Pit Master, I get it, okay, we’ve all been under some stress lately. Everyone’s had to re-prioritize certain “life values” in light of all the brutality, war lording, chromosomal damage, etc. etc., that’s gone hand in hand with living in a post-apocalyptic end-of-world “milieu.” I mean, as far as all that goes, I’M WITH YOU 100 PERCENT.

But as the Pit Master, when you come strolling across the dead nuclear wasteland, swinging your spiked chain, looking to sate your neo-primitive blood lust on a hapless nobody like myself, it’s like, buddy, you need to just step outside yourself for a minute and try to understand what it is I’m going through here.

You and me, we’re just people. We’re just two guys trying to make our way in this crazy world. Granted, you have a throne of skulls and wear a cool mask made from some dead guy’s dried-out face, and I’m just a run of the mill prisoner-slave. But poke me with a hot iron, as you’ve done, while I churned the gruel, do I not cry out in pain? Flay me with a whip, as you did while I fled from your war chariot (nee spear bedecked Toyota Tercel), do I not bleed?

Hey, I know what it’s like to have all that power. Before civilization ended, I was the managing editor of a nature magazine. And let me tell you sir, if you missed a deadline, WATCH OUT. I’d rain fire on you in the form of furious ALL CAPS emails. So we’re very similar in that way.

Now I don’t want to “push buttons” here. But we need to explore—neutrally mind you, this is an arena of non-judgment!—that you and I were familiars in the old world. Your name was Scott then, and you worked at the juice bar where I’d stop every morning for a shot of wheat grass (I’m not going to lie, I simply adored the theater of it, how you guys served the shot on a little bamboo tray—I’d just melt!). Now, did I tip? Did I ever throw you a few “bones”? No. But why should I tip you for doing your job—I was a MANAGING EDITOR for crying out loud, and you JUICED MY GRASS.

Sorry, didn’t mean to vent, but its taken some time to adjust to this new world order. I mean, I had a throne of skulls back in the day, only it was called a Naugahyde couch. I had a harem of sex slaves, only it was called a secretary pool. (Although, to be clear, I was always respectful, as I was in a stable relationship with my girlfriend, and sure, our life together wasn’t perfect, but what is? Who cares if from day one she automatically established that she gets to sleep on the right side of the bed. Do you realize the whole time we were together, I NEVER ONCE EXPERIENCED THE RIGHT SIDE OF ANY BED? So in a way, I actually PREFER fitfully dozing inside the steamy crevices that have recently opened in the parched ground—AT LEAST THERE I CAN SLEEP HOWEVER I FUCKING WANT).

All I’m really suggesting here (without acrimony!) is that you self-examine certain behavior “patterns.” Take yesterday, for example, when you chatted with your paisan, The Decapitator. And I quote:

YOU: Why is that when we’re out brutalizing the barren countryside, you’re never doing enough murdering? It’s like you’ve been holding back.

DECAPITATOR: Are you kidding me with this? I’m out there mixing it up, with blood on my hands, eight days a week.

YOU: Don’t shit me. What, you don’t like it?

DECAPITATOR: Okay I just—I prefer to do the stealing, the beating, and the torturing. But the murder… it just makes me feel a little dirty at the end of the day, that’s all.

YOU: But everyone likes the murdering.

I repeat: you said, “everyone likes the murdering.” Well, I’m hear to tell you, Pit Master, no they do not, NOT EVERYONE LIKES THE MURDERING. I can think of one person off the top of my head: THE MURDEREE. THEY DON’T LIKE IT A SINGLE BIT. Particularly when they’re just a leashed captive, humbly minding their own business, throwing corpses on the battle fire, and against whom you’ve been holding a stupid grudge against FROM A LIFETIME AGO, all because they didn’t drop a few shekels in your fucking tip jar!

Look, I’m just dialoguing here, man. I say we get together—without bitterness, blame, or retractable knives—in a comfortable location far distant from the barbed-wire-strewn gladiator cage, and man, LET’S JUST RAP. Let’s just BRAINSTORM some SOLUTIONS. Because I think we BOTH deserve to live in a world where, if you won’t give me your respect, you will at least allow me to purchase it with three packs of double-A batteries and one of the very last cans of unopened turkey chili still left in existence.

Change will only happen, Pit Master, IF IT STARTS WITH YOU.