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   Chapter 20 No.20

The Inscrutable Mr. Robot By CSeanMcGee Characters: 13446

Updated: 2018-02-26 12:01


"Hey Dave, what's goin' on?"

The house was squalor. There were papers and magazines sprawled all over the place; neither of them looked informative or good for anything else other than kindling or a quick wank. It stank too. The air was thick and pungent; smelling like the former and the latter.

"Who da fuck is Dave? And who da fuck are you? How da fuck did youze get in 'ere?"

The heroes stood in the hallway as stiff as boards. They were petrified, sure, but in this candlelight squalor, they looked fierce and indomitable. The Man stood before them; half the man he used to be, but twice the man he was the day before.

"It's been a while, mate, " he said, staring into the flickering dark.

In the living room, there were two sofas that reeked of piss, sweat, and vinegar; and sprawled out on them were a hand full of emaciated, toothless junkies. Each looked more miserable than the other. Their faces looked like oxygen starved planets, covered in volcanic craters and pus-filled cankerous sores.

"Whatta you want?"

Dave, as it were, didn't at all sound pleased to see his old friend.

"Ya know dis cunt?" said Junky Number One, sounding if havoc were her middle name; yet looking as if it were spelled back to front.

"Yeah, " said Dave. "We go way back."

On the table in front of them were a dirty spoon, some elastic band, and an old copy of The Communist Manifesto. There were small clear bags scattered all over the floor, along with the squashed and rolled up filters from the ends of half-smoked cigarettes.

"So, " said The Man. "Did you kick the heroin?"

"Fuck you, " said Dave. "What would you know about it?"

Junky Number One looked feral, on the verge of some violent outburst. The only thing holding her back from lashing out with her claws and teeth was this damn gravity; that and her crippling atrophy.

"Who are youze cunts anyway?" she said. "Fucking Salvation Army? Ya do goodin' wankers. Fuck off en build a fuckin' church or sometin'."

Whether she thought they were superheroes or architects was hard to gauge.

"Can we speak in private?" asked The Man.

When he wasn't focused on himself, he almost sounded bold and convincing.

"Anytin' ya gotta say ta da Comrade, ya say ta us too. Dere's no autority here."

It was clear that, without teeth, Junky Number One had hocked more than just her health, her wealth, and her piece of mind; she had also traded in the richness of the English language.

"In all due respect, mam, " said The Man, "shut your rancid fucking mouth."

Had this been said in any other context, in any other room, to any other woman, there would have been war by now. Any of the heroes in the hallway would have been already convulsing; their eyes would be bulging from their sockets, and their mouths would be spitting meme laden rage and nonsensical rebuttals. And though logic deemed that they should, all three heroes in the hallway kept patently still, feeling the filth and depravity in the air, seeping into the pores of their skin.

It was clear then, where the line was drawn for social justice.

"Why are you here?" asked Dave.

"I was in the neighbourhood."

"Really? You were in the neighbourhood; hundreds of kilometres from anywhere and you thought… you thought what exactly? We'd go through some old stories together until eventually, we're on the same page? That it?"

Not only was The Man unprepared, but how could he have prepared for this?

"Life is short, " said The Man.

"Yeah, no shit. And some us are racin' to the fuckin' end. So what's your point?"

The Man stared at the blood-stained syringes on the table.

"I see you're doing some light reading. Communism, aye? I wouldn't have picked it."

"Whatta you know, cunt?"

For a woman, she spoke like a tractor stuck in gear.

"I know who you are, " she said. "And what you did. So now what; you hangin' round dikes and pussy boy faggots?"

The Diver and The Leader felt rage while The White Knight lowered his head in shame.

"At

urning my back on crime fighting, but turning my back on you – my best friend."

"Ahh, you're right, " said Dave.

He meant the exact opposite; luckily every man on Earth spoke the same code.

"I'm serious, Dave. I just abandoned you. I didn't even look back once."

"Mate, why would ya? Ya had it all; fuckin' suburbia. Like I said; if I could…"

"You'd make a bloody great father, " said The Man, lifting his friend's spirits. "Without all the heroin and that of course."

"Yeah, " said Dave, now picking at the scabs on his arms.

"You were always good with kids."

"Nah, not me."

"Yeah, you were. I remember that time we saved that kindergarten class from The Jelly Bean Bandit and…. Oh yeah, " said The Man, kind of deflated.

"That was you. They hated me; all of em."

"Well, there was that one."

"The retarded kid?"

"He wasn't retarded was he?"

Dave lifted his shirt showing a faint but still clear bite mark.

"Retarded as a downshifting Chevy."

"Geeze, sorry mate. I honestly thought…"

"Nah, you're right, " said Dave, once again, taking it on the chin. "Cognitive bias; we kind of see shit how we wanna see shit."

"Cognitive what?"

"Ah, I read a book once."

"So what's with the communism, shit?"

"You know? When you don't have anything, idealism is everything. I don't have much going for me so… They don't understand any of it. They just want something that makes them feel good about having nothing and being a nobody. Easier to drag everyone down to a colourless agenda and paint the world with a broad even stroke than to learn how to paint with contrast and colour."

"Even you?"

"It's just nice to have someone listen, is all. That's all we all want right; to be heard? You said it, mate, I just want to feel like I matter."

"Yeah, " said The Man.

Were they women, this would have been where they would have hugged. Instead, they were men and so they nodded in agreement and stared silently out in the yard while the feeling they wanted to eschew sank back into the pits of their bellies where one day it would grow into an ulcer, and maybe even cancer.

"Listen, " said The Man, garnering the courage. "About everything, I'm…"

And then his phone rang.

"It's her, " he said.

"That your misses?"

"Ex, " as if he was naming a kind of bacteria.

"So don't pick it up. You're not fucking married to her."

"It's complicated, " said The Man reaching for his phone.

"Everything is, " said Dave.

"What's up?" said The Man, turning away from his old friend.

"I have your wife and daughter, " said The Doctor. "If you're not here in the next hour, I'll kill them, and then I'll kill you."

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