March 22, 2008
By Daniel Milyavsky, Jackson Heights, NY

There were two men, and one was holding a gun to the other’s forehead.

“Who are you?” asked the one staring down the barrel.

“Ah, such a complex question,” said the man holding the gun. “If I were to answer this question from a vernacular stand point, I would tell you my name. But I believe that it is something different for which you inquire.”

“Why the hell do you talk like that? Do you want to feel smart, is that it? Well, who the hell do you have to feel smart to? I think you’re a freaking idiot, wasting your breath like that.”

“Well, if you put it that way, you waste your breath every time you speak. There really is no necessity to be so stingy with words.”

“That’s exactly what I mean. Why the hell would you say “stingy” when you could have just said “cheap?”

“Why would you wear a red shirt when you could wear a black one? But I digress. You appear awfully calm, are you unaware of your present circumstance?”

“Oh, I’m aware of it alright. I’m so aware of it that I know that nothing I say will have any effect on what you’re going to do.”

“I wouldn’t quite say that. That’s inaccurate. Nothing you say in relation to irrelevant topics will alter my actions. There is, however, a particular topic that may very well decide whether you live or not, and I’m quite sure that you know what it is.”

“You’re quite sure, huh? Well I’m not going to play your stupid game. If you want something, you better say it out loud, because I’m too busy about a black object that’s almost touching my forehead to try to solve your little puzzles.”

This caused the man with the gun, who called himself Slant, to sigh. Although entertaining confrontations such as the one taking place were not his objective, they certainly were a diversion which he enjoyed. “If you’re too thick to comprehend something as simple as this, then I suppose I’m going to have to make it explicit: I need you to make me an account with level 5 access.”

“Well, that doesn’t sound very patriotic,” said the other man, who was employed as an agent for the FBI. I’m not sure if I have time for that, my cousin is getting married soon and he asked me to-”

This quip infuriated Slant. “Are you a complete idiot? Do you have any idea what would happen if I pulled this trigger? Do you?!”

“Aw, what happened to the big words? I was kind of getting used to them.”

Slant lowered the gun and pointed it to the FBI agent’s knee. Just as the agent was about to lunge for his throat Slant pulled the trigger, causing the agent to scream out loud and bleed and have pieces of his knee shatter and settle unto the floor like dust. The agent started crying, and Slant started laughing. “Not such a big joke now, is it?” yelled Slant. As the agent fell to the ground Slant noticed a wire coming out of the top of the agent’s shirt. He unbuttoned it, and discovered that the conversation between him and the agent was being recorded and most likely listened to live. “Haha, those bastards set you up, didn’t they! You were the bait, and you knew it! Now just tell me, why did you do it!”

“For my country.”

After hearing the agent’s answer, Frank regained his composure. He had been prepared for this moment, to reveal one of his many philosophies. “What precisely does that mean, for your country? Are you bleeding for the felons? Or for the celebrities who receive more media coverage than the starving children in Africa? Are you doing it for your family? Is that it? Are you dying for your family? Will your death really benefit all the citizens of this great country? Imagine this situation from an outside point of view, if this conversation was isolated from anything else nobody would have any idea what country you’re referring to. Are you dying for England, or for France? Or perhaps for China, or maybe you’re an Argentinean citizen? Tell me, as you lay there on the floor, knowing that you are going to die soon, knowing that there is nothing you can do to stop me from discharging a bullet into your skull, what is it that you’re dying for?”

“Bastards like you will never understand. You’re the kind of unappreciative scum who can kill your loving parents just for their life insurance. You talk about starving kids in Africa like you care about them, but the only person you really give a crap about is yourself!”

“Ah, you misunderstand me. I don’t pretend to care about such trivial matters about starving people I’ve never met, and I don’t pretend to. For all I know, they aren’t really starving. What does that mean to you, that kids are starving in Africa? For all you know it could just be a work of fiction. These are people you’ve never met, people you know nothing about, and yet you are supposed to care about the fact that they have an inadequate amount of food in their stomachs. Tell me, do you really care? It’s just me and you. Oh wait, I almost forgot, there’s also those FBI agents who are monitoring this conversation but don’t worry, nobody will bring it up at your eulogy.”

“You’re full of it,” said the agent. Two seconds later a bullet entered his forehead.

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