Scott figured the dart would hit him square in the forehead. As he watched it arc in from his roommate’s finger tips he bandied about the various options as to how he could affect the outcome of this foolish bet. He wanted the money, but he thought for sure that the ophthalmologist’s fees would use up most of his winnings from the wager, no matter which eye he forfeited, …$15,000 for the left, $25,000 for the right. He wasn’t sure how he’d established their values. He just felt right-eyed, so tacked another ten grand on for that one. Even so, he guessed that treating a punctured eyeball would cost at least ten. He wasn’t sure, though, so he had to think fast. The dart was just about at apogee and he needed at least fifteen grand. That meant right eye, but didn’t leave much margin.
Taking it in the forehead brought in only 10K, but that didn’t seem worth the trouble. He was pretty sure there’d be no medical costs at all, so his winnings would be free and clear. Heck, unless old Richie really put his arm into it, the damn thing would probably bounce off his thick skull and just leave a nasty red welt with a hole in it, like one of those massive zit’s he used to get when he was a teenager. He knew his skin was so mottled and slack these days that another blemish would hardly be noticeable.
If Scott could catch the damn thing in his mouth, that was $30,000. He’d done something like that once back in college. One of his classmates had tossed him an apple from across the student kitchen and, instead of reaching for it, he’d just shifted his head to one side a bit, stretched out his neck and, pop, there it was in his mouth with his teeth already halfway through the first bite. It hadn’t even hurt that much, not that he’d admitted to any pain at all. His place in the class of ’47 Hall of Fame was assured after that feat and it only took about a week for his front teeth to stop wobbling in his mouth.
At least this was one of those high class darts with a fairly fine brass ferrule holding in the tip and weighting its flight. He thought his dentures would stand up to it without too much damage. Coupla hundred bucks for repairs. No problem as long as he bit down before it skewered his tongue or lodged in his epiglottis. That’d be one heck of a sore throat, but the thought of those feathers sticking out of his mouth like a missing canary made him want to laugh.
It looked like Richie was going to get fairly close, close enough for Scott to jig his head one way or the other, up or down to catch the dart. That was part of the deal. Scott was standing in front of the dart board in the game room and if the dart didn’t at least come within it’s circumference, Scott got five thousand bucks and Richie could buy another $5000 try, three tries max. Richie was pretty good at darts, the best in the home, so Scott didn’t think it would come to that.
Nervous? No, not really. When you were well into your nineties, physical trauma wasn’t much of a burden. Heck, he was already missing his prostate and had two stainless steel hips. What would a punctured eyeball or a perforated tongue matter. Take some more aspirin, that’s all.
But that upgrade to his casket would be a real feather in his cap and Richie had the money to spare. Richie had outlived all his kids and still controlled his own bank account. That was funny. They wouldn’t let him drive a car anymore, but spending a car’s worth of cash of a foolish bet was right down his alley. Hah! Thirty thousand would hardly even buy cheap mid-size these days. Richie could afford this.
Yeah, solid brass handles, silk lining, teak case. That’d be the cat’s meow. His kids wouldn’t spring for that stuff. “It’ll just get buried in the dirt,” said his eldest, the executor of his estate. “What a waste! I could pay my youngest’s first year of tuition with that money.”
So when Richie had wagered a bet that Scott wouldn’t stand in front of the dart board and give him three shots at hitting the outer ring, Scott jumped at the chance and sweetened the pot. They’d been sitting up in their beds in their shared room. The last of the evening’s I Love Lucy reruns had ended and they’d been left with some sort of Home Shopping Network drivel. Scott actually wanted to stay up and watch it, but couldn’t afford to buy anything anyway. He was reaching for the reclining bed’s controller to lower his legs and let his back down a bit when Richie spoke up.
“I’m bored, Scott. How about a little fun?”
“Hmph. Whaddya got in mind there, buddy?”
“Darts!” said Richie, and that’s where it had started.
One thing led to another and they’d soon both slid out of bed and into their motorized chairs. Richie had pole position by default because his bed was closest to the door, but jockeying for the lead down the hall, Scott’s souped up Jazzy model passed on the inside of the last turn and won the race to the game room. This was all strictly against the rules of The House, of course. Neither one of them cared about that, but they had to hurry. Some nurse or other would surely come ‘round sooner rather than later and spoil their fun.