Goons – Chapter 14

67 days until takeover

Em and Bossman are arguing. This is something they do a lot. Bossman is always eager to start an argument with Em because sometimes she’s less careful than I am. She does crazy stuff like saying things without fact-checking them, or expressing opinions. And Bossman, who has an entire Wikipedia inside his head, loves nothing more than explaining to people how and why they are incorrect. Not that Em is exactly a victim here. She’s a stubborn old goat, who knows that Bossman will abandon an argument in frustration if she sticks doggedly to her point and finds ways of making his points seem irrelevant or trivial. It’s fun to watch.

This one is not the most ridiculous argument they’ve ever had, but it’s probably in the top five. They are furiously debating whether two blokes from ancient Greece (Alexander the Great and some guy whose name I can’t pronounce) were bumming each other.

“I’m so sick of men straightwashing history, just because they like to think that everyone who’s ever done anything important must’ve been a straight white male,” Em spits. “Alexander the Great was bi as hell, and Hephaestion was clearly his boyfriend.”

“You’re complaining about people altering history when you’re doing that yourself! You’re shoehorning someone who lived thousands of years ago into a twenty-first century idea of sexual orientation.”

“It’s not shoehorning to call someone who was attracted to men and women bisexual.”

“You have no evidence he was attracted to Hephaestion.”

“He gave the guy a funeral that cost the equivalent of 240 million dollars.” Em is grinning triumphantly now, because she’s invaded Bossman’s territory – the territory of obscure historical facts. “That’s something you do for the love of your life, not just some guy you work with.”

Bossman pinches the bridge of his nose in exasperation.

“I know you lot want to turn all of human endeavour into a Harlequin romance-”

“Oi, less of the you lot.”

“I don’t mean lesbians, I mean women,” he snaps, as if that’s any better. “But men are capable of doing great things for people they have no desire to fuck. Maybe women are different, but men have sacrificed their lives for each other and thrown very expensive funerals out of respect, loyalty, and brotherhood.”

He glances at me, as if he’s expecting back-up. This is not exactly what comes out of my mouth.

“Would you throw me a 240 million dollar funeral?”

Em smirks. Bossman scowls.

“What? I’m on your side, I reckon it could’ve been platonic. I’m just asking, would you throw me a 240 million dollar funeral if I died?”

You are no Hephaestion,” says Bossman, and storms off.

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