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He woke up ambiguously. “Hmm,” he seemed to say as he looked warily around him. Time for another day of swords or drugs or making business, whatever his job was.
He lit seventeen cigarettes, because who the fuck cared. “I’m a man,” he announced to the room. “I’m a goddamn man and sometimes I have to make the tough decisions that no one asked me to make and my jaw looks like a shovel and I have an important job, so fuck you,” just in case someone was listening.
He got out of bed.
His wife greeted him as he came into the kitchen. That bitch.
“You crossed a moral event horizon recently that I didn’t think you would ever cross, despite all evidence to the contrary,” she sobbed like some kind of fucking pussy. Her makeup was all smeared, like a total bitch.
He put out his cigarette on her face. “Ow,” she cried. “Jesus,” he said, rolling his eyes manfully and driving the embers into the soft flesh in the crook of her elbows. “Show some fucking self-control.”
She sobbed some more. “What do you even do all day,” he asked rhetorically. “Is it sick crimes like me? Because if it’s not sick crimes like me, I don’t want to hear about it.”
“I thought you valued my contribution to this family and my humanity as a person in general,” she said softly. “I didn’t think I had to do sick crimes for you to respect me.”
Fuck, he thought, then shit. Also he thought the word cunt. Because he could think whatever he wanted, and what he wanted to think about was swears.
“I have to go,” he said. “I have to go do crimes.”
He strolled out the door, where he met his cool best friend. They nodded at each other. It was totally cool. Then when they walked together toward wherever it was they worked, the sun totally backlit them, so it looked crazy epic. He had on like sixteen skinny ties or a fucking cloak and shield and whatever.
It was fucking amazing.
After lunch, he fucked a prostitute, but it’s not like he gave a shit about it or anything.
“It’s not like I give a shit about this or anything,” he said to her while they were Doing It; him indifferently, her all jiggly and shit.
“What?” she asked. It was hard for her to hear what he was saying, what with getting totally pounded and all. She was totally in love with him, though.
He struck a match against her torso and lit a cigarette. “Nothing,” he said. “Jesus.”
He was met by his less-than-conventionally attractive plucky female protegé on his way into the place where he did all of his work. He quoted Byron at her, or fucking Sun Tzu or whatever. Like he gave a shit. It all sounded the same.
“Wow,” she said. “That’s really something.” He was backlit by the sun again. It was this kind of cool thing the sun did for him, no matter how high it was in the sky at the time.
He didn’t smile, but she knew he was proud of her for listening to him all the same.
He picked his daughter up from wherever she had been before he picked her up.
“You look different from before,” he said to her.
She nodded. “Oh, yeah. That’s from time.”
He thought about it for a minute. She might be interesting after all. Not like her mother. That bitch. He handed her a cigarette.
“We can’t put our battle there,” he shouted in the Map Room. “There’s a fucking shit ton of werewolf people there, or whatever. The sea guys are going to bring their boats around the Horn of Despair and they will crush our soldier’s heads against the rocks. Fuck.”
“What about the woman?” the leader of the Flatwell Headists bellowed, pointing to some woman in the corner, who’d brought them a map or a key or a secret or whatever. “Someone must return her to her people.”
He looked at her. Shitting fuck. He could think whatever words he wanted, this wasn’t NBC and he was a damn man. Would that my honor weren’t so important to me. But it was. It was crazy important. He even had this special thing that only he had: a code of honor. He called it his Code of Honor, and it was the only set of rules he played by.
No one else had one, just him. He wished he didn’t have one. All he wanted to do was return to his home and his fields and build something in his backyard with his hands. Sit in his garden with his wife and watch the sun set, even though he didn’t really like his wife or sitting very much at all.
But they wouldn’t let him. “Let’s go,” he said, grabbing her roughly, which she totally loved.
She followed him angrily down the path. They were totally going to do it, he could tell already.
He lit a cigarette, and then turned into a cigarette himself, so he was a cigarette smoking a cigarette, and it totally blew her fucking mind.
Image created by Jessica Zimmerman.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.