(bitter)Sweet Thing

Posted in Dialogue, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2015 by Rathan Krueger

I hate that I haven’t been able to do my writing exercises, but I have the best reason. Been too busy with being creative! I’ve had SO much to do lately, with writing and recording things (like interviews with Holocaust survivors), that I haven’t had time to come back here. But this is here and I like doing things here, so I’m gonna post something here every, max, two weeks. Sometimes it might be a writing exercise, sometimes it might be a poem, or a short story, or maybe even an essay. I’ve wanted to write a few pop-culture essays for a long time, but talked myself out of them for one reason or another. Anywho, I have something new to post: a short film script I wrote for someone. The only rule was that I had to use elderly characters.
EXT. PORCH – NIGHT

We catch an elderly man and woman in the middle of their
conversation. The woman, MEREDITH, stands on the steps. She
wears a sweater, silver necklaces, a long, floral skirt,
flats, and an aura of happiness. She carries a take-out bag.
The man, JACOB, stands on the sidewalk. He wears a t-shirt
under a frock coat, slacks, loafers, and puckishness on his
sleeve.

MEREDITH
It’s been so long since I’ve been
on a date.

JACOB
It’s been so long since I’ve had a
reason to go on one.

MEREDITH smirks at his uninhibited flirting.

MEREDITH
Men I spent time with usually got
all the flattery out of the way
before dinner.

She gestures towards her bag.

JACOB
Well… They’re suckers, aren’t
they?

MEREDITH
In a rainbow of ways.

JACOB attempts seriousness.

JACOB
I’m glad you said “yes,” finally.

MEREDITH
With the way you’ve been hounding
me, Jacob, I felt you’d be asking
me out even at my wake.

JACOB
Yup.

MEREDITH
I was half-joking.

JACOB
And I’m completely serious.

MEREDITH
Why?

JACOB
Because lying’s for suckers.

MEREDITH
I mean, why me? Why so strongly?

JACOB
There’s so much road behind me that
I basically have a ditch left, so I
better take advantage of any
precious moment I can.

MEREDITH leans forward teasingly.

MEREDITH
You think me precious?

JACOB crosses his arms.

JACOB
I think you know what I think.

MEREDITH
An aged lady likes to hear thoughts
aloud. Helps her know which voices
are hers.

JACOB
Like anyone would believe that
you’re senile.

MEREDITH
Humor me.

JACOB
Three guys walk into a bar. Fourth
one ducks.

MEREDITH
You know what I mean.

JACOB takes a step towards her…

JACOB
Do you believe in love at first
sight?

…and she avoids him.

MEREDITH
No.

He takes another step…

JACOB
Love?

…and her another sidestep.

MEREDITH
No.

He stomps mock-angrily…

JACOB
Not even a little fate?

…and she playfully spins in place.

MEREDITH
Not even a horoscope or a fortune
cookie.

JACOB
You know, you really know how to
rob a romantice of his bag o’
tricks.

MEREDITH
I was never a modern woman.

JACOB
Well, call me crazy if you want–

She points at him.

MEREDITH
Crazy.

JACOB
At least let me finish, Meredith.

MEREDITH
Oh, alright.

JACOB
Some fellas, like the one standing
in front of you, believe in love.

And points again.

MEREDITH
Crazy.

He moves her finger down to her side.

JACOB
(sing-song)
I’m not done yet.

MEREDITH
Mm-hmm.

JACOB
Do I love you? At this moment? No.

MEREDITH
Way to make a aged lady feel
wanted…

JACOB
Hound you as I may have done… it
was never out of love. It was about
a maybe. I COULD fall in love with
you, and that, frankly, was enough
for me. I’m old– We– You and I,
damnit, we’re old. But that doesn’t
mean we can’t love.

She turns around solemnly.

MEREDITH
It does for me. I’m not who you
think I am.

JACOB
Who do you think I think you are?

