For the second time, I was tempted to walk away.
“We both have 36 hours to live; we’re like ticking time bombs. And the only way to diffuse the bomb is to kill the other guy.”
“Kill? As in murder?”
“Well, I don’t think of it as murder. But yeah, that’s basically what it is.”
“So the next time you see me, you’re going to try to kill me?”
“I probably will kill you. I’m pretty good, actually.” He was clenching his jaw.
“Why aren’t you killing me now?”
“Oh, that’s right. Thanks for reminding me. You’re not allowed to do anything during the first meeting.”
I laughed. “You’re messing with me, right?”
“Who makes up these rules?”
“Um, I’ve never really asked.”
“So let me get this straight. You’ve met other people who look exactly like us? And you’ve killed them? And you’ve never stopped to wonder why?”
“Dude. After the first one, you just kind of know it’s right. I wish you could experience it.”
“But I’m not going to because I don’t stand a chance against you?”
“Correct.” Now he was smiling.
I was sure now that he was joking with me, so I humored the bastard. “Alright, well, do you have any tips?”
He stood up. “Do you get queasy at the sight of blood?”
Boy, do I ever. TV surgery, gangster films, and Animal Planet have all been known to send me into a whimpering fetal position. “Yes, very much so.”
“Get over that.” He walked through the crowd of pigeons like he was Clint Eastwood or something. “Oh, by the way,” he added, “no guns.”
“Too easy.” And with that, he turned the corner, leaving me with the increasingly courageous birds who, I discovered, were eyeing a half-eaten sandwich that had been discarded below the bench I was sitting on. And here I was beginning to think I was the bird whisperer or something.