0:00:04 into broadcast
His alarm clock - red, angry digits - glared at him, spelling out 4:17, one little red light flickering beside the AM on the side of the clock. He rubbed his free hand over his four days growth of stubble, bringing thumb and forefinger to rub at tired, shadowed eyes as his other hand clutched a cell phone to his ear.
Dude. Wake up, man.
Chuck? he asked blearily, blindly searching for his bedside lamp. Fumbling, he managed to flick the switch on, sit up in bed, rub his hand over his face again.
This had better be really-
Shut up, Bill. Have you checked the hub?
A pause, as Bill eased the knot in his right shoulder, frowning at the ceiling. The words meant something to him, woke an anxiety, a fear, in him that had long remained dormant.
He stilled on the bed, his voice strained. Not since the end of the last time.
Check the hub. Its started again.
Bill stared at the phone. His clock. His hand.
Fuck if I know. But the bettings opening in two hours, and the streams are- key tapping sounded through the phone, a few clicks - live for five minutes and thirty two seconds.
Bill remained silent, his fingers tightening on the phone.
Bill, seriously man. You need to get in on this. You need to make up for-
I dont need to make up for shit, Chuck.
Chuck paused, and Bill could almost see him stepping back, circling, looking for a new angle of approach. Okay, fair enough. But you know people on the hub still blame you for Polanski, right?
Look, I know it wasnt your fault that you bet on a losing horse, and it wasnt yours that she got everyone elses horse blown to shit. But you need to turn it around, now. Think of the cash to be made, man. Think of Rays smug fucking face when you beat him this time. You know hes still gloating over picking the Russian out of a fucking hat?
Bill scratched his ear, sighed. Threw the covers off of his legs.
Does Ray know?
Hes having phone trouble - apparently some genius hacked his Android, made it so he doesnt get Hub updates.
Would this genius also have happened to give me advance notice?
The very same genius, as a matter of fact.
Bill made his way to his laptop, booted it up. Ill have my picks to you in an hour.
Six thirty, the betting opens. Chat opens up at seven. Id take a look at stream B040 - kids fucking huge.
One hour, Chuck.
Bill hung up his phone, opened up his browser, typed in an IP address, a username, a password.
The Hub suddenly flared to life on his monitor, the screen filling with live feeds. In the corner, a chat room blinked past, rapid fire discussion ranging from sympathy to anger to excitement to despair. Someone asked how they could live with themselves - how they could gamble on childrens lives.
Someone else allcapsd that they were going to hell.
Bill minimized the chat.
Slipped on his glasses.
Cracked his knuckles.
Bill got to work.