[PI] The Government puts out a notice, and you, a random citizen have been selected. If you survive for another 10 years everyone in the world gets $10,000. However, if someone kills you in the next 9 years and 364 days they alone get $10,000,000.
9 years, 364 days. “That’s all you have to do,” said the man with the black suit. I remember that day…and I remember how wrong I was. See, the thing is, you can’t give humans too much credit for being ethical beings. That was my mistake. One would think that the common good was more important than individual gain, but 21 assassination attempts have blown that theory out of the water. Almost 10 years ago today (9 years 358 days, to be exact) I was selected to be the subject for an upcoming social experiment of sorts. They told me that if I could survive for 10 years, everyone in the world gets 10 grand. Pretty simple, right? Well, turns out that if I get killed, my murderer gets 10 million. If that wasn’t bad enough, this was all common knowledge after about a week. The first time was one of the closest calls. I sat in my living room, a bowl of chips in my hand, scrolling through the comedy section of Netflix, not really hoping to find much, my mind elsewhere. I’d spent the last few days thinking about my upcoming ordeal. I was pretty sure that there would be mobs of people protecting me, each with the hopes of receiving what was essentially free money. While I sat, pondering the morality of humanity, I heard a knock at my door. This was odd, as I’m not really what you call an extrovert, and what friends I did have weren’t known for visitation in person. As I was starting to get up, I heard the doorknob rattle, and later something slamming into it. A wave of fear rushed over me. I sprang from the couch and moved to the window, where I could see the soon-to-be assailant at my doorstep. He was holding a chainsaw. A FREAKING CHAINSAW! “This is not happening,” I thought, remembering scenes from campy horror movies I’d seen, except that this was real. I slowly backed into my kitchen, still facing the window, and reached back behind me to the drawer where our rolling pin was kept. Grabbing a knife that was laying on the cutting board next to an uncut apple which I had abandoned for the aforementioned chips, I proceed slowly back towards the door. Chainsaw guy wasn’t there. Just as my mind began to register that there was a man lurking around my house with what could likely be a deadly weapon, I heard the revving sound of the blade from behind me; it was followed by the sound of wood splintering. My back door. I ran through my kitchen towards the back door to confront the intruder. He was standing in my doorway, spinning blade in his hands. “Nothing personal,” he said, and lunged at me. I tripped backwards over a rogue shoe that was likely kicked from the mat near the door as a tried to backpedal away. He swung the chainsaw again and I attempted to hold him off with my rolling pin. The chainsaw, which is meant for cutting through wooden material, subsequently sheared my failed attempt at self defense in half. I retreated into the kitchen and positioned myself on the opposite side of the island and tried to throw anything that I could at the man who was threatening my very existence. In my frantic attempt to lob a dish in the sink towards him, I turned on the faucet, and felt water rush over my forearm. Water that was slowly heating up. We stood, in a stalemate for a matter of seconds, when I started to talk. “Look man, I don’t know who you are, but just slow down and think about what you’re doing. I can cut you a deal, pay you out of pocket if you want…” “Yeah, that'll work,” the sarcastic side of my conscience snorted, but there was already water vapor rising from the sink. “Uh huh, sure,” said my attacker, "I could let you go. But this is much easier.” At that moment, I turned, grabbed the side sprayer from the sink, and blasted the bastard with 120 degree water. He was caught off guard, and moved his hands up to protect his face. By doing this, he exposed my real target. I aimed directly for his fingers as he stepped towards me and after his first two steps, he faltered, water still spraying his hands, and dropped the chainsaw. With the power tool still sitting on the ground, I was able to deliver a swift punch to the face, grab the cutting board on the counter, and deliver a powerful blow to his head. I promptly pissed myself. Since the first attempt on my life, I’ve hired a personal security service, with promises to pay them handsomely. They’re a good team of guys. Rick, the leader, and one of the other security guards, Ben, both served in the military, and the other three (Trevor, Paul, and Andy) have had 20 years experience in the field. They've saved me from a car bomb, 3 men with guns, a sniper, and many other tactics. With six days left, I sat in the bunker (which was really just a fortified basement) with my security detail, and waited out the last stretch while eating my third MRE of the day (I don’t get out much anymore, or rather, I get out even less). The minutes tick by, the hands of my five year old watch seeming to move as fast as snails covered in cement. I sleep. Five days later, I can count on one hand how many hours I have left. Four. I think about how stress-free things will be now. Now three. What if I become a celebrity just for being alive? Two. “That’d be cool,” I mutter to myself. One. The anticipation is killing me, thankfully not literally. 15 minutes. Almost there. I check my watch. The time is now noon on May 17th, 2027, exactly ten years since my initiation into this program. I walk up the stairs, ignoring my now obsolete security detail, and open my door to take the first breath of fresh air in about a month (I held out in my basement for the home stretch). “The world is good today,” I say, and yell back to Rick, the leader of my five-man bodyguard unit, that the coast is clear and he is officially relieved of duty. I joyfully tell him that he and his crew are no longer required to fight off the lunatics and trained gun nuts that have assailed me over the past ten years. I thank him for how faithfully he and his men have served me, and I commend his loyalty to the contract (I half expected them to turn on me, but a deal is a deal, and at least some people will honor it). Rick returns the favor by putting two shots into my chest. As I slowly lose consciousness, blood pouring from the wound in my torso, I hear one of the other men ask, “Rick, what the hell was that? We missed our chance, he dismissed us at the same time the government reward would have been terminated! I’m about ready to avenge the poor guy, you dumbass!” “Calm down Ben,” I hear Rick say, my vision slowly fading,”we didn’t miss our chance at all. I set the idiot’s watch forward an hour last night.” Well, shit.