Part of the Game Review
Detective Hank Sorenson wants to be part of the game. He wants a piece of the underground gambling scene in Chinatown in San Francisco. He’s got a lady friend to impress, and he is down to his last dime even as a paid officer of the law. From Dark Delicacies, “Part of the Game” by F. Paul Wilson tells the story of Detective Sorenson and his pursuit of the Mandarin.
The Mandarin is the mastermind behind the gambling, prostitution, and drug trafficking in Chinatown. No one knows who he is, where he is, or what he looks like. No one wants to know either, which means that the population of Chinatown is afraid of the Mandarin.
Unknowingly, Hank threatens and embarrasses one of the Mandarin’s direct minions, demanding a cut from the gambling winnings. Hank has to keep up appearances with his gal, Luann, who is a singer. She is dating some rich fat cats, and Hank is competing with them for her love and her devotion. Isn’t it always for some dame?
Hank wants to be a part of the game, but he never specified on how he wanted to be a part of the game. The Mandarin sends him a message in the form of a poisonous millipede. Now, Hank is the game and the population of Chinatown is betting on if he will live or die. Live or die? Place your bets.
“Part of the Game” took me unexpectedly by surprise. The millipede was not only poisonous, but it laid eggs inside of him. My skin crawled when I read this short story. It is disturbing, knowing that Hank is slowly being eaten alive, but he wanted to be a part of the game. He just never thought that he would literally be the game.