Chapter 8: I’m Back Bitches!
The unsurmountable enemies from his memory were nowhere to be seen. Instead, there were two poor blokes. They were somewhat muscular, but it was nowhere near steel. Their black clothes showed signs of wear and traces of dirt.
They seemed so unguarded at that instant, both nonchalantly sitting. They didn’t wear any gloves, leaving fingerprints all over the place. They didn’t have any weapons, apparently only relying on their fists for the job.
The worst was probably the guy lazily playing a game on his phone, letting the intimidation job to his partner. These guys were no killers, heck they probably didn’t know how to fight! If they were this sloppy, there was no way their boss could be that great either.
Jack felt silly. Memories were often subjective, but only now did he realize the extent. He even began lowly chuckling in relief until this laughter turned into a full-blown giggle.
The man on his phone raised his eyes upward, sneering. “What’s wrong with him? Is he retarded or something?!”
The old man was at a loss, for he knew full well how brilliant his adoptive son was. He didn’t know what he was up to, but he tried playing along: “Something like that….” He sighed heavily.
“Talk about a dumbass! I bet he doesn’t even realize what’s going on right now!” The cellphone mob ridiculed Jack once more.
They then all ignored the “retard”. Jack shook his head at how garbage they were until he reached his destination, the kitchen sink.
—Acquired a kitchen knife!—
The rest was the fun part. Jack confidently walked in, approached Bad guy B that was playing Flappy Ducks, and plunged his knife deeply into each legs in succession. The man’s face changed as he felt the endless pain. But, it was so sudden that he froze for a wonderful instant.
Then came the screams, screams worthy of a calf being slaughtered. Blood began pissing out: all over the man, the chair, and the floor. It was a sight to behold for sure!— Not that Jack was looking.
Bad guy A heard his colleague bawling in agony and turned his head. He was then nicely greeted with the sharp, shiny tip of a bloodstained knife. His eyes bulged as he wanted to recoil in fright, but a steady hand held his head in place.
Jack turned toward the screaming dumbass, threw him a few towels, and warned him: “If you don’t shut up, I’ll open a few holes in your neck too. Now, put some pressure on the wound, and don’t disturb us.” That rendered him silent.
Jack then turned to the guy he was still holding.
“Now, why don’t we have a friendly little chat, just you and me? What do you say? ” Jack grinned as he spoke gently, without a trace of anger.
“P-please! D-don’t k-kill me! I-I h-have a wife —” He stammered, panicking.
“A wife and kids? Great! They’re not ‘widow and orphans’ just yet. How lucky!”
The old man interrupted: “Jack, I really owe them money! They aren’t bandits. It’s thanks to them that I….” But Jack had gestured him to shut up.
Their true intentions didn’t matter, not to him. What mattered was the result. The old man had died because of their intimidation in the past…or was it the future?
The terrified man began begging once more.
“P-please! I’m just—”
“Just here to destroy my family. Yes, I understand that. Now, why don’t you do a little something for me?” Jack didn’t show any sympathy.
“A-anything! I’ll do anything!” He cried out hurriedly.
“I like your enthusiasm. Why don’t you tell me a little more about that boss of yours?”
“Y-yes, He’s called Darius and….” Bad guy A spilled it all.
The more he talked, and the more at ease Jack felt. The big scary boss of his memories turned out to be a third-rate tyrant with a fourth-rate crew. Hell, he was even posing as a Roombot seller by day, the tiny robots that cleaned one’s house.
“Now, why don’t you reach into your pocket and call your boss?” Jack ordered calmly.
“So, how did it go? Did that stingy guy pay? It’s already been two years. I really can’t afford to wait anymore! So?” An impatient voice resounded.
“B-boss, we fucked up. W-we fucked up big time!” The goon’s voice oozed with horror.
“What do you mean?!” Darius asked anxiously.
Jack picked up the phone with a convivial tone, one that didn’t fit a tense situation at all.
“Darius, Darius, Darius. Why do you sound so worried? It’s not like they’re dead…Not yet anyway.”
“W-who are you?! W-what happened to my men?” There was apparent fear in his tone.
