The name tag said, 'Buddy Haha'.
"Yes, Buddy, short for Budwald - and Haha, short for nothing - and no, not funny Haha, just Haha. Nothing funny about it I suppose," he said, "except for that its not."
You might imagine that Buddy would have found some fluidity in that introduction. There was enough good material in his name for something soft and humorous, but it always got tangled up.
Hit-O-Rama. A one-stop trade-show showcasing the latest products and services for you, that hard working "Elimination Contractor".
Bud got the nerves during these things - there was physical morphing: his hands grew, shovel-sized. His feet and legs narrowed up and trailed off below him. Bud could feel his head swelling up, ears hissing, pounding. The whole thing made him top heavy, confused.
He'd discussed the social anxiety with his shrink, Wanda.
"My wife says its social anxiety. I kill people for a living, what kind of anxiety haven't I worked through by now?" He said, smirking more out of embarrassment than jest.
"Perhaps that list of self-defined inadequacies that allow you to take lives in anger also allow you to treat yourself poorly in a group of your own peers. Other killers have problems too. You are neither above or below..."
Of course , bud smiled, in a room full of hit-persons, he was likely to be a bit above, haha!
So why the the teetering, the groundlessness?
These days people dropped dead in the street for no good reason. A new-age chemical bullet, a modern day block-N-drop. Old school, Five Corners style, would poison a mans already fouled moonshine, just enough dope to let him get a bock before he dropped. Roll the sailor in the back of the bar and send him on his way. Dead and dirty and all by his lonesome. These days, injectionable pellets of untraceable material can be shot through outter-wear, like, this one - Bud scans the claim on the display;
Boost! Dissolving micro-capsule leaves no trace!
No trace, Bud thought. How nice.
"It's always 'You feel! You feel!' With you" he said, alternately to his wife and his shrink. "How about, I know! I know!"
Which Wanda quickly cleared up. "We 'feel' everything and 'know' very little. Your emotions are your window into what is real, what you 'know' behind the illusion that suffering offers."
"You just want me to cry. You want to see a big man cry so your trying to confuse me into - I don't know what."
"Not at all," said Wanda, said his wife, said his mother.
But that was before. Bud would take out his aggression on poor souls, marked and payed for as 'Done'.
Whack-A-Crumb! Fun stuff. Cudgel on a wire tells you the velocity and accuracy of your strike. Too violent for Bud these days. In fact, he's gone non-vio, completely, and nearly vegan to boot. He also feels his feelings. Believe it. And not one long angry moment like the past forty years either. He can sift through a moment now, pick out some sadness, some longing, tweeze up a bit of remorse and spit-shine it to see the facets.., nice work, King-Kong!
"When someone makes you explosively angry," Wanda had said, "what happens? What do you feel? What do you do?"
"Squash everything into anger, use the anger to squash whatever, whomever it was that made me feel this way."
"What's behind the anger?" She asked.
"What's behind the hatred?"
Bud winced. "Why don't you just tell me instead of trying to find out the hard way!"
"We'll, I suspect it's all of your emotions, and things you find threatening."
"Ha! Rich! And I'm paying you too!"
End of part 1 - buddy