This is fiction, Ma.
"Sacrifices must be made, Svetlana." Gregor's voice was hoarse with fatigue and cigarette smoke, but he was firm.
Svetlana stared across the table at Gregor with bleary, half-closed eyes. They had stayed up all night arguing, a bottle of vodka between them, but Gregor always won these kinds of disagreements. He could exhaust a topic, spinning a web of words around her until there was no escape; she must give in to his demands. She had tried to leave him before, even moving to America, but he always found her. Now he offered her a way out.
"How long did Nikolai give you this time?" Svetlana's voice was tinged with a weary resignation; always, Nikolai must be paid, because Gregor could not pass up a wager.
"Until the end of the week."
"Nikolai has a reputation, even here in America."
"What if I were to get another job dancing?"
Gregor snorted at her idea.
"Svetlana, my dear," he smiled at her patronizingly. "You were a has-been before you ever stepped on the stage. No, there is no other way. The insurance company will pay double for an accidental death."
She was too exhausted to get angry at his insult, and so she pushed herself up from the table and stretched, picking up her purse and rummaging through the contents.
"Will it hurt?" Her voice was small.
"Not at all, Svetlana. It will all be over quickly. Then the insurance will pay me, and I will pay Nikolai." He poured the last of the vodka, raising his glass toward her in a toast. "I will cherish your memory forever for your sacrifice, my love."
Svetlana picked up her purse, her hand still immersed inside, and the .38 went off with a roar that made her head ring. Gregor slumped forward, the empty vodka glass shattering on the floor. She stared at the blood spatter on the wall behind him, and waited for her neighbors to call the police.
"Sacrifices must be made, Gregor."
Prompt: The word is EXHAUST: 3a : to consider or discuss (a subject) thoroughly or completely
b : to try out the whole number of
It stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there’s someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice, speaks of slaves and masters. And intends to be the master.