42 You speciesist clownbag you


“I think this company needs a new name,” Jesse said. 

“It ain’t midnight, and we ain’t moving,” Michel said, agreeably. They’d been sitting for an hour.  The cab was starting to fog up.

“I hate waiting around and then jamming through the last bit of the night. My stomach hates it too.”

Michel was not a fan of the human tendency to personalize stomachs and cocks and ears and machines and animals. “Me and my stomach are all one person, as far as I can tell,” Michel said. Then, as if this triggered something, he said, “George says you’re a smart human, what do you think his hair is?”

Jesse watched the road, praying for a light, wishing he was driving so he could tell Michel to shut up and quit distracting him without getting a slap for his comment. “You zero-hearted son of a sea-slug.” He did expect a slap, but it didn’t come. George’s promised lecture about manners must have worked.

“Why insult me? Are you trying to confuse me? I can be more sober than George, sometimes.” Michel folded his arms and looked saintly. The pleasant face atop the bulging, muscular form was funny, but not enough to laugh at.  Michel had better facial expressions than George. At certain fixed distances, George looked a trifle weird. Once he’d bobbled like a video game glitching, and then said he’d done it deliberately. Michel was seamless in his presentation. He could look like anything at any time, including nothing at all. He said Kima was even better at disappearing, but that watermorphs usually were.

As for Michel’s assumption of saintliness, Jesse was repulsed.  He was still mad at Michel for deliberately farting in the truck, a completely silent onslaught, wave after wave of terrifying fumes.  Jesse had rolled down the window, despite the rain, gasping; the inrush of damp air was welcome. It had been so bad at one point he thought his colour vision was changing, possibly due to some kind of deadly alien gas in his corneas. The stinging was so intense he thought maybe he should flee, and screw the move. But it wasn’t deadly.  It was just Michel, fucking with him. He could contain the gas and let it out at a different time, but had decided to share about a month’s worth at once.

Remembering this with irritation, Jesse said, “I thought I was telling you to back off politely.  Next time, maybe I’ll say I don’t enjoy being put on the spot. I think George likes me so much he’s made a kind of pet out of me.  I’m probably not as smart as he says. I can’t speculate.”

“Your thoughts on the subject would be entertaining, at least.”

“I don’t want to speculate,” Jesse amended.

“Now you are starting to sound like a politician. Next you’ll be calling for the police to be allowed to do their jobs, which always seems to involve use of force on disadvantaged populations. And hey, it’s only pandering if I haven’t seen it, with what I got for eyes. I lived in Montréal for years, you know.” He always gave it the French pronunciation, never the English, making it into a smooth sexy word filled with promise. He also liked repeating things, another of his human-like tics.

Sensing Jesse meant it when he said he didn’t want to speculate, he said, “I’m gonna come back to you on the hair. I wanna complain about something else instead. It’s one of the great things about being friends with humans.  If you complain to another – it’s Sixer, right, that’s what the focus group finally settled on?” (Here the contempt in his voice was rich and vast.) “Anyway, if you complain, you’re advertising lack of breeding fitness. I used to put it a different way, much more colourful, but George really didn’t like it.  He’s trying to get me ready for television appearances, and he wants me singing one song, all the time, and only that one song, which is bullshit. I’m with you, I should be able to say what I want.” Michel had seemed charmed by Jesse’s lecture about free speech. What he really thought was often obscured by nonsense and frequent changes of subject.

Jesse saw what was coming, and said, “No, no, no. If I say there’s some shit you don’t talk about, you don’t.”

“When you tell me there’s shit I can’t say, you make the whole world a place of stinky darkness,” Michel said.  “Everything’s always one hundred percent with you people.”

“I warned you about ‘you people’; it’s a red fucking flag,” Jesse said, turning his head to look at Michel.  Michel obliged by turning his bottom half into the Disney Genie, including weird little stripes that made it look like he was reproducing the image based on something a badly aligned VHS might spit out.

Michel said, whining, “Can I at least complain about something? I really want to, so I’m going to. George’s love affair with the police creeps me the fuck out.”

Jesse frowned at him. “Why don’t you stop before you get sued? The last time he messed with the popo he thieved some zip ties,” he said, addressing the question. “That might be foreplay in some places, but I don’t think so.”

“That was the last time you saw him play with the cops, ‘cause that’s what he wants you to think. In secret he’s kissing them and hugging them and telling them they are very pretty.”

Jesse considered this. How to phrase the question without asking the question?

“I’m sure your time in Montréal left you with no respect for the cops.”

“Shotgun Bob was okay. You know, the people with guns shift around; it’s all the same kind of person, but sometimes they get paid by the Queen and sometimes they don’t.”

“I wish I knew some cops personally, I’m sure they’d be thrilled to hear about your take on their oath. May I also point out there’s a difference between a soldier and a sociopath?”

“Oaths are bullshit. You either understand what your duties are and what they mean, or you don’t, and fondling a book with one hand while saying solemn things in public doesn’t mean a fuckin’ word you say is true.”

“Leaving aside that public ceremonies about how you mean to live by certain rules is a hefty chunk of what humans do, which makes that comment speciesist, and you a speciesist clownbag so full of shit it should squeeze out your non-existent eyes, I really don’t care what George is up to,” Jesse said, wanting to bail from the conversation.

“You don’t think he’s planning something bad, getting all cozy with the police?” Michel asked, not at all disturbed by his verbal shellacking.

“I am not George’s human enabler.  I’m not responsible for him at all.  His actions don’t reflect on me any more than yours do.”