Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Page 1247

Why would I get you something for MY birthday?’ said Hector.

You wouldn’t,’ said Garovel. ‘I mean, I’m not upset about it.’ A beat passed. ‘Would’ve been a nice gesture, though.

Hector opened his right hand and materialized a smaller, iron hand therein. He made sure that only its middle finger was extended. ‘Here’s your present.

How crude.

Hector annihilated his work before anyone else saw it. ‘Okay, then, let’s have it. I’m ready for this verbal birthday card of yours.

It’s not your birthday yet.

Wow, you’re gonna make me wait to experience something so incredible?

You’re that curious, huh? I suppose that’s to be expected. Alright, fine, I’ll give it to you early. It goes like this. Ahem. “Dear Hector. You’ve been my servant for around nine months now, and so--much like a fetus maturing into a human being--you’ve made the journey from complete uselessness to NEAR complete uselessness.”

Well, thank you.

I’m not done.

Of course you aren’t.

I’ll continue. Ahem. “I know I can sometimes come across as callous or ungrateful for many of the things you’ve done for me, but I just want you to know that. Well. I am. Both of those things. Because you never do anything right, and really, I’m the amazing one for being able to put up with so much of your shit.”

Birthday cards aren’t this long, Garovel.

Stop interrupting. Ahem... “Ahaha! But I’m merely teasing, of course. We do have fun, don’t we? I only make fun of you because I know you can take it. If I’m being completely serious, though, then I do feel genuinely compelled to thank you. I know that sometimes, my cynicism gets the better of me, but even after only nine months, I can say with some confidence that it is an honor to have you as my servant.”’

Monday, August 8, 2016

Page 1246

Eh, I’d bet on you,’ said Garovel. ‘You’ve already faced worse, I think.

Hector blinked at the sudden compliment. It was nice, but a part of him would’ve preferred another insult.

Oh, and by the way,’ the reaper went on, ‘I know we’ve been busy, but I haven’t forgotten about your birthday.

Hector kind of had. ‘...What day is today?

You don’t know?

Hector gave a stilted shrug. ‘If I’m honest, everything’s just a blur to me right now.

It’s the twenty-third. Your birthday’s in two days.

Oh...

Do you need me to remember how old you are, too?

You’re one to talk,’ said Hector. ‘How old are you, exactly, huh?

You don’t get to use that excuse until you’re at least a hundred,’ said Garovel.

I’m turning seventeen. Happy now?

Actually, you’ll be turning eighteen.

What?

I’m just fucking with you.

Ugh.

But the fact that you seemed genuinely confused for a second is amazing.

I was only confused because I trust you to tell me important shit!

Oh, well, I’m flattered.

I should just never trust anything you tell me.

Aw, don’t say that. I got you a birthday present in order to demonstrate my affection.

Hector’s brow lowered. ‘...How could you get me--? You don’t have a physical body, so you couldn’t have--

Does that mean you don’t want it?

Hector’s mouth flattened. ‘...Alright, where is it?

It’s not a physical object, you materialistic fuck. I got you a verbal birthday card.

A what?

A verbal birthday card.

Is that as stupid as it sounds?

If by “stupid” you mean “incredibly thoughtful of me,” then yes. Don’t worry, though. I’m not expecting anything in return.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Page 1245

Anyway,’ said Garovel, ‘the planet’s ardor is widely theorized to be the source of all human and animal souls as we currently know them. But that’s a bit difficult to be prove. It could be that souls and ardor developed independently of one another. Or from some third thing that we haven’t even discovered yet.

Hmm. So, wait. Every living thing in the world has a soul?

Yes.

Even, like, those single-celled organisms you were talking about just now?

Yep. Even them. But it must be said that their souls are extremely weak, comparatively.

Huh. Does that mean...? Uh. Does that mean you could’ve taken, like--I don’t know--a hamster as your servant?

I thought I did. I mean, just look at you.’

Fuckin’...

I had to, Hector. You set me up way too perfectly.

Fuck you.

But yeah, in theory, I could’ve taken a hamster for a servant. Anything with a large enough brain.

A hamster has a large enough brain?

Yeah. The requirements aren’t too strict. Good thing, too, otherwise you wouldn’t--

Alright, shut up.

Heh. Generally speaking, though, taking anything other than a human as your servant is an incredibly stupid thing to do. Not being able to communicate complex ideas to your servant is a pretty big problem.

Makes sense.

I’ve known a few reapers who did it, too. Haven’t known any where it worked out for ‘em, though. Shockingly, animals can be rather unpredictable.

I bet someone figured it out,’ said Hector. ‘Imagine having a bear as your servant. A super old bear with soul power? That would be insane.

Literally,’ said Garovel.

Maybe. Not something I’d wanna fight, though.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Page 1244

Hmm,’ said Hector. ‘Would there even be a definitive way to determine whether the planet is alive or not?

Well, again, what do you mean by “alive?” Do you mean “possessing a consciousness?” Do you mean “self-aware?” Because there are plenty of single-celled organisms that wouldn’t fit that criteria.

Aw, hell, I don’t know...

You don’t know what you meant by alive?

I always feel so stupid when you start bringing up scientific shit.

Well, good, because that’s why I bring it up. Not to help you learn anything. To make you feel stupid. It gives me great pleasure.

I’m sure it does.

I was being facetious.

Were you, Garovel? Were you?

Don’t get all pouty on me. I’m trying to help you.

Okay, so is the planet alive or not?

You weren’t listening to me at all, were you?

I listened to you spout a bunch of vague bullshit!

Garovel laughed. ‘Wow.

Remember that conversation you had with Rasalased?! Well, that’s what talking to YOU is like!

Alright, there’s no need to hurt my feelings,’ said Garovel. ‘What didn’t you understand?

I don’t know! I was just wondering if there was more to the planet’s... energy or whatever. More than most people realize, I mean.

The answer to that is yes.

Okay... so... could you elaborate?

Not really, no.

Why not?

Because, as far as I am aware, nobody really understands the planet’s “energy or whatever,” as you put it. So we’re not sure if that means it’s alive.

But, uh, you said that “alive” had a weird definition and that I’m dumb.

I didn’t say you were dumb.

Sounded like you did.

Then you misheard.

Yeah, well, I bet you were thinking it.

No, but I’m thinking it right now.

It was Hector’s turn to laugh.