Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Equilibrium Mixed Tape , part 3 (Now With Bonus Excerpt)

Our next to last installment in the blog version of the EQUILIBRIUM mixed tape (the full version is available in the back of EQUILIBRIUM itself, if the dorkiness of the limited selection here doesn't turn you off. Ha!):

Kaiser Chiefs: "Love's Not A Competition, But I'm Winning"

Yeah, I know, I can't embed it here, but it's a short song and extremely good. This is neither a Sam nor a Hansen pick; though the Kaiser Chiefs are a very good Hansen Band, I don't think he'd like to admit that this is kind of, uh, his attitude sometimes. It's not very flattering... yet kinda cute. In an insecure way. Or so Sam seems to think.

I listened to Kaiser Chiefs a ton while writing EQUILIBRIUM. Every book has a mix, but there's always one band or artist that gets more love than others while it's going on. And this time it was these guys. So much so that Sam almost makes a direct reference in the course of an argument.

What? A bonus excerpt illustrating my point -- and Sam's? Great idea! So, "the concept" to which Sammy is about to refer is that of Nash Equilibrium. Which, as you might've guessed, is integral to the plot. In a nerdy "I have no love life so I use fancy theories to explain it away and still feel intellectually superior" kinda way. Hansen is cute like that. (Again, according to Sam.)


He’d stopped smiling. “You seriously think that?”

“It’s not a judgment, Sam. Just, you like pussy. That’s a fact.”

He sat up, throwing his legs over the side of the bed. “There’s no law that says you can’t like it both ways. That makes me a liar?”

“Don’t be like that. It just means, um, you’re straight.”

“Oh, thank god. Because yesterday I kept imagining bending you over my desk, and I got jack shit done at work. Almost thought I wanted to fuck a guy, for a second there. But no, I’m straight, so that’s crazy talk.”

Okay, no one could survive that much porn without inventing a few fantasies. But still, it was so not fair to say that when he was in the act of getting out of bed. Blue balls: awesome way to start the morning. “Sammy—”

He stood, which left me watching an ass straight off of Michelangelo’s David as he collected his scattered clothes off the floor. “You think you’re real fucking smart with your fancy game theory, but it’s not that complicated. The whole concept hinges on successfully calculating the risk and reward for everyone involved so you know what their smartest move is. If you can’t do that, you have no idea when you’re actually in equilibrium, and you make a bad call. Then you lose everything.”

That…was perfectly accurate, yes. I pushed myself up to sitting.

He pulled on his shorts and straightened his pants and undershirt over his arm. “So maybe you should ask what I want and what I’m putting on the line before you make any calls.”

“Sometimes people don’t even know what they want—”

“It’s not a fucking game. It’s not business or politics or any of this pointless bullshit you throw up around yourself to make you feel safe. This is not a competition. We’re on the same side. We were always on the same side, Hansen.”

I closed my mouth with a click—almost bit my tongue in half too.

He looked down at me, standing there all gorgeous and angry with his hair fucked up from last night’s adventures. And then he smiled, suddenly and brilliantly. As if to tell me that I would be forgiven, but I would pay for it first. “Think about that while you’re beating off in the shower this morning, huh? Because you almost didn’t have to, but you made the wrong call, Mr. Smart-Ass Know-It-All Economist.”

And he was out the door.

I fell back into the pillow. Yawned.

I could calculate risk and reward fine, thanks—just a little bit too late.

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