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complexity

"Water?"

The faucet hisses. There's too much air in the pipes and the spray sputters. The glass grudgingly fills. "You're gonna mop that up. Did you eat? Idiot."

The idiot drinks. Adam's apple bobs reciprocally with the remaining water. He breathes through flaring nostrils, exhaling once. "They don't tell... I didn't think... I have a head ache..." the air gushes out as he falls into a cross-legged sit. "I've lost my lunch and my balance."

"This was your first spin? Unfortunate timing." The host pulls a firearm from the small of his back. The action is smaller than a whisper in church, but the cylindrical extrusion speaks volumes. "What's the password?"

"Such a simple game... call and response. False response closes a gate. True response opens a door. Who tends the database, you think?"

Safety clicks off. "Password. Now."

"I'm a fan of game theory. Used to be. Some games have discrete victory conditions. Others are more ambiguous. Maybe the players win. Maybe the game wins. Collabs, they're called."

"Why do you care?"

"Whole lot of money being invested to spin us up and deploy us. Whole lotta resources. You... me... What kinda game do you think we're playing?"

"I don't care."

"You should care."

"I don't."

"Then you're dead."

"Was that a threat?"

"No. You asked me for the password. Indicating you don't know."

"Know what?"

"There ain't a game can't be cheated, so long you don't care about getting caught." The cheap apartment door blows open and the host's double walks into the room. The bullet catches the host in the temple before he can bring his weapon around.

"Reckless optimism. Six."

"Sunset at the pier. Summer 1993."

He places an empty glass in the sink and leaves with himself.