I do not know how to be around people, Rémi says, and this is after only a few rounds, but he still sounds honest enough.

Well, no, that's close; but the problem is that I know exactly how to be around people. (What problem, I say.) I give them what they want. The pitch drops or rises; the phrases mold to meet their vernacular; the emotions expressed are what they need at any given moment. Posture. Tone. Gaze. All devised to optimally benefit the consumer. I do not have a personality because What You Want Is What You Get. They lean forward, I lean forward; they cross their legs, I match their moves; they hate the world, I'll hate it with them. Whatever they desire, they can have.

I should be writing this down, but I allow his words to enter through my left and exit through my right.

It's because I want to solve them, Rémi continues. I see human beings as puzzles, as brainteasers, as problem sets, as equations with variables. All I have to do is figure out what rules to follow to gain their trust, to form a connection that most closely resembles the concept of friendship; and the game begins.

I want them to tell me everything, he says. I want to know everything, because I cannot interpret otherwise.