“I am guessing you have seen the news?”
“You know I make a point to avoid the newspapers.”
“Yes, I never understood that.”
“How does the person most capable of understanding and interpreting current events not read the newspaper?” Mal looked right at Haysis with her slightly crooked smile begging for some reaction.
“Does a scientist read Scientific American?”
“Well yes, I think so.”
“Then they are idiots.” There was an awkward pause where Mal looked around not sure if he was insulting scientists or her for not knowing much about them. “Anyways, why do you ask? What sensational piece of worthless knowledge are the public so curious to know about that they will pay a dollar and waste 15 minutes reading about just so they can sound like experts to their friends?”
The Pier 49 where they were eating suddenly went quiet, and Mal didn’t know what to say with multiple people looking at her companion. The man taking orders was the only one to speak. “Two slices is all, any drink with that?” The moment ended and people went back to their conversations.
Mal, feeling a bit awkward, leaned over to Haysis and whispered, “perhaps you should talk a bit quieter.” Haysis rolled his eyes.
“They are only a bunch of Goldman Sachs employees. They all know it is true. Look how they watch the sports news, as if it mattered. They talk as if they were talking about something. That one over there thinks he is such a big shot because he got a job at Goldman Sachs. He is going to reach the big time. He is going to have so much money! What a joke.”
“Quiet!” Mal lifted her finger to her mouth. “They may be listening!”
“And? Do you think one of them is cute or something? There is a room filled with men in business attire here, I am sure anyone would gladly take you home, regardless of what we said.”
“Please. Even if I wanted to, most are probably married.”
“So? You think they have standards? I think you are forgetting that they work for Goldman Sachs.”
Mal looked around at the stares of people who were obviously trying to avoid looking but were unable to help it. “Come on, let’s go!” She grabbed Haysis by the sleeve, pulling him up while he anxiously reached for his pizza.
“I was enjoying my pizza, my dear senorita!”
“You were making sure no one could enjoy their pizza.”
“It is not my fault they didn’t find the truth pleasurable.”
They walked down the main street past Sam Weller’s bookstore and out of the financial district of Salt Lake City, Haysis, perturbed and finishing his pizza.
“I was saying the case of the Attorney Generals. John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff were arrested on felony charges.”
“Oh that. Who cares?”
“Who cares? This is one of the biggest stories to come out of the state of Utah this year, and you don’t even care? This means corruption at the highest places in our government, and you don’t even care?”
Haysis simply laughed and kept walking.
“What? I don’t get it. What is the joke your highness?”
Haysis looked around at the intersection. “Hey, I have a bit of sweet tooth (what a silly expression), I’m going to jump into that Judge bakery or whatever it is.” With that he crossed the street, and Mal followed quickly behind.
“Tell me, what is funny about the Attorney general’s case?”
“Besides their names?”
Mal smiled. “Yes, besides their names.”
“Gosh Haysis, I thought you were not so juvenile. Of all the people in the world, I would have expected you to be the one capable of taking something seriously.”
“Okay, then what do you think about the case? Are they guilty? Are you going to try and work on it?”
“Are they guilty?” Haysis made his “please” face. “Are you serious? How long have you known me Mal?”
“A few years why?”
Haysis was distracted by the lady at the food booth. “What would you like?”
“One of those cookies please. Thank you. Here.” He handed the women his card.
“Here you are sir.” Haysis grabbed the card and the cookie.
“Two years. Two years and you ask me if two bureaucrats are guilty? I am beginning to question your value beyond your shapely figure and gorgeous face.”
“That wasn’t a compliment.”
“I know.” They stopped and looked at each other for a moment. Haysis turned and kept walking toward State Street. “Let me tell you something about criminals. Being a criminal is a job for some, a career for many. And just like most careers, there is stratification. There are managers who run one store; there are managers that are CEOs of multi-billion dollar organizations. That is a pretty large spectrum. Crime is the same way. Some criminals steal bikes and televisions and cars. These people are like regular store workers. The smarter and more capable criminals are in charge of organized crime groups, mafia leaders. But do you know what the smartest criminals do? What do the cleverest sociopaths do?” Haysis gave a condescending smile, Mal humored him.
