"This is insane." Sallie's shaking her head to her son's reaction before he's even finished stating it.
"You don't have to do it. You don't even have to talk to him. Ever. You hear me, Malcolm? Please don't do this because you think I want you to -- "
"Ma. I ain't got any intention of doing this because I think you want me to."
Well. That was unexpected. Sallie sits up straighter in her sofa, the apartment the only quasi-neutral ground she could think of where she and her son could speak. Malcolm has stated standing when he listened to his mother's story - a father he remembers in vague images and nothing more than indifference - and still he can't manage to have more of a reaction than a flat regurgitation of Sallie's words.
"But I could use the job. Don't much care where it comes from." When Sallie opens her mouth to cut him off, he starts again, "He's got his codes to wave him on this. I'll talk to him. See what he wants. On my own terms, Ma - I need you not to worry."
"Pfft. Fat fucking chance, my son."
Mal makes a face; listening to his mother say 'fucking' is still unusual.
Sallie just shrugs. "Rutting Milliways."