"You know what I miss?" he asked.
"What's that?" I responded.
"Women. I miss women."
"Ah, come on! Tell me you don't think about them, like, all the time."
"I really don't. On the list of everything I miss most, I'd have to say my Number One is just general socialization."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean being with friends, meeting people, having meaningful exchanges — basic social stuff."
"Women, sex — I'm not sure if they even rank in my top five."
"Byron the monk, huh? Sorry, dude, I'm not buying it."
"You're not the first person to mention the monk thing. That's funny. It's true, though, I'd have to say food ranks much higher — probably my Number Two."
"Food's a biggie. How about driving? I miss driving. Hop in your Cadillac, hit the gas, and do it: go. Anywhere you want."
"Oh, absolutely. Maybe not in a Cadillac, necessarily, though. Give me a little sports import, something agile. Preferably in red."
"Well, I guess a Cadillac would be fine at this point; it'd get me away from this place."
"Four wheels and an engine's all you need."
"You can even keep the seat."
"Hell, two wheels, even."
"A bicycle? Sure thing. I'll happily pedal home."
"Ha! I'm with you there."
"Okay, so driving is probably my Number Four. I love it, but at this point I'll concede that I'd rather have the company of a beautiful young woman. So that's maybe Three. But Four is a really close Four, subject to move up a notch, depending on my mood that day."
"What do you think about baths? I'm partial to a nice bath now and again. Draw it up, light yourself a few scented candles, turn off the lights — yes, sir; that's the stuff."
"You know, I'd never have pegged you for the bath type. And scented candles? Seriously? Do you go for a shot of the bubbly in there, too?"
"Well, you know, if it's available. I've been known to take a bubble bath or two in my time."
"You've offically blown my mind, sir. Congratulations."
"Happy to oblige. I miss my baths, though. Prison showers just don't get you clean — don't feel like they do, anyway. Get out on the streets and take yourself a shower, you'll be subject to feel ten times squeakier than you do, stepping out of one of them dingy stalls. A bath, even more so."
"Well, we can at least agree that bathing is an important issue."
"Yeah, well, I doubt if most people out there normally think of this kind of thing. It might be a newsflash to them, knowing prisoners are pining away over more accommodating bathing facilities."
"'Baths? Bicycles? What the hell are these dudes smoking?' They'd think we were fools."
"The thing is, would your list of everything you'd miss, if you'd compiled it before you came to prison — what, twelve years ago for you — would it match all the stuff you actually do miss?"
"I don't know. Probably not. I had some pretty fucked-up priorities back then."
"The hell you say."
"Yeah, well. What about you? Your list be the same then as it is now that you've seen all this?"
"I'm pretty pragmatic — have been ever since I was little, I think. I'd like to think I'd have called it down pretty accurately. Sex might've been a little closer to the top than it actually is, and food a little lower, but otherwise I think I had a decent grasp of what was important."
"Bet that's a small comfort now, though, huh?"
"No comfort at all, Zach. None at all."