I was talking to the soldier, circa 2007…
“By the way,” I said. “I have been thinking about something.”
He was working on something and turned to look at me. “What’s that?”
“Well you’re all the time threatening to kill people. Do you know that? At least once a day you threaten to kill someone but more like about three or four times on average,” I said with both a stare and a smile.
“Yeah and I think it a lot more than that,” he said.
“Not surprised. So I decided I should try to figure out if you might actually do it. You threaten this constantly but do you mean it? Might you do it, or are you just blowing off steam?”
He didn’t even look up.
“And it used to disturb me greatly… all the threats. But I’ve gotten used to them. I know you’re going to threaten to kill someone on most days and I don’t want to be stupid or in denial but I don’t think you’re going to do it,” I said. “I think maybe this is how you blow off steam. I think it’s just how you talk. It’s your language.”
“Kill someone? You don’t think I will?”
“Well I don’t know. I have no idea what you’re going to do. I’m just telling you about this process I’ve gone through and telling you that since you threaten this all the time and it’s almost become normal to me, I thought it might be smart for me to figure out just how serious you are. Say… what are the odds?”
He smiled, and then chuckled a little so I chuckled too.
“Yeah, are you going to kill someone? Or is this just how you talk? So I came up with a number and I was surprised I could do this but the number came to me and its damned low. It’s lower than I could have hoped for because as you know I would prefer you not kill people. You know this, right?”
“I do. So what’s the number, P?”
“Well it’s lower than I expected.” I said, stalling.
“The number, P. Give it to me.”
“The number is 4%.”
“However there’s more to say. I’m pretty sure there are some circumstances where you would kill someone 100%. I think there are some circumstances where if you came upon them you would kill someone absolutely. No hesitation.”
“The 100% is definitely right and 4%? Yeah, I would say that’s about right as well. Something like that. That’s a pretty good job there, P,” he said with a grin.
“Yeah, well I know you. And I know more math than you think,” I said with a smirk. “But anyway, I don’t think that is all that high considering. And maybe it will move to 3% if you get laid a lot and someone feeds you.”
He ignored me.
“So I’m going to think about this some more. But right now I don’t know that 4% is that much higher than average. You know. A person can go off and kill someone and perhaps you are less likely because you have such control. So that leaves the 100% doesn’t it?”
“I guess. There are definitely circumstances…”
“I know. For example no one is going to hijack a plane with box cutter are they? You would kill them instantly, yes? They would be dead?”
“Yes they’d be dead. You got that right.”
I laughed involuntarily. “Okay, well that’s what I thought. And I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about this. Because it seems people like you have a place in nature. I believe that. However, how would I like to be sitting next to the guy who killed the guy with box cutter, hmm?”
He didn’t say anything.
“I have to ask myself this,” I said. “Because I don’t think I should come out to your desert house and be with you without knowing the answers to this stuff. I ought to know exactly how I feel about this don’t you think?”
“Yeah. Hand me that would you?” he said pointing to a tool. “I’m glad you’re out here keeping me company. Wish I could have you here all the time. I usually have to do this alone. No company at all. I like it a lot better when you’re with me, P. You make my day great.”