She looks at him over her shoulder…

MEREDITH
A decent woman.

JACOB
What, did you sell secrets to the
Reds?

…then looks away.

MEREDITH
No… Just myself, and failed at
it.

JACOB
…what?

MEREDITH
When I was growing up, it was just
my aunt and myself. Aunt Helene.
She got sick on my 19th birthday…
and never really got better. Soon,
it became clear that I was gonna
have to take charge and–

JACOB
What about her husband?

She faces him.

MEREDITH
I told you: it was just she and me.
What also became clear was that
jobs weren’t throwing themselves at
19-year-olds. Good ones, anyway. I
had to take drastic measures to
make her better. Luckily, it was
the Swinging Sixties. I don’t
regret having sex for money. I regret
it not being enough to save her.
(remembering)
Tuberculosis. That’s what it was.
At least she didn’t die on my
birthday, too. But she lied. When I
was a little girl, I asked her to
tell me what it was like after she
died. In all my nights at her
grave, arms wrapped around her
tombstone, I only heard my sobbing.

JACOB
I don’t see how that keeps you from
being a decent woman.

Her gaze turns frustrated.

MEREDITH
How could you not? I wasn’t able to
save her.

JACOB
You weren’t able to save a lot of
people in this world.

MEREDITH
I only set out to save one of them,
and I couldn’t do that.

She starts to drift into sadness, and he gives one loud CLAP
that startles her out of any malaise.

JACOB
Self-pity doesn’t suit you.

She regains her composure.

MEREDITH
Oh, be quiet.

JACOB
It’s the truth. You’re too strong a
woman to STILL let that burden drag
you down.

She looks at him with a smirk, then shakes her head with a
sigh.

MEREDITH
Most men would let a woman cry,
then try to be a hero.

He puts a hand on his hip like Superman… and falters.

JACOB
I’m too old to embarrass myself
with derring-do’s. Reading Batman’s
enough for me.

MEREDITH
Ha, you still read those funny
books?

JACOB
(pridefully)
I never stopped.
(humbly)
Speaking of… I’d like to kiss the
hand that would stop me.

She playfully takes a few steps away from him.

MEREDITH
Before your confession, I was gonna
suggest more than a kiss.

JACOB
Don’t be that way, you’re too
beautiful a woman to be cruel.
Besides, don’t you wanna dust off
your Swinging Sixties bag o’
tricks, Bettie Page?

She opens her door and stands in the doorway.

MEREDITH
Come on, then, Mr. Sinatra.

He happily follows her while rolling up his sleeves.

JACOB
Ring-a-ding-ding.

Daily Dialogue: Cauldron of Malice – Chapter Seven

Posted in Dialogue, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2015 by Rathan Krueger

Here’s Chapter One.

Today’s a little late and a little short because something came up, but I still wanted to write something because I wanna stay committed to my goal and because I enjoy these characters too much to skip out on them.

Catherine
Anarchy through manslaughter… I do enjoy this new age of yours. Oh. “Manslaughter.” Catherine, you’re too much. Agatha? Agatha?

Agatha
Hmm, yes?

Catherine
You were drifting away.

Agatha
Apologies, the notion of what my commencement means arrived before me.

Catherine
Really now? What reality unveiled itself to you?

Agatha
One in which the patriarchal road to ruin is paved with good intention, and lacquered in blood.

Catherine
But those who walk upon it must be careful, yes? The slickness might do more harm than good for those overzealous wanderers.

Agatha
I suppose.

Catherine
A murderess mustn’t fall prey to suppositions. Every action must be definite, true, or else cracks of disclosure might reveal themselves.

Agatha
“Cracks of disclosure?”

Catherine
The deformities that lead police to their front door, lousy with shackles of the physical and emotional.

Agatha
Ah. Then a pox on supposition.

Catherine
A pox and a fine layer of manure.

Agatha
Indeed. Speaking of manure…

Catherine
Yes?

