by Will Burgess
Here’s how this works. I have a gun here in my right hand – no, don’t get up – stay right there, I know it’s hard to believe but I think you’ll like where this is going. Anyway, I’m holding the gun – a six chambered revolver actually – and in my left hand are five bullets. Yes I know you can’t see, you’ll just have to trust me. Do you know how a revolver works? The bullets are loaded into six chambers, mounted in a circle. Once the gun is cocked, one of these bullets will line up with the barrel. After this round has been discharged, the circle rotates to the next chamber and the second bullet is ready to be fired.
So here’s the plan: I’m going to load the gun so that, you’ve guessed it, one chamber will remain empty. I will then randomly spin the chambers, cock the gun and fire at your head, Russian roulette style. Please sit down, I know how nervous you must be feeling about this, in fact I’d go so far as to say you hate me right now, but believe it or not there is a point to this. Contrary to first impressions, I’m not a madman. Where was I? Oh yes, so I’m going to fire the gun at your head. You’ve probably worked out that there’s a one in six chance of survival, added to the possibility that I’ll miss, or that I’m lying about the whole thing. If you would like proof, I will discharge at the wall thus… I’m sorry, that must have been terrifying – I should have given you more warning, but there we are: the gun is loaded. The fact is that what I am describing to you I have every intention of carrying out. And the gun will be pressed against your temple – I won’t miss.
So – a one in six chance of coming out of this alive. Just like rolling a dice. Oh, but with one exception; once I have fired, I will spin the chambers again and take another shot. I intend to repeat the process ten times. By my calculation, your chance of surviving is now one sixth to the power ten – about 0.00000002%. Then, if you do survive, I’ll take you outside and set you free – the world will literally be yours. Right then, are you ready?
Number one… Oh stop whimpering, that was alright wasn’t it? You’re still alive.
Number two… There – now sit up straight, I know it’s difficult, but you’ll thank me later.
Number three… You’re starting to get the hang of this now aren’t you?
Number four… This is just like that Clint Eastwood film.
Number five… Do you feel lucky?
Number six… Well, do you, punk?
Number seven… Now you’re thinking he hasn’t loaded the gun, has he? How can this be possible?
Number eight… Now you’re utterly convinced. I can tell you you’re wrong, but what does it matter?
Number nine… After all, you’ll be handsomely rewarded if you survive. I think you deserve it. Crikey – I bet the tension’s killing you now – you’re shaking like a leaf. Well, you’ve made it back up to one in six, that’s an achievement in itself. I must say you’re incredibly lucky – but how can that be a coincidence? One in fifty million? Surely that’s more than luck. Are you religious? Because I bet you’re thanking someone for keeping you alive, for putting you here right now after nine shots.
Then again, it’s hardly surprising that you’re still there, quivering in that chair, after nine shots. It sounds ridiculous I know, but how could you experience anything different? If I had shot you, it would be impossible to experience anything at all. You see, the fact that you’re still here means this was the only possible outcome. I can’t see why you’re panicking really. After all, you repeat a process enough times and you’re guaranteed to get lucky once – you’re special, you do know that don’t you?
Anyway, I digress – here it is Adam,