"One hundred thousand bagels," he said.

“One hundred thousand bagels,” the challenger said. He almost whispered it, in fact.

The 90,000 spectators filling the stadium to bursting, aroar not a second before, quieted deafeningly. They heard what had been said, as did the millions watching the broadcast live, spanning a world that now stood still. A cabbie in New York stared blankly at his steering wheel as the light changed to green. A bartender in Tokyo further tilted the bottle as the 18-year single malt overflowed the glass. A maid in Paris knocked a vase off the marble mantel with her duster and didn’t flinch as it smashed against the hardwood floor.

The announcer removed his monocle and blinked once, then twice more. Replacing it carefully, he shuffled over to the champion, whose face had gone decidedly pale.

The microphone boomed, a cannon firing into the ironclad silence. “Do you accept?”

The champion stood, taking the microphone. “So shall it be. One hundred thousand bagels,” he forced out through gritted teeth, slowly nodding. “Plain.”

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