“I hate them and their hypocrisy,” he starts as we walk out of the Agency, “I find them more toxic than most of the psychopaths I know.” Says Dee, walking out of the building and onto that street that always leads us to beers and conversations. Something triggered his excitement about this topic, and it’s hard to pinpoint one of all the wrath-deserving issues we covered today.
“Their bigotry is vomit-worthy,” he continues, imitating a gag reaction to the idea of what he calls the modern hippie.
In the Agency, we discuss essential parts of the Project, and the data reassures us that the matter is and will continue to be challenging to understand. After these last few hours at the Agency, we know that this Project will defy our perception of the world ultimately of ourselves.
What we saw today has moved us all.
As he describes them, the modern hippie is a new age, entitled, pseudo-socialist of self-proclaimed importance. This amalgamation of toxic irreverence for truth and moral irresponsibility is, according to Dee Steinberg, to blame for many of the issues facing society today.
I am familiar with Dee’s opinion of this population segment, but there is more about it today; it’s stronger, its fury is almost palpable.
“It’s too bad you’re not really the Devil,” he says to me, “I’d love to see you punish them as they deserve.”
“I’ll punish them for you, Dee,” says Paul, pretending to draw his gun and shooting something or someone in front of him. We are walking towards those beers we agreed to have over pleasant chat about the pathetic states of culture and the insufferable bullshit it serves as wisdom.
To draw out his passionate discourse longer, I ask Dee if these people deserve the punishment he wishes upon them. It’s not that I think he’s wrong; I share his contempt for the modern hippie. Furthermore, I genuinely enjoy listening to Dee’s elaborations on human behaviour. His experience in life and war gives him a unique perspective on why people act the way they do.
“They absolutely do!” He exclaims. “These worthless, negligible idiots pretend to stand for solemn causes for their own status only. These imbeciles don’t know what they fight for; they only follow the lead of other idiots whose status they want to emulate. They ruin everything they touch – they turn pure, just objectives into memes by making them accessible to any emotional, negligent chump out there. They do it for the pictures, and their social media updates.”
I arrogantly begin to explain to Dee how his use of the word emulate is technically out of context as we walk into Wheatsheaf Tavern on King Street West. “I met a guy a bit back,” interrupts Paul, as if understanding the need to check my irreverence for our friend’s concerns. I accept his indirect rebuke.
“This guy claimed he was educating people on dolphins and whales all over the world,” continues Paul, “but it turned out he was lying about his work to get laid… usually, I wouldn’t give a fuck, but this guy had seduced a friend and used her to push his lie, I wasn’t gonna let that go.”
“Ugh! Didn’t you want to hurt him? Please tell me you did.” Says Dee, waving his clenched fist in front of his chest before sitting down at our table in the old bar.
“I did. And I did,” replies Paul. “Not physically, unfortunately. It didn’t take much to uncover his lies, though. It also turns out that he was a raging homosexual sleeping with some women and causing drama strategically at home to make his family and friends see him as straight.”
Paul pauses for a short moment and shows a look of remorse that focuses Dee’s and my attention. He proceeds to admit his regrets.
“I know now that I could have handled that better. I should have been more careful about how I hurt other people around him. Perhaps he needed help more than he needed punishment.”
“Fuck that!” Blurts Dee, “What about all the suffering he caused others? What about your friend he used to deal with his problems? Doesn’t she matter? Is she not innocent in all this?”
Dee’s exasperation at Paul’s confirmation of liability reveals a fit of exaggerated anger that continues to baffle me. Again, he is always happy to denounce the deception of people like Paul’s guy, but his criticism is intense today; it’s consuming him.
“Yes,” starts Paul, “She is mostly innocent, but she allowed herself to be manipulated by a sick man. I know I caused her pain with how I treated her lover. I can guarantee you that this guy couldn’t see how he projected his problems onto others. His sadness and stress were deeply-seated, and he knew that being honest about who he is would cause more tension in his life.”
“I’m not saying I shouldn’t have dealt with him, Dee, I’m just saying that I could have done it better to minimise suffering, especially of the innocent people involved.” submits Paul. It is incredibly sobering to witness such elegant compassion from someone I know to be a dangerous man.
Paul is a killer, a mechanic, a problem solver for the people who can offer the proper payment or motivation.
A profound silence befalls the table. And more impressive than the empathy exhibited by our alleged assassin friend is Dee’s reaction to it. Paul sees it and understands it.
“Sometimes, we have to recognise how our attempts at justice affect the entire ecosystem and plan our approach accordingly,” Says Paul, now noticing something I still can’t see. “We will get them, brother, but we have to do it correctly.”
“Yes, we will,” says Dee, bringing his hands to his face gesturing a deep realisation. “Has he met the woman in the blue blouse?” He continues, signalling his readiness to move away from the subject of the deplorable modern hippie. We do.
I don’t know that I would deal with Paul’s guy differently. I can be irrational when it comes to protecting those for whom I care. However, Paul’s attitude and Dee’s realisation are warnings that we all need to focus now – that we must take what the Agency shows us about the world and use it to ensure that we target the right people.
We must, at all costs, make sure that the victim is the focus all the time.
— The Devil Unbound