Agatha
We should go back to fertilizing the new you.

Catherine
Refining our loquaciousness, eh?

Agatha
I’d like to think of it as repaying a debt.

Catherine
What do we place under the magnifying glass now?

Agatha
I feel that we should take a particular event in your life and demolish it.

Catherine
Is that the rapping of spite I hear upon my door?

Agatha
Not at all.

Catherine
Oh?

Agatha
Mayhaps the slightest swipe.

Catherine
Honesty makes queens of us all, dear Agatha.

Agatha
Then be the queen of misrule and unfetter yourself upon me. No sense in suffering in silence, given the purpose you’ve given me.

Catherine
You would suffer me?

Agatha
I’ve done nothing but thus far. In the most pleasant sense, of course.

Catherine
You thrill me, dear Agatha.

Daily Dialogue: Cauldron of Malice – Chapter Six

Posted in Dialogue, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 10, 2015 by Rathan Krueger

Here’s Chapter One.

Agatha
Wh–

Catherine
I believe we’ve delved enough into my miseries for a while. Lest we forget your knighthood into execution.

Agatha
Oh. Oh yes, that.

Catherine
Don’t sound so disappointed, dear Agatha.

Agatha
Forgive me.

Catherine
Remember: the finest way to establish female dominance in this misogynist age is by righteous, incidental slaughter.

Agatha
But what of your killings?

Catherine
You need to be tainted by blood more than I, and need a stronger purpose than I, because of your status. If you slayed those you chose to assist you, why, you’d be labeled mad and sent to bedlam most profusely. A lady of the court needs to hold herself in higher esteem. But if your felonious yearnings were the bastions of morality, you’d be heralded for ages untold.

Agatha
I suppose you have a point.

Catherine
Speaking of “points,” oh me, oh my, we must find you a manslaughter apparatus. You can’t kill someone by merely willing it.

Agatha
Should I not find the sinister urge, firstly?

Catherine
The woman not maketh the clothes, dear Agatha. If someone offered you a hug, how would you react?

Agatha
I would think to recoil a bit.

Catherine
No cord or twine for you, then. What comes to mind when you think of mounds of freshly driven snow?

Agatha
Poking it with a finger until I make the shape of a face.

Catherine
Would you allow someone to drink milk that has long since passed freshness?

Agatha
If they don’t have the sense to see the obvious, I don’t have the patience to be their sense.

Catherine
Does the sound of shattered glass excite you?

Agatha
Very much so.

Catherine
You’re a greedy, queer one.

Agatha
Oh?

Catherine
Poison, knives, and firearms are all within you purview.

Agatha
How did you extinguish life?

Catherine
A tightening of a slipknot and a little patience.

Agatha
Which would you suggest for me?

Catherine
Each of the three has their charm, so it’s a matter of what’s easiest to obtain and which brings the least alarm.

Agatha
I suppose that eliminates the pistol.

Catherine
I suppose it does.

Agatha
Damnation. I do love a good pop.

Catherine
Would you say that you are a steady woman?

Agatha
No… holding my balance is clearly not one of my virtues, any of my relations would profess to you.

Catherine
Then you deserve the blade.

Agatha
Why not poison?

Catherine
Phials are a fragile thing, and you wouldn’t want to be ended by what you intended for someone else because you bumped into an escritoire.

Agatha
No, not in the least.

Catherine
Fret not, dear Agatha, for there is quite the range of bladed devices for you to wield. From a surgeon’s scalpel to a soldier’s zweihander.

Agatha
I don’t think a sword that shares my height would be very discreet.

Catherine
True, but it is a delightful visual for me.

Agatha
I do enjoy the idea of using a tool of warfare against the patriarchy. The irony of phallic objects and such.

Catherine
And such. What, then, catches your fancy?

Agatha
It would have to be something that is prevalent in every person of wealth’s home, so less attention could find me.

