Taylor’s Truck. Mal and Taylor dressed in hunting clothes while driving through the woods to their deer blinds.
Taylor: There’s plenty of fish in the sea.
Mal, scoffing: Haven’t heard that expression enough.
Taylor: Cause it’s true, Mal. You just have to keep breaking out new lures and trying different spots until you find a keeper. Just make sure the ones you throw back are still in good shape.
Mal: I think you’ve spent too much time in these woods.
Taylor: What makes you say that?
Mal: After all these years you’re still an animal.
Taylor: Bah, and proud of it. It would do you some good to spend more time in these woods. You’ve been in that city for too long.
Mal, pausing: I doubt you can appreciate this, but it’s taken a long time to get over the years I spent up here. Living in a cultured city compared to here is like going through rehab. Slowly but surely I sweat out that toxic past.
Taylor: Listen to you. You’re trying to tell me that the city is better than nature? The toxins are all there, my friend, not here, which is probably why you keep coming back.
Mal: I’m not the one referring to women as fish.
Taylor: We’re all fish, or apes, or whatever animal you want to pick. This is why you keep losing all these women. You try to be this sophisticated city man instead of the animal you are. Women love animals, Mal, they just don’t want you to know it. Sophistication may be a fun game they play along with, but in the end they want a man, not a game. And a man, essentially, is an animal.
Mal: If that’s true, why’d you bother getting married? Seems like a sophisticated thing to do.
Taylor: Hey, every animal needs to be checked and balanced. None of us are truly free. That’s what most people miss; that’s what’s wrong with mankind these days. Without predators our behavior becomes chaotic. My marriage is the perfect example. If I was allowed to roam freely I’d never get a damn thing done. Instead, all that I have has come to me from the limitations imposed on me by the sanctity of marriage.
Mal: Is that right.
Taylor: I’m telling you Mal, there’s no place for the absolute wild. At least not in a healthy way. There’s no such thing as wildness in the wilderness, unless it’s some rogue animal that’s been kicked out of its structured life. It’s all just a bunch of checks and balances making it work.
Mal: So, you’re saying your wife acts as a predator, keeping you in check.
Taylor: Essentially, yes, she serves that purpose. We all need something to keep us in check. Look at the human race. No predators except from our own, and as a result we fail to band together. Nothing but chaos – self-abuse and violence. Those of us who allow ourselves to be limited survive. It’s the absolute wild or weak that get weeded out. You gotta control your behavior to stay fit, which usually means having someone else to hold you down; otherwise you just go off on your own until you go over the edge. I’ve seen it too many times. Hell, just a few weeks ago Becky Suttons was hitting on me down at Nubs.
Mal: You’re kidding? Did she get divorced again?
Taylor: No, that’s my point. If it wasn’t for being married to Kim I would’ve been all over Becky. Wouldn’t have been able to help myself. Then, chances are, her husband would’ve hunted me down and put a bullet through my skull.
Mal: That’s what I would’ve done.
Taylor: Damn straight. We would have been nothing more than two rogue animals, a couple of scallywags needing to be put down.
Mal: But what about Becky? How come her marriage didn’t keep her in control?
Taylor: Because she’s one of those rogue predators. She’s never accepted the limits imposed on her, so she’s wild and out of control, and look how messed up her life is as a result.
Mal: But she is fun.
Taylor: That she is, but only because she’s dangerous. Being on the edge can be exhilarating, until you go too far. She took that leap a long time ago. Luckily for you you’re still holding on, but you’ve been dangling for too long. Time to step away and settle down.
Mal: Maybe, but by accepting that you’re an animal and then forcing yourself to live within these limitations, well, it all sounds like a pretty sophisticated system to me.
Taylor: Sure, to some degree.
Mal: So we’re both living the same way, just going about it in different ways. The city is just another kind of jungle, beset with its own rules and laws to limit our behavior.
Taylor: You’ve been in the city for too long if you think it’s the same as these woods.
Mal: Not the same, but wherever you are there’s no escape from nature. We still live under its forces.
Taylor: That’s true. But without a wife you’ll always be unfocused.
Mal: You mean I need someone to act as a predator, going by your standards.
Taylor: Essentially, yes, you need someone to shoot you every day of your life, as Flannery O’Connor once wrote.
Mal: Well, you’re probably right about that.