Swimming With Sharks
written by George Huang
Buddy Ackerman: Christmas Eve-- 12 years ago. She was on her way to the mall. I was supposed to have gone with her. We hadn't started our Christmas Shopping yet. But it was gonna be simple. Just some stuff for our parents. Money was tight and shopping was a hassle anyway. We even promised not to give each other gifts. On the way, there was a car that had broken down, so Mallory pulled over to help. I always told her she was such a busy body, but she just called it being nice. She got out and asked if everything was all right, or something stupid. Anyway, It was a scam. Bunch of punk kids stealing cars. They shot her. I was stuck at the office wrapping Christmas gifts for my boss. Lot of gifts. We'd had a good year that year. I was there till three a.m. And the whole time, I'm thinking to myself 'Oh Boy. She is gonna be pissed. When I get home, I am a dead man.' [Laughs] Anyway, I got home, got the message, went down to the hospital to identify her. It was a whole week into the New Year before I found them. These stupid wind-up toys and a note. 'In the constant rat-race of life, don't ever forget to unwind.' She was never really any good at writing notes.
You think you know it all, don't you? You're 25 years old. You're a baby. You don't know shit. Look, I can appreciate this. I was young too. I felt just like you. Hated authority. Hated all my bosses, thought they were full of shit. Look, it's like they say. 'If you're not a rebel by the age of 20, you got no heart, but if you haven't turned establishment by 30, you've got no brains!' Because there are no storybook romances, no fairytale endings. So before you run out and change the world, ask yourself--What do you really want?
Don't come preaching to me about your idea of what's fair. Because you're no martyr here. You're no hero. You're just a fucking hypocrite. You're just like any other punk kid out there, looking for a way in, any way in, and you need me. What, you think someone just handed me this job? I've handled the phones. I've juggled the bimbos. I've-- I've put up with the tyrants, the yellers, the screamers. I've done more than you can even imagine in that small mind of yours. I've paid my dues-- Dammit, it's my turn to be selfish. It's my turn. See that's the trouble with your fucking MTV, microwave dinner generation. You all want it now. You think you deserve it just because you want it? It doesn't work like that. You have to earn it. You have to take it. You have to make it yours. But first, Guy, you need to decide what it is you really want.
You wanna go back to your shitty little existence? Go ahead, leave. There's the door. No one's stopping you. You could have left any day, but you stayed. So let's forget the Dudley-damn-do-right crap. Because out here its kill your parents, fuck your friends, and have a nice day! Look, I don't make the rules. I play by them. What, your job is unfair to you? Grow up, way it goes. People use you? Life's unfair? Grow up, way it goes. Your girlfriend doesn't love you? Tough shit, way it goes. Your wife gets raped, and shot, and they leave their unfinished beers-- [Beat. Begins crying.] Their--their stinking long-necks--just lying there on the ground-- So be it. Way it goes.
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