DAVE: i dunno why my friends got to have adults around who cared about them DAVE: they complained bitterly about stuff so i guess i convinced myself they were all in the same boat as me DAVE: but thats not how it was DAVE: their complaints were trumped up nonsense and i bought it cause... i dunno DAVE: i didnt have any frame of reference DAVE: but his dad and her mom no matter what they said it was so obvious they cared about them deeply DAVE: even jades weird fuckin grandpa who died when she was young obviously would have done anything for her DAVE: why did i get such a raw cut of the asshole deck DAVE: and why did it take me so long to figure that out DAVE: and like hes dead now so thats that DAVE: so all thats left to do is look back and try to put the pieces together of my first 13 years DAVE: and all i can think is what the fuck WAS that?! DAVE: i dont come away with the impression i used to try convincing myself of, that he was like "mysterious" or "stern" or "aloof" DAVE: the only feeling left is this insane impression that i was raised by somebody who fuckin HATED me DAVE: and the whole act of even "raising a child" was some totally fucked up game to him DAVE: like parenthood was one of the highest tiers of irony in his solemn bullshit bro-ninja code DAVE: so he went through those motions and did whatever he thought was "funny" or "badass" DAVE: but under that weird stylistic and totally sociopathic approach to parenting i cant even IMAGINE there was any emotion toward me other than some sort of loathing DIRK: What... DIRK: Did he do? DAVE: i dont want to get out the laundry list DAVE: but for reference laundry wasnt one of those things DAVE: that was just one of the many little domestic things i just had to sort of FIGURE OUT DAVE: sorta like i eventually had to learn what the REAL purpose of a refridgerator was from movies DIRK: Wait. DIRK: What?? DAVE: i dunno theres too much to even get into DAVE: just DAVE: i dont remember the atmosphere ever not being nerve wracking DAVE: all havin to sneak around and... DAVE: ugh my shitty childhood spider senses are tinglin just thinking about it DAVE: it was "training" you know DAVE: but you know what it really was it was some vicious shit that was bad and sucked and i hated it DAVE: it didnt make me stronger DAVE: it did the opposite DAVE: it made me never want to fight DAVE: it made me never want to see blood or be near danger or hear metal sounds DAVE: it made me hate the idea of being a hero cause he was a hero and he ruined the idea of heroism DAVE: i dont even want to be fighting this shitty version of jack but hey nobody else has secret welsh powers so i guess i have to DIRK: ... DAVE: what gets me is how long it took me to put all this together DAVE: to stop seeing it as some kinda roughhousey and eccentric life i had but was otherwise normal DAVE: it took years to deconstruct it all and put it back together to understand how fuckin mad i should be DAVE: and in particular how stone cold deeply uncared for i was my whole life DAVE: like... being merely "monitored" by a violent robot DAVE: i only started getting it after spending a lot of time in person with a bunch of people who actually did care about me DAVE: and i could start feeling like DAVE: actually somewhat human for the first time DAVE: instead of... DAVE: some sort of runty afterthought to a household cabal of smutty puppets DIRK: ... Puppets? DAVE: the fuckin puppets!!! DAVE: i know how it sounds but i am NOT joking and there is NO shred of doubt in my mind that he loved all those puppets more than me DAVE: honestly it is very possible that he was just insane and thats that DAVE: i guess it didnt help either that we lived with what we have come to understand may theoretically be the most evil doll to exist in any universe ever DAVE: in fact its my tenuous understanding that he came down to earth with that thing and like actually grew up with it DAVE: maybe... DAVE: maybe spending 30 some years being unseparable from that hell puppet had some effect on him?? DAVE: maybe if it hadnt been casting a pall over our apartment 24/7 since he took me in... DAVE: grinning... DAVE: glaring... DAVE: laughing in my sleep... DAVE: maybe our lives wouldnt have been quite so... DAVE: maybe we would have... DAVE: ugh DIRK: What?