Rolf was in big trouble. He had to pay the debt before day’s end — or face the consequences. Desperately, he phoned everyone he could think of.
But he’d trod that road too many times before. No one was willing to yet again pay off the loans he’d taken out with the local street-corner banker, Tony “Crowbar” Perchance.
They knew he’d only borrow more to finance his addiction to playing baccarat at the local casino.
Rolf has an inflated opinion of his baccarat skills.
“Iʼm ready for a good run,” heʼd said that morning to one acquaintance as he pleaded for money. No luck.
His last hope had been Meriam Mir, an immigrant from the Torres Strait Islands with whom he’d formed a close bond — they both loved free-fall skydiving. But Meriam was out of town.
And Rolf was out of time, out of options and out of luck.
But he still had his instinct for survival.
He sold his guitar, which he’d vowed he’d never do, and bought a bus ticket to a remote place across the country in Washington state, in the drylands.
Upon arriving, he still had enough money to get a few basic supplies. Then he left the small town on foot, walking far into the surrounding desert. All his friends know now is that he’s “somewhere over that ridge” and living in an old prospector’s shack.
He should be safe there. The only ones he can find to play baccarat with are rabbits and rattlers.