“Sociopaths want to hurt people for their benefit. They steal to put someone else down and them up. But you know, it is not that easy being a criminal. There is a lot of risk, someone could catch you. Someone could shoot you. Sometimes you have to actually see the people you steal from and confront the reality that you are hurting them. That all sucks. There are better ways to go about satisfying your sociopathic urges. You can become a policeman. Then you can control people. Take from people, carry a gun, hurt people at your benefit, and be generally viewed positively by society. But even there is risk, and there is not that much money or prestige in it. The best of the best sociopaths is not going to be a common criminal, they are not going to be a policeman. The best place is controlling the policeman. Politician. Bureaucrat. These are the geniuses and CEOs of the criminal world.”
“Psh. Be serious Haysis.”
“I am being serious. Goodness girl. Wake up. Don’t tell me you are as blind to the world around you as those Goldman Sachs employees. I gave you more credit than that. Look at politicians. They get to control people. They get to control armies and police forces. They get to say who goes to prison and who doesn’t. They can tell people what light bulbs to use and what ones they can’t. They can order the deaths of people and steal from entire populations. However, that is not even the best perk. Oh no. The head of a very successful mafia boss can do most of that. But know what the real perk of being a ‘public servant’ is?”
“Exactly. I am glad you are not completely lost.” Haysis smiled and appreciated Mal’s equally warm response. “Politicians get the praise of people for doing all the evil stuff they want to do. They can control what kind of light bulb people are using and feel like they are ‘helping the world.’ They can send down bombs on all sorts of people in other countries and pass it off as ‘protecting their people.’ They can be involved in wars and still earn Nobel Peace prizes. They can steal from a whole population and never have to individually see the faces of those they are stealing from. It really is a great gig.”
“I’m not sure if I agree with you completely, but I see your point. I’ll have to think about it. But what does this have to do with John Swallow?”
“Aaah! Are you serious? He is a politician, did you miss my talks about politicians?!”
Mal laughed. “Well, in the normal paradigm, is he guilty?”
“I don’t know. I don’t even know what the normal paradigm is. Sure he probably took some campaign contributions he shouldn’t have. He possibly tampered with evidence. I don’t care. These are political fights. This is like two mafia bosses fighting over who broke the rules. They’re mafia bosses. They make their money from stealing and deceiving and intimidating and blackmail. When the tide of Mafia politics brings accusations against one Mafia member and they find stuff about him, is he guilty for breaking mafia rules? Well probably, but does it matter? They are all breaking rules. They are mafia members for Christ’s sake.”
“So you are saying his accusers are just as guilty as he is?”
“Of course, whatever guilty means in this case. There are thousands of rules and completely insane regulations that have nothing to do with reality. If I say I have made a whole bunch of random and likely frequently contradicting rules in my imaginary universe, are you ‘guilty’ for not following them? I guess so if you have agreed to follow them, as Swallow had. Of course the ‘laws’ are so complicated and insane that everyone is breaking them. It is just a matter of searching long and hard enough on any given person. You have probably committed a few felonies and misdemeanors just this week.”
“So should they go to jail?”
“Sure, why not,” Haysis remarked flippantly, “Should mafia boss A put mafia boss B in jail? Yeah why not? I wish mafia boss A would lock himself up while he was at it, but oh well, take what you can get I suppose.”
“Okay. I can tell I am not going to get much of anywhere on this one.”
“No you are not.”
“Fair, let’s get to the library, we are late for the meeting.”
“Oh, there is something I do find very humorous about this case.”
“That one of the ‘crimes’ they are accused of is misuse of public funds. That made me laugh. In other words they are going to jail for being politicians.”
“Ha! Well good point there.”
“Thank you.” Haysis smiled. “And you look great in that dress.”
“You are still not earning any points. Come on.” Mal led the way into the building.