Catherine
As if anyone would expect a woman could have the wherewithal to be a murderer. We’re so dainty and fair!

Agatha
The fools. A rapier. Yes, I shall wield a rapier.

Catherine
Do you plan on carrying it with you wherever your… travels take you?

Agatha
No. Maybe have a few places in the city to commit my crimes uninterrupted, then leave copies of my weapon of choice there and leap twixt them all.

Catherine
What will you name them?

Agatha
“Revolution.”

Daily Dialogue: Cauldron of Malice – Chapter Five

Posted in Dialogue, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2015 by Rathan Krueger

Here’s Chapter One.

Agatha
You’ve stated that out of the 14 people you’ve asked for help, you’ve not left one alive.

Catherine
That’s correct.

Agatha
Did you mean to give them purchase?

Catherine
Meaning that my intention was to kill? No, dear Agatha, like I told you: I killed them when their uselessness became supreme.

Agatha
But was that always meant to be their end? Did you always mean to end them when they didn’t matter to you?

Catherine
Oh. No.

Agatha
Why kill them, then?

Catherine
It began as an accident, then accident became ritual.

Agatha
When did the colors fade into one another?

Catherine
The fourth would-be helper.

Agatha
Why do you feel the need to incorporate your lovers into your life?

Catherine
My, you’re a little jitterbug, aren’t you?

Agatha
Consider it shock therapy. Volleying many inquiries that don’t flow into one another keeps your replies unprepared. And more true.

Catherine
I do adore your rationale. Why, why, why… Do you involve your husband in your affairs?

Agatha
I don’t have a choice. Marriage, sadly, tears down walls of privacy and seclusion. But don’t think that I wouldn’t leave him unawares if the opportunity ever presented itself.

Catherine
I see. Maybe because the ideal relationship, in my mind, is one where both parties share everything.

Agatha
Have they ever offered to share first?

Catherine
No, I believe not.

Agatha
Have they ever shared more than you?

Catherine
I was always more the cornucopia.

Agatha
Have you ever killed a companion?

Catherine
No, that would be worse than death for me.

Agatha
Yet you have no issue with murdering those whom you choose to help you through your pain.

Catherine
Because they’ve failed me, and I detest failure.

Agatha
Do you consider your past relationships failures?

Catherine
No, of course not.

Agatha
Then what do you consider them to be?

Catherine
I… I… don’t… know.

Agatha
Was your first helper a kidnapping victim?

Catherine
They all were.

Agatha
What was the first like?

Catherine
Whitney was–

Agatha
Whitney was a woman?

Catherine
Yes.

Agatha
Were they all?

Catherine
Why would I go to a man about matters of pained femininity? Whitney was what you would call a frequent bar patron.

Agatha
A libations expert.

Catherine
Heh, quite. One late night, or early morning, whichever statement suits you, she happened to have found her way into my carriage.

Agatha
Those pesky carriages always manage to find gudgeons.

Catherine
Indeed. When she was a bit more clear-headed, I told her what I wanted from her. She wouldn’t hear of it, though. She kept clamoring on about wanting to be let go and wanting more spirits. On and on. The final straw was her releasing her bowels on the marble floor. I had no choice but to… deal with her, so I did.

Agatha
How did you deal with her?

Catherine
I was angry, you see, because I wanted things to go well. Because of that, I might have gone a bit too far. In any case, she was the same consistency of her shit when I was finished with her.

Agatha
You could have let her go.

Catherine
And have her tell the world that she set foot in my establishment? Pish-posh, dear Agatha. Pish-posh and hornswallow.

Agatha
Do you ever think you’ll love again?

Catherine
I’m acutely aware that I will. Which is why I desire your help to change my dependent ways.

Agatha
How bad did it get? Your dependence on others?

Catherine
I almost lost my life.

Agatha
Why?

Catherine
Because when they left me, I found that there was more of them in me than me. Do you know what that’s like?