“I heard you sell cleaning robots. Talk about a great coincidence! There is so much blood here! Your guy really made a mess. Ah, will one be enough?” Jack seemed to be describing a mundane problem.
“W-who are you?! W-what are you talking about?!” He felt extremely uncomfortable.
“Now, tell me, Darius. Do you believe in repaying one’s debt?” Jack kept the friendly conversational tone.
“Do you believe in repaying one’s debt! As a loan shark, you probably do. Am I right?”
“Y-yes, of course.”
“Great. First of all, let’s talk about your debt. You’ve sent two of your men to disrupt my peaceful life: one did a boring presentation while the other kicked my front door and bled all over the place. Are you in agreement that as their boss you have to take responsibility for this?”
“There’s no way that!—” Darius protested.
Jack addressed the two thugs, making sure their boss overheard the conversation:
“Bad news, guys. Your boss says he’s not responsible for you anymore. Guess you’ll die.” He shrugged.
“Please no!” Goon A begged.
“We’re sorry. Please let us go!” Goon B followed suit.
“Wait! Wait! Let them go!” Darius shouted through the phone.
“Oh, you changed your mind? Great! I’ll send you an account number. Just send 2000 Credits as compensation. Oh, and a Roombot!”
“Fine!” Darius was loudly grinding his teeth.
Ding-Ding, as soon as Jack confirmed the reception of the payment, he smiled.
“Great. Now, this is settled. You said something about the old man’s debt, right? You’re going to draft us a contract for a debt transfer, that is if you ever want to get paid. Let’s meet later to finalize the small details.” Jack proposed.
“Fine. But, who are you?!” Darius asked, sighing.
“Someone who you would rather have as a friend.” Jack confidently replied.
“No, seriously. Who are you? I need a name for the debt transfer….”
There was a short awkward moment of silence.
“….Jack, Jack O’Neil.”
Jack happily waved the thugs away. They wanted nothing more than to leave and kept checking behind them in fear that he would change his mind.
The old man slowly approached: “What the heck was that?!”
“You know, just taking care of a problem. Oh right, before I forget.” Jack headed toward a specific drawer in the kitchen. Under it, there was a hidden envelope that he instantly opened.
“Wait, that’s important! It’s—” The old man cried out.
“Your life insurance policy, right? It’s the one that expires tomorrow night: The one that pays enough credits to solve your debt, for Lilly to attend University and to keep her mom alive a little longer, right?”
“H-how did you know?!” The old man asked, astounded. He had done everything he could to keep it a secret.
“It doesn’t matter.” Jack took out a lighter and set it ablaze.
“Stop! What are you doing?!”
“Making sure you don’t die, old man. Don’t worry. Money won’t be a problem from now on. Promise me that you won’t do anything stupid: Lilly needs you, and so do I.” Jack stared at him meaningfully.
“Fine, I promise. But how do you plan on…?” The old man showed worry.
“Pro-gaming. You’ve seen how I’ve handled the guys before? It’s all from VR fighting training. Look, you can’t tell anyone, but some eccentric rich guy has recruited me to join his guild in Infinite.”
“VR? Infinite? Don’t try to fool me! When was the last time you even had time to play games?! Why would someone recruit you out of the blue?!”
“Old man, Infinite isn’t any regular game. Some tests can determine how well one can control a virtual avatar. I just happened to pass one with flying colors. These tests are still super secretive, but I’m sure it will be all over the news in a few months.”
The old man said, but he didn’t understand — at all. Still, he felt Jack’s confidence. This whole thing felt exceptionally far stretched, but so was the youngster going all Pro-Assassin mode on the debt collectors. He even had gotten money from them! How?!
“Goodnight, old man. Tomorrow will be a great day: I can feel it! Infinite is launching, I’ll officially become a pro-gamer, and you’ll be alive to see it.” Jack happily said.
Jack still had no idea how he had come back in time, but he wouldn’t miss this opportunity. No matter if this was real or the afterlife, he would clear all the regrets from his past life.
This time he would live.
This life would be a good one.
Burning the insurance policy was more symbolic than anything. The old man had a copy for sure and so did the insurance company. Even as I regretted what he had done, I never hated him for it. He had done it for us to have a better life. This time around, I would be the one shouldering the burden.
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