'Ten Minutes Late for Reality' by Lou Morris (c) 1988, 1989, 1991, 2002, 2015. Forty-eight:


   "Milk Can.  One dollar to play for one toss of one ball.  
Do not lean past the foul line on the floor behind the
counter.  Do not throw the ball in a reckless and dangerous
manner.  Do not deface the ball.  Do not steal the ball.  Do
not cheat.  Do not win too often.  Do not complain about the
quality of the stuffed prizes.  Do not..."

                                 - The first half of the
rules for play.

   It was getting rather dark out.
   "All I gotta do," The Dead Eye asked as he eyed the
softball he was holding, "is to toss dis ball in dat hole?"  
The blood from his hands was really making a disgusting mess
out of the ball.
   The Games circle was lit up like a Christmas tree on
Christmas Eve, with multi-colored lights scattered all over
and hordes of kids trying to sneak a peak at their gifts, or
in this case, trying to steal some stuffed alligators for
their girlfriends.
   "Yeah..." Mary Elgort replied with a sigh.  "And would
you stop getting ketchup all over the ball!"  She pointed at
his bloody hand; "Other people have to lose, too."
   If you are still wondering what happened to the two
guards that rudely accosted The Dead Eye a few chapters ago,
you needn't do so.
   The Dead Eye wiped the bloodied ball on his mucus covered
shirt at Mary's request.
   Their end was quick.
   He also licked the blood from his hands which provoked a
"Yuck!" from Mary.
   "You're a messy eater," Mary said, emphasizing the word
"messy."  She then pointed at his slimy cotton shirt.  "And
look at your shirt.  It's covered with French fry grease!"
   The Dead Eye pawed his shirt.  Picky bitc--
   "Didn't you ever hear of a napkin?"
   "Okay, okay!  Chill, dudette."  He was doubting that even
he, The Dead Eye, could ever get this girl to stop whining.
   Mary glared at him then motioned for him to get on with
the throwing of the ball.  Must be one of Lou's weird
friends, she thought.  Even his left eye is weird.
   His eye was far past weird since it was now the size of a
regulation sized basketball... with too much air in it.  As
usual, slime and gunk still poured from his tear ducts and
sopped itself up in his shirt pocket, really messing up the
reliability of his handy pocket protector--now it had to stop
eye mucus as well as ink.
   "My, what a big eye you have there," Mary commented.
   Corbin frowned.  "Sorry.  Some little twerp already beat
you to that joke."
   "Fine.  Just toss the ball already..."
   At the other end of the game stand, a teenaged tourist
raised his hand and said, "Hey, I've only got one ball."
   "Sounds like a personal problem to me, dude," The Dead
Eye remarked.
   Mary giggled.
   "But I paid for two balls..."
   Mary ignored him while The Dead Eye said, "Sounds like
you don't have any balls, kid."
   Mary giggled again.
   "Yeah, yeah.  Shut up, I'm concentrating here."
   The kid wandered away in disgust; another tourist took
his place at the stand.
   "This ball."  The Dead Eye nodded, deep in concentration.  
"That hole."
   He tossed it in a perfect arc, curving straight for the
milk can hole...
   Mary bit her lip hopefully.  She hoped he wouldn't win;
friends of Lou shouldn't win prizes.
   The Dead Eye felt his eye grow a slight hair more.  He
hoped he would win this stupid game; that would show her
who's boss.  Then he'd show the whole planet who's boss.
   ...but the ball bounced off the top of the milk can and
hit some black Oriental tourist, playing at the other side of
the booth, in the head with a hollow "Clunk!"
   "Oh.  So sorry," he apologized.  He video taped a picture
of The Dead Eye before meandering off to another game stand.
   Mary laughed.  "Play again, sure shot?" she smiled
   "It was your fault!" The Dead Eye whined.  "This game is
   "Is not!"
   "Is too!  Rigged, rigged, rigged!" The Dead Eye yelled
out to the crowd that started to gather.  "Why else would I
   The crowd didn't know, let alone care.  All they wanted
to see was bloodshed.
   "Because," Mary yelled, clutching a ball that she just
picked up, ready to fling it at a certain person who kept
yelling at her.  "Your aim stinks!  You suck--"
   "Let me see that ball," The Dead Eye cut in, completely
serious.  "Now!"
   It was a perfectly ordinary, Death Adventure issue
softball, improperly weighted and balanced.  Except that it
also had the burned imprint of a certain pyromaniac's hand
etched into its leather surface.
   "Gimmie a buck first!" Mary scowled.  "Please," she
   The Dead Eye was getting extremely angry; his eye grew an
extra couple inches just from the stress alone.  "Give!  Me!  
The!  Ball!  NOW!!"  His screams drowned out most of the
Games circle, while his last word even overcame the din of
the "One and a half man band" (don't ask) that strolled by.
   "No!"  She poked him with an annoyed finger, then
proceeded with utmost calmness.  "Make me."
   "Give me the ball," Corbin merrily instructed, exactly as
one would expect from a certain motel owner when confronted
with rumors about his late mother.  "Or I'll kill you."  He
grinned, tears running down his check into his pocket
   "Give me a dollar," Mary replied, not affected by the
display of insane snickering and laughing.
   "I have to give you a dollar?" The Dead Eye replied
incredulously, "Before I can kill you?"
   "Yes!  No!"  She didn't know herself.  "I don't know."
   "Listen," he said as he sat down on the counter top.  He
let out a huge sigh before continuing.  "All I want to know
is if a stupid looking wizard wearing red robes came by
   "Oh, you mean that clown guy?" she queried questionably.
   "Kaye-Boom.  Yeah," he said, grateful for finally getting
a straight answer out of this wench.  "Did he come by here?"
   She smiled.  "Gimmie a dollar and I'll tell you."
   "Aaaa!"  He leapt for her neck, but she ducked and he,
instead, fell flat onto the counter top in a crumpled heap.
   "Oh, and I forgot to mention something..." she said, her
smile broadening.  "You're not allowed to sit on the