Agatha
No, and, begging your pardon, I would like not to ever know.

Catherine
When there is so little of you left, one wonders why to bother existing.

Agatha
Have you ever participated in self-mutilation?

Catherine
I… think that’s a question best left for later.

Daily Dialogue: Cauldron of Malice – Chapter Four

Posted in Dialogue, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2015 by Rathan Krueger

Here’s Chapter One.

Catherine
Shall I start with the worst or the… least-worst?

Agatha
Completely up to you, Catherine. If you rise from the miasma, you have not else to go but up. If you wade in the shallow end, the pain is less, but the intensity grows with each stroke.

Catherine
Would you judge me in either path I take?

Agatha
Only if you don’t finish your journey.

Catherine
Fair play.

Agatha
Would it help if I urged things along?

Catherine
I wouldn’t turn away a helping hand.

Agatha
Your dependencies…

Catherine
Yes?

Agatha
Have they always been human?

Catherine
I don’t understand.

Agatha
Some people choose animals to help them through the dark times. Others choose a totem of some sort.

Catherine
No, I’ve denied myself the crutch of fauna and homunculi.

Agatha
Were you ever strong enough to not need someone?

Catherine
Such barbs…

Agatha
When it comes time for you to teach me in the ways of homicide, I know I’ll be spared the velvet glove.

Catherine
Indeed.

Agatha
So consider this a petty, preemptive revenge.

Catherine
Heh, I see. Yes. Once upon a midnight dreary, I was self-sufficient enough to need only my person. Then dreariness took me, as it takes all things.

Agatha
Have you taken your problem to those in the company of Freud?

Catherine
Those stuffed shirts and bushy beards can only cure the cause, not the symptom.

Agatha
Then you were healed once?

Catherine
If a patient can be cured of half a cold, yes.

Agatha
If those educated to help the mind haven’t been able to help you, what chance does one such as myself have?

Catherine
I didn’t want them to help me.

Agatha
I do believe you’re slightly mad.

Catherine
See? Already you’re better than the cerebral brigade.

Agatha
Have you gotten anyone else to help you in the interim twixt the brigade and myself?

Catherine
I fear the answers down this road will frighten you.

Agatha
I’ve steeled myself against most horrors as we have spoken to one another.

Catherine
Yes.

Agatha
How many?

Catherine
Fourteen.

Agatha
And… how many people have you killed?

Catherine
Fourteen.

Agatha
And I’m here to service you as they had?

Catherine
Yes.

Agatha
What an ugly, yet beautiful world. Where did your victims fail?

Catherine
There isn’t a particular place. Rather, they just simply stopped being useful.

Agatha
Did you find them as you’ve found me?

Catherine
More or less. But don’t worry, I’ll warn you if you’re treading down a well-worn track.

Agatha
At least I’ll have that.

Catherine
At least you’ll have that.

Agatha
No sense in delaying, then. Tell me the worst instance of you depending on someone.

Catherine
They have a similarity to them. Thinking about it, the instances only differ by degrees.

Agatha
What makes them branches on the same tree?

Catherine
Love.

Agatha
The ballad of codependency… I should have known.

Catherine
Hmm?

Agatha
It’s what I refer to the typical relationship as. Whenever one speaks of love, they proclaim that they can’t live without the other, that they would do anything for the other, and whatever else the parrot squawks.

Catherine
Do you judge me?

Agatha
No. Only pity.

Catherine
I pity myself.

Agatha
Leave that to the adolescents. Tell me more of your ballad.

Catherine
When it plays, I try to incorporate my desirable into everything I do.

Agatha
And when they leave, do they take the brick or mortar?

Catherine
My world topples down… what’s the difference?

Agatha
Brick is substance. Mortar is support.

Catherine
Oh. Mortar. I may be love’s bitch, but I know to at least make my needs more important than theirs. Even if it’s slightly.

