"This isn't your personal playground
," Mitch said. He wasn't happy.
"I probably wouldn't use quite the same words
"What words would you use then?"
She looked down, shrugging slightly. "What is the purpose of our time
"You already know the answer," he said. "The mission was made clear since day one
, and you are regularly reminded of the rules we all abide by."
"Yes, yes, I know what we're supposed to be doing, but why are we supposed to do what we've been told to do
"Because that's what you agreed to, because that's the way things are supposed to be, because that's what prevents everything from dissolving into chaos
"That's what you truly believe."
"Yes, it's what I believe," he said. "You haven't seen what I've seen. The world is a nasty place. You may have been fortunate enough to have been spared the worst of it, but not all of us have had the privilege to coast through life in your shoes
"I get that you've had a rough life
"And our rules are all that stand between the relative peace we have now, and the pit on the other side
." Mitch was becoming increasingly animated.
"You put that much faith in our rules and regulations..."
"We don't have anything else
. You tell me what you would replace it with."
"We don't have time for that in one conversation," she said. "And I don't think you're in a state in which you're willing to listen
"What is that supposed to mean?
" he demanded. "I'm here! I'm listening!"
"I think we need to wait
until you've calmed down."
calm!" he shouted.
He wasn't calm.
Agent Kalphen waited for him to take a few breaths. "I think there's more to life
than just doing what we're told, and trying to avoid the worst."
"When you get to this rainbow fantasyland of yours
, send me a postcard."
"You worry a lot. I get that. You've seen the worst things these people can do
, and you feel like we're always on the cusp of falling back into that again."
"And you don't? I'd like to be willfully blind too. It must be a wonderful life
, but somebody has to be realistic. Somebody has to point to the duck and call it a duck."
"I think there's more
to it than that."
"More to ducks?" he asked.
"A duck walks by, and you see an animal that could potentially attack us. I pick up a rock, and you see it as something I could potentially attack you with. A rainbow appears, and you're looking at the ground, pointing out places we might slip
in the mud."
"You'd rather slip in the mud then."
"That's not what I'm saying
"What are you saying then?" He was getting worked up again.
"Someone stops to look at the rainbow, instead of avoiding the mud, and you accuse them of treating this world as their personal playground."
"Oh, you're going to pull that on me
now. Is that what this is about?"
"If you can't enjoy your time here
, that's your issue, but how much of your worldview do you think others have to follow?"
"You're accusing me of forcing others to be miserable because I'm miserable
"Maybe not quite in those words
"I'm looking out for everybody here. I am looking out for everyone's safety, and this is the thanks I get
"When was the last time you were happy
"This is not a happy place
," he said. "This is a place where people suffer. And the sooner you can accept that, the sooner you'll find peace within yourself."
"You've found peace then
, have you Mitch?"
"I try," he said. "I forget sometimes, but I try
"Maybe I am luckier than you," she said. "I haven't lived enough of life to see it as suffering
. And I don't plan to."