"Interesting is one word for it," Boris replied. "Dangerous is more like it."
"What makes it dangerous for you?" Ellie wondered.
"The glads, of course. It's like workin' around a bunch of wild animals."
"What are glad?"
"Glad-i-a-tors. You never know when one of them is going to turn and attack you."
"But why would they attack you?" Ellie looked confused. "I thought they only fight other gladiators when the arenas compete on weekends."
"I told you, glads are like wild animals." Boris's snort of amusement made him sound a bit like a wild animal himself. "The trainers teach 'em to be tough and dangerous, but sometimes they turn on 'em. That's where us guards come in: keepin' the trainers safe while they do their job. 'Course, the glads don't exactly appreciate it, so sometimes they turn on us, too, or try to."
Ellie still looked confused. "I don't get it."
Boris cocked an eyebrow at Steene. "Kid's a little slow, isn't she? Listen, kid, would you like it if someone stood over you with a shockwhip all day saying, 'do a million pushups in ten minutes or else'? If you were really really strong from doing all those pushups, don't you think you'd eventually try to hurt the guy, just to get him off your back?"
"Bensin has to do a million pushups with someone on his back?" She looked from Boris to Steene as though wondering whether or not to believe this.
Steene nudged Ellie under the table, but it was too late.
"My brother. He lives at the arena."
I wasn't going to tell him about Bensin just yet. Perhaps Steene and Ellie should have discussed their plan in more detail before hand.
Now it was Boris's turn to look confused. "You've got a brother at an arena?"
"Yeah, at Red Arena. Don't you know him?"
"He's a glad?"
"Yeah, a gladiator. He got sent there to be executed for attempted murder, but he wasn't really guilty, and luckily he didn't actually die, but he's still there. We saw him fight on TV."
"Oh. Okay, yeah, I think I know who you mean. We did have a new glad join us a couple months ago, someone who was supposed to get the death penalty. He's our new number Fifty-Eight. The old Fifty-Eight got killed a month before in a wrestling match against a Green. Broke his neck. Crack! You could hear it through the speakers all across the arena. It wasn't supposed to be a match to the death, but you never know what's gonna happen out there. Somebody don't defend right like he's been taught, and before you know it some trainer's short a glad in his ten."
Boris shook his head and chuckled as though at an unfortunate but humorous situation.
Ellie was speechless.