Daily Dialogue: Cauldron of Malice – Chapter Three

Posted in Dialogue, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2015 by Rathan Krueger

Here’s Chapter One.

Catherine
Chaos, it seems, has a sense of humor.

Agatha
A teacup not shattering when dropped on a rug perhaps owes more to Newton than misrule.

Catherine
Perhaps.

Agatha
Is the worth of your currency still valid?

Catherine
Of course. I am just taken aback is all.

Agatha
Were you expecting to corrupt me first?

Catherine
No, I just expected–

Agatha
That we live in an orderly word.

Catherine
Heh. Slave and master.

Agatha
Might I inquire your age?

Catherine
Is that not something best left to lawyers and morticians?

Agatha
Between most women and men, yes. But we are not most women and men. Besides, you have a lot to confess. Might as well begin with your vanities.

Catherine
Fair play. Twenty-eight.

Agatha
Oh? I am older than my teacher?

Catherine
It’s not the sand in the hourglass, dear Agatha, it is the road the hourglass has been traveled.

Agatha
Then you insinuate that you are more experienced than I?

Catherine
Aren’t I?

Agatha
I have seen six years more of the world than you.

Catherine
And I have seen more of the world than you. Queer that a woman would value her age.

Agatha
Why is that?

Catherine
It is the thing that is volleyed at us by society as a handicap.

Agatha
I care not for a world that values vestigial virginity over all else, and I dare not participate in said world if I can avoid such.

Catherine
More and more, I find that I made the right choice in choosing you.

Agatha
Now, continue on your set path and reveal your pains to me. Your prosperity dependencies.

Catherine
Yes… yes. Where do I begin?

Agatha
At the beginning is always a sound position.

Catherine
Yes, but dreadfully typical. I don’t wish to take our wondrously peculiar situation into stoic realms.

Agatha
It would be worse than the guillotine, it would.

Catherine
Worse than a banquet with queen and court.

Agatha
Worse than fornication during my moons.

Catherine
I don’t mind that as much.

Agatha
…what?

Catherine
Oh, wipe that incredulity off of your face, dear Agatha. It is as fine a time as any for pleasure.

Agatha
Watch what devilry you speak.

Catherine
And why, might I ask, is it devilry?

Agatha
Blood leaks from within, and crampage reigns.

Catherine
Yes, but I do not have to worry about being with child soon after, and there is another… more carnal purpose.

Agatha
I feel faint.

Catherine
But carnality feels all the more richer when your nether-regions have–

Agatha
Harpy, be silent!

Catherine
Oh, you are so fun to tease, dear Agatha.

Agatha
Don’t think that I am unaware of your scheme.

Catherine
Oh?

Agatha
You wish to distract me, delay the inevitable for as long as possible. But that’s the dilemma with the inevitable: eventually, it arrives.

Catherine
Perhaps you’re too clever for my blood…

Agatha
I declare a momentary moratorium on the word “blood,” until you cease your aberration tactics.

Catherine
Of course.

Agatha
And all words synonymous with it.

Catherine
Damnation…

Agatha
So. Why do you need to go to such extremes, like kidnapping a lady of means, to help you depend on yourself for happiness?

Catherine
It is a long tale.

Agatha
I doubt you’ll be releasing me anytime soon–

Catherine
Heh, no, I won’t.

Agatha
–so time isn’t a consideration for me.

Catherine
Very well.

Daily Dialogue: Cauldron of Malice – Chapter Two

Posted in Dialogue, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2015 by Rathan Krueger

Agatha
So, where do we… begin?

Catherine
What do you mean?

Agatha
Do we focus on my blooming into murderessdom, or on your internal happiness?

Catherine
I prefer to think of it as an infernal happiness, dear Agatha.

Agatha
Why such negativity for something so precious?

Catherine
The infernal brings me happiness, of course.

Agatha
You’re a very queer teacher, Catherine.

Catherine
Would I be right in suspecting that you’d enjoy an explanation?

