Subject: The incredibly thin old man turned to the incredibly futuristic vending machine and said:
Posted on: 2017-02-14 21:58:08 UTC

'You look absolutely brilliant, Finch!' Bingle said, patting the upper chassis of his absolutely brilliant-looking friend. 'Oh, you'll be like Alexander the Great out there, Finch! The most famous conqueror of hearts of all time, you know.'

An actuator unfolded from Finch's side and fiddled with the bow tie attached to his front, below his ocular, where a neck would be on a being that used necks. 'Alexander the Great-s the most famous world-conqueror, Bingle. Not hearts, the world.'

Bingle shrugged. The suit wasn't designed to shrug. The suit probably wasn't designed to go on Bingle. It looked like it had been stretched and pulled and slapped onto Bingle's body before it could reform into its own shape. 'Surely, Finch, the world would involve the hearts of charming young women?'

'Bingle, don-t do this to me. Don-t bloody do this to me. Not now.' his ocular flicked here, flicked there. It fell on a lit candle, it fell on a very flammable looking tablecloth. It fell on various other people, all of whom did not look as silly as Finch. He was painted black, all the way up, all the way down. His display chamber had been emptied. A bottle of wine had been placed inside to fit the mood. Finch had to keep himself from yelping every time he heard it clink or slosh.

'Finch, you look fantastic. Like kangaroo, the second most famous conqueror of hearts of all time!'

'Kangaroos are Australian marsupials, Bingle. They don-t bloody conquer anything except for grassy fields.'

'Historical bias, Finch. Historical bias...'

Lou stepped in, shuffling by the old, rather stretched-looking man and his hovering vending machine friend. Duane didn't step in, because Lou was holding him under an arm. Lou hadn't looked so fancy in years. She still wore her hoodie, still wore her pajama pants. But, for once, she was wearing proper shoes. Black ones. Shiny. And a waistcoat, too, which would have probably looked even more fancy if it wasn't over her hoodie. Duane wasn't wearing anything, because Duane was an igneous, volcanic rock of felsic composition. Geologists liked to call him 'rhyolite.' Lou called him 'Duane.' If you asked Lou what Duane would have called himself, it would have been 'The only worthwhile entity within this horrid mess we call Headquarters.'

'Gosh, Duane. Maybe you're not overdressed,' Lou said, leaning into the rock. 'Look at them all, Duane. That woman looks like an umbrella!' Lou wished she was an umbrella. People loved umbrellas. Lou knew she did, anyhow.

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