An old man: "Sometimes I think the only important things that happen happen between a woman's legs."
A young woman: "That sounds like something you would think."
"Today I saw a ladybug with no spots. Just a flawless shiny bloodred dome moving on a leaf. It looked more like a machine."
"It is a machine. We're all machines. Soft, wet machines."
"But a female machine. Or we wouldn't call it lady."
"I've never used this word to describe anyone before, as it's the type of word you only hear in movies or read in books, but you're incorrigible."
"Listen, chica. When I was a tiny boy, I believed. I prayed to the big god they told us about in church and in school. I asked that god to help me when I felt sad or lost. I fought in a war and took refuge with a whore, and while I knelt and was tender and attentive, I asked that I become a better lover. I was present when my daughter was born and I asked that same god to make me a good father. I'm an old man now and the final darkness is not too far away, yet I gotta say out loud that I've spent most of my life waiting for anything resembling a response."
"That's a lonely thing."
"You got that right."
"So that's why you're here?"
"Kinda. Why do you want to know? I pay you and I get what I want and then we're done."
"Because it's more than that. I know you. You may be an old bastard, and a cranky one at that, but you're not some anonymous client. I watched you cry that time."
"Fuck that. I was a pussy back then."
"No you weren't."
"Anyway, I thought you said we're all machines. None of this matters, if that's the case."
"Nothing sadder than a sad robot."
"See? Okay, I gotta ask. Are you depressed?"
"That's a simple question with a complicated answer."
"So answer. I got time."
"Ha. You're a tenacious little cunt, aren't you? But okay. I'll give you the simple version, since you're like a pit bull chewing on a femur and I like that the same way I admire Jack Nicholson's character in that movie with the big Indian. Or perhaps the big Indian himself. Hell yeah, I'm depressed. But I'm no more depressed now than I was last week, last year, last decade. You learn to deal. And some days I deal better than others."
"Tell me more."
"What are you, my therapist?"
"Nah, I'm curious."
"Right. Okay, you wake up in the flat grey morning of a gloomy Sunday. Sometimes that feels like the end of things, other times it feels like it's the low point you might climb out of. Or rise, like that firebird. It's always there, a giant fucking shadow. If you let it, it will drop from above, a tear-soaked canopy, and impede your every step. You won't be able to escape your bed, let alone some mythic fire. But you can't. You can't let it win. You gotta keep finding ways to let the light in. Fill the days with good. Could be a handful of blue M&M's one day, a Warner Bros cartoon the next. Things that are light, and free of that awful weight."
"I never heard you say so many words."
"Well, you asked."
"I did do that."
"I like something else about you. Can you guess what?"
"I called you a name earlier and you didn't flinch. In fact, you smiled just a tad."
"Words are words. Each one has more than one meaning."
"You'd have liked my daughter."
"See? You say you know me, but you didn't know that, did you?"
"Yeah, me too. It's alright, I ain't mad at you."
"Why would you be mad at me? For not knowing? Because she's dead?"
"Nah, none of that. No reason at all to be mad at you. I'm a cranky old man, remember? I'm mad at most everyone much of the time."
"Ha! Hey, that time you seen me crying? That's why. My daughter. That's the real reason I was bawling like a baby, no matter what bullshit reason I gave at the time."
"Better late than never, I guess."
"Honesty. Being honest. I'm glad you trust me enough to be honest."
"You're a fucking riot, girl."
"Not intentional, but it works."
"So you still want to do this thing?"
"Uh-huh. Never been more sure of anything."
"It'll change you."
"I don't doubt that. I'd chew on it more if it was noon or even midafternoon, but I'm far closer to midnight, so it don't matter."
"Okay. I wish I didn't know you, though. Makes this harder."
"Just let's go in the room and bring in the redneck."
"Alright. Did you pick your implement?"
"Gonna go with a claw hammer."
"How's your swing, gramps? It might take a while…"
"No problem. I want him to suffer. I need to experience this. Being bad, I mean. Evil, even. The last eight years, the Trump presidency, pretty much killed my love for people, especially the miserable fucks that helped him get there. This yahoo properly vetted?"
"Oh yeah. Skinhead past. Swastika tats. Stormfront bona fides. Has a long record of assaults against blacks and gays."
"Good. Let's go spill this hate machine's blood."
"You break my heart, old fella, but you paid your money and this is still America."
"Damn right, girl."