all an accident. I didn't realize that I was still wearing my apron. By the way, now that I have the chance to talk to you in person, do you think you could possibly scrounge up the cash to buy a couple more carts? We’re always running out, and those aprons get really heavy." I’m amazed over what I just said. If I were a more limber person, I would have kicked myself in the head. In the middle of being interrogated by the CEO of one of the world’s largest casinos, I decide to put in a request. Doh! Larry Hunt doesn’t bother to answer.

Once again, the office becomes silent. All you can hear is the hum of the central-air. Paul breaks down and shatters the strangely relaxing quiet. "Is . . . that . . . all . . . you . . . have . . . to . . . tell . . . us, Wayne?" I open my mouth and nearly tell everyone about the strange encounters that I've had with my dead guardian angel/Dalmatian, and the crazy gay ghost that grabbed my butt inside of my locker room bag. The audio monitors must have my half of the conversations I've had with the dead Dalmatian recorded. Is that why I'm being interrogated? Has my strange behavior caused "Broken Arrow's" upper echelon to think I'm insane? I close my mouth and look down to the floor.

Paul looks let down and Larry looks deceived. It is Larry that finally lets me in on what the problem is. "Well, Mr. Ziekel, if that is all that you have to confess, I am forced to tell you exactly why you've been called into this office, although I'm sure that you already know." I decide to inject one final comment on my behalf. "You can rest assured, sir, that I have no idea, whatsoever, why I've been called here." I am dumbfounded over my usage of the words "sir" and "whatsoever," both within a single sentence. These change-reaping Nazis just might scare me into adulthood, yet.

Larry exhales violently, in a Richard like manner, and Paul shakes his head. "Well then, Mr. Ziekel, you are a liar." I become more and more frightened with Larry’s every word. "You have discovered a secret about our fine gaming establishment that even the F.B.I failed to uncover. How do you get the nerve to even attempt to tell me that you have nothing more to confess than wearing an apron into the basement? You insult me, Mr. Ziekel!"

At this point Larry Hunt is standing right in my face and screaming at me. "How did you find it out, Mr. Ziekel? You're nothing more than a peasant, one of the small cogs shoved into the gigantic wheel that keeps `Broken Arrow' turning. How in the hell did you do it, Mr. Ziekel?" My voice shakes out a frightened "you can call me, Wayne, sir." It is very distressing to find that, even at the probable hour of my death, I am still a moron.

Larry begins hyperventilating. Sir Edward hands him a spray bottle that I figure must be used for asthma. Larry Hunt sucks in a few deep breaths and hands the spray bottle back to Edward.

Suddenly, like a large spray of vomit that you've held in too long, Mr. Hunt blurts out the reason that I have been called to the office. "Mr. Ziekel, HOW-DID-YOU-EVER-FIND-OUT-THAT-ELVIS-OWNS-THIS-CASINO?" I explode in a hideous bout of terrified laughter. I cannot even begin to believe what I am hearing. Elvis??? This can't be happening.

Bubba and Sir Edward remove their guns from their holsters. I quickly stop laughing when I see two barrels pointing at me. "Sir," I begin, unable to stop my continual use of the word "Sir," "I had no idea that Elvis" (I find myself stifling a giggle) "owns this building." Larry grabs his asthma spray from Sir Edward's right pocket. "Mr. Ziekel, YOU-ARE-A-LIAR. Seventy-four-point-seven hours ago, we recorded a conversation you had with a Mrs. Tanya Lionel, of Bemidji, Minnesota, wherein you revealed Elvis’ secret position of CEO of this casino. I have a transcription with me, would you care to look over it? Just to refresh your memory?"

I shake my head and wipe the puddles of sweat off of my palms. "Mr. Hunt, Sir, that was a made up story. Occasionally, I make stories up, just to stop myself from being bored. I realize story-telling isn't in the job description, but I really think the customers enjoy it."

"But this wasn't a story," Larry injects, as I watch the two guns get closer up to my head. "This is reality, this is the truth. What I need to know, Mr. Ziekel, is how you acquired this classified information."

I try and swallow, but only cough my saliva back up. "Really, sir, I honestly didn't know that Elvis owned this building, it was only a story." I feel the gun barrels press against opposite sides of my sweaty forehead. Larry Hunt waves the guns away from my head and gestures for me to stand up.

"Mr. Ziekel, I cannot force you to reveal your sources. What I can do is warn you that you will regret not having told me the truth." I begin to walk toward the door; I have never wanted to leave a room so badly in my life. And to think, I thought junior high was bad.

I open the door and begin walking out when Larry tells me to keep Elvis, and our conversation, to myself. I hear asthma medication spraying as the door clicks shut behind me. When I am about thirty feet from the office, I hear a static-like sound come from up above. I look up to see that it's coming from a miniature speaker located on the bottom side of a security camera. A voice spews forth from the speaker, it is Larry Hunt's, "Go ahead and exit the room, Mr. Ziekel, I just feel I should let you know . . . you'll never leave this casino again."

Go to: Chapter 32

1997 Alex Sandell but, if you're a book publisher and, you wanna get this puppy out, please get in touch with me, hand me a nice, big contract and, of course, a 12 pack of Grape Soda and maybe we can do lunch.

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