My mouth sputtered and more blood fell on the hardwood floor and my hands that were trying to support my weight. I tightly closed my eyes and opened them in hopes that my vision would become less blurry, but it didn't help. With what strength I had left I tried to look at Jake, my childhood friend, and current attacker. He seemed so kind when we first reunited that it was almost difficult to believe that the man brandishing a baseball bat was the same man who rang my doorbell only a few months ago.
"John, now think hard. Are you sure you've tried everyone?"
I knew it wasn't the right answer, but it was the honest one. "Yes, Jake. Yes." He moved like he was going to take another swing at my head with the bat, so I closed my eyes, but felt his steel toed boots on my ribs instead.
"John." His voice elvevated, "John, I don't want to do this to you, but you need more people. You wanted to make money, right?"
"Yeah." My ribs screamed, and a stream of blood fell from my lips like syrup.
"Alright then. You want money, I want money. The way for us to get more money, is for you to get more people."
Tears welled up in my eyes as my brain searched its catalog of names. Nothing came. My chin began to quiver, "I can't think..." His bat stopped my jaw short of finishing.
"John." He was shouting now, "I'm not gonna let you finish that sentence. Who else do you know? Imaging how hard it was for me to think of you. Now, think hard. Who else is there?"
When he came to my home that first time, it was just after I'd lost my job. I hadn't shaved in weeks. I didn't see a point when I never got any interviews. His smile was so warm, his laugh so inviting, and when he said "It's not a pyramid scheme." it sounded too genuine not to be a part of. Of course, I'd never heard of a pyramid scheme turning out this way.