Agatha
“Enjoy?” “Delight” would be a more pervasive word.

Catherine
Allow me to delight you, then.

Agatha
Oh joy.

Catherine
If I were to ask you to procure… five words to describe your perception of the world, which would they be?

Agatha
Shackled, malodorous… displeasing… oh, what’s the word… gilded… ripe.

Catherine
Would I be right in saying that you use those words in the negative?

Agatha
Each and every.

Catherine
Why did you choose “ripe?” You already used “malodorous.”

Agatha
“Ripe” in relation to produce, not aroma.

Catherine
Ah.

Agatha
Perhaps “pregnant” would have been a more succinct word.

Catherine
No, you chose well. Why would “ripe,” or “pregnant,” be adverse?

Agatha
Because if a juicy pomegranate were left on the stem, eventually it would rot.

Catherine
Then, you ultimately refer to potential wasted.

Agatha
Yes, I believe I do. What of your five telling words?

Catherine
Obliterate, wasteland, agony, offal… infernal.

Agatha
And these are positive?

Catherine
Divine.

Agatha
And you will explain?

Catherine
When you realize that you are in the cold, uncaring embrace of chaos, you can either learn to love it or be driven mad by it.

Agatha
Wouldn’t loving chaos demand a certain insanity on the part of the beholder.

Catherine
Heh, well, I suppose if you place it that way before me… Do I make more sense to you?

Agatha
No, not much.

Catherine
And yet, you stay.

Agatha
And yet, I stay. Have you killed before?

Catherine
Would that terrify you?

Agatha
No.

Catherine
Would that excite you?

Agatha
No.

Catherine
What would it do?

Agatha
Educate me.

Catherine
Yes, it would.

Agatha
And it would take me back to my original inquiry.

Catherine
Which was?

Agatha
Our focus.

Catherine
Ah, yes. And, yes.

Agatha
How many?

Catherine
14. Afraid, dear Agatha?

Agatha
No. Why did you kill?

Catherine
Does one need a reason?

Agatha
Everything needs purpose.

Catherine
But we live in chaos.

Agatha
Then we must make purpose in the pandemonium. Otherwise, insanity.

Catherine
Because we are all infernal. Does that suffice?

Agatha
For now. Am I infernal?

Catherine
Oh yes, dear Agatha.

Agatha
What talisman have I to protect me from your bloodlust?

Catherine
My word.

Agatha
Why should I trust such a thing?

Catherine
Because language is the only currency humanity has. Gems, fabric, gold, flesh… the only way these things have meaning is through language.

Agatha
A rose by any other name…

Catherine
Ramblings of a madman.

Agatha
Oh?

Catherine
A rose only matters because we gave it meaning. If we didn’t find it beautiful, if we didn’t make it a symbol of affection, it would be left amongst the other flora. Left to strangle and stab and shred with its thorns and wildness.

Agatha
Were you still talking about a rose?

Catherine
Yes, but not just.

Agatha
I understand, and I accept your talisman.

Catherine
Splendid.

Agatha
Whom do we focus on?

Catherine
Shall we let fate decide?

Agatha
With chaos, there is no fate.

Catherine
Why do you say that?

Agatha
Because there is no future. No past. Just the constant flow of now.

Catherine
Shall we let chance decide?

Agatha
Chaos laughs at chance.

Catherine
Perhaps you are more an agent of chaos than I, dear Agatha.

Agatha
How can there be probability in perpetual disarray?

Catherine
Then let us let chaos decide.

Agatha
How do we do that?

Catherine
This teacup.

Agatha
Oh?

Catherine
Since chaos is everlasting, nothing is certain. Correct?

Agatha
Yes.

Catherine
Then my dropping this delicate porcelain onto stone might not shatter it. Correct?

Agatha
Yes.

Catherine
Then let us beckon chaos. If it shatters, we focus on you. If not, on me.

Agatha
Amen.

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