Joe allowed himself a smile, the wicked flash of a further contorted grin that came from a part of him that defied any sense of ‘good’ or ‘justice’ still remaining “When the people’s and governments, no wrong words, COWARDS of this galaxy seek to avoid responsibility I’m the one they expect to decide the fates of entire civilisations” so clinically spoken that Harmack could be seen reeling from the lack of emotion “men like me would like nothing better than to relax, count our money and have trophy wives who throw lavish parties, but….”
Harmack sensed tension creeping into Joe’s voice, as subtle as a cool breeze on a summer’s day or a razor slicing through flesh, the latter seeming more relevant after knowing this man for less than a day as Harmack could tell that tension came from something very old, very deep and very deadly.
Joe had taken another sip, more to settle the ancient venom than the dramatic effect it had, prevent his relentless fury been released in too pure a form would be a better understanding, this was all helped by the fact Harmack had remained respectfully silent at last “Men like me, sixty years ago I would have laughed at such a phrase” the eighty year old looking not a day over thirty five continued “men like me have assassins creep into their homes and murder their families because they might be a threat, sleep with guns in hand in case…” tension twisting into the bitterest resentment as Joe’s face twisted with rage “and who in the absence of love have only bitterness, pain, wrath so warped by time it becomes who we are because it’s all that survives the seasons of change” the hand no longer floating over the gun, it gripped it like a grieving victim held onto the last happy memories of a loved one.
Harmack hated Joe still, that urge to kill him after only witnessing half a day’s worth of torture still held strong, but now there was a level of curiosity born of the solid intension that Harmack would never become that jaded. His next words were born as much from that curiosity as they were of the original hatred “Then why haven’t you just put that fancy gun to your head and pulled the trigger?” Joe’s resulting laughter only furthered Harmack’s belief he was seriously unhinged.
“That’s the same question I ask myself every waking moment, and as you seek so intently to know the unwanted answer” leaning across the table slightly, hushed volume to ensure Harmack was completely focusing, straining to hear Joe’s next words “because it’s been written into every corrupted, manipulated and distorted cell of my body to survive, the perfect weapon has to be protected not from the world, but itself” Joe leaning back in his chair again, the remains of his freshly replenished drink disappearing in one solid gulp.
Harmack was still trying to work out a response when Joe abruptly stood up, gun by his side as if it refused to be holstered “Where are you going? We’re not finished, I’m not finished” stammered Harmack “we still haven’t discussed what we’re going to do with the information you got us” a reconsidering pause later “the information you tortured out of the suspect for us”.
Joe smiled, but not that dangerous grin or a genuine display of amusement and happiness, this time it was the jaded curl up of one side of his mouth “When you’re in my position, doing my job, you’ll have no one to help you make those population affecting life and death decisions” the smile fading back into the uncaring facade Joe had begun the conversation with “may as well get use to it now” and with that he left.
Harmack wanted to believe everything he had heard was a lie, a fabrication of reality from the jaded mind of a killer but he knew…
Before Joe’s words of harsh realities Harmack had at least the notion of honour and justice but now, now the vagueness of his bosses orders and lack of any real instructions brought Joe’s words back in force. He wasn’t sure what scared him most, the idea of becoming another ‘Joe’ or that his bosses already thought of him that way.