SFP

 

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  • Franklin J Gomes

    I know this was gonna be dark, but this is escalating into ABSOLUTE DARKNESS very quickly. So dark that I feel heartbreak for the guy about to kill their parents, because his first step is trying to make them no hate him, even if he knows is a futile request. Plus, he is NOT the biggest monster in the room.

    • Thraxishunter

      He’s gonna tell her to stab him and she’ll do it proving his point about her being a sociopath. Then he’ll probably shoot her in the face and walk away and lock the door they walked in through.

      • scottfree

        Does he need to kill her, though? It’s the hatred his father feels that’s debilitating him, but does his mother feel anything strongly enough to bother him?

        • Tylikcat

          Oh, she likely is angry that he escaped, and that she lost control of him, and that there he is, a figure of such power (though he’s probably doing it wrong) and not hers to take advantage of. She isn’t incapable of emotion.

        • Thraxishunter

          Of course not frankly I feel that she’s still alive his mother is a manipulative sociopath she probably doesn’t think anything about Patrick and as such most likely isn’t the cause of his duress. His father on the other hand seems like a relatively empathetic person someone who sees what his sons become and is disgusted by it. His mother will probably kill his father proving that he’s right while also silencing the main source of his mental anguish. But it’s all in the air really his mother stands to benefit from Patricks position as menace and buying her silence is probably more effective then killing her would ever be.

        • Sociopathy does not equate to incapability of feeling, though, even if we’re accepting that diagnosis for her – just severe difficulties with empathy, the understanding that other human beings have feelings and worth within the world at a level of your own. So she might well be utterly frustrated and full of bile towards this kid who has dodged her attempts at a quiet life at every turn.

      • Insanenoodlyguy

        Nah, if it goes that way, he stops, blinks at his dad, says “YOU STILL HATE ME MORE?! BIGGER MONSTER?!?” and then he shoots him.

  • trev006

    “As, sweetie! You found my knife. Sure I’ll stop hating you. Now. Who wants pancakes?!”

    “Me!”

    (Terminally backstabs Patrick immediately as he turns to the kitchen)

    *ten minutes later*

    “You’re not making pancakes, are you dear.”

    • Olivier Faure

      “Wait, how did he not-”

      “I tricked myself into thinking I actually loved him so I could deceive him.”

      “But then, why did you stab him?”

      “Well, I had a knife, his back was to me… It’s an instinct thing, you know?”

      • JeffH

        “You know the story about the snake, right?”

        • Dwight Williams

          Scorpion, wasn’t it?

          • JeffH

            I think you are right that the Scorpion is the more common version of the story. I had “The Snake” song in my head (“Take me in tender woman”), which is basically the same story, with a snake instead of a scorpion.

          • Dwight Williams

            “The Snake” is the version that DT-45’s been popularizing(!) over the last couple of years, as I recall.

  • rpenner

    Is this a dagger which I see before me,
    The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.

    Best. Mother. Ever.

    • Weatherheight

      Upvote for quoting Billy Shakes.

    • Teka the Budgie

      Good source for some messed up mother imagery.

  • Olivier Faure

    Patrick, I can understand the appeal of playing Saw games on people to make them reveal their true horrible inner self, but trust me, it’s way more fun to do it to people you *don’t* feel a personal connection to, otherwise the only person you’re hurting is you (and whoever ends up stabbed).

    • Axel_Celosar

      After everything his mother did to him? She has this coming.

      • NotPatrick

        I usually find the ethics of revenge to be murky and hard to reason about… but she killed a dog. I’m ready for the full John Wick experience here.

        • Weatherheight

          “The Full John Wick Experience” – coming to Universal Lionsgate Entertainment Orlando’s Theme Park in 2019!

        • Dwight Williams

          And he arguably had it worse than John Wick: he was “hearing” the dog at the moment of the death. And then got mocked, by being told to take the blame for it.

          • I never picked that part up until now. Of *course* that’s why she was calling him out and punishing him for hiding. It frames the narrative that he hid because he was fearful of the death at his own hands. How disgusting.

  • Olivier Faure

    Jokes aside, I wonder if Patrick’s dad was about to say something relevant with the “before you” comment, or just self-deception.

    “Before you developed creepy powers”?

    “Before you killed our dog”?

    “Before the incident with the pastor, the mathematician and the little chorist”?

    • NotPatrick

      “Before you forced that poor dog to rip her nylons.”

    • Guilherme Carvalho

      His hesitation is itself proof of that relevance.

      “Before you became unacceptable to us,” in any other form.

    • Tylikcat

      “…before you failed us as a child.”

      With possible examples.

    • Teka the Budgie

      I was thinking “before you disappeared” which would also mean the dad found a way to justify his wife’s terrible behavior. Yeesh, there is no good end to that sentence.

  • JustDucky
    • R Lex Eaton

      Isn’t it good to know that Patrick has a precedent for coming to wrong conclusions about people as a whole?

      • Devon Jolly

        Is he coming to the wrong conclusions though?

        • R Lex Eaton

          …yes! It’s not entirely his fault, but people are better than he views them.

          • Elaine Lee

            I’d say rather that people usually mean well, but most are pretty easy to manipulate. And if you knew everything that Patrick did, well…

          • R Lex Eaton

            Irrational doesn’t equal irredeemably evil, though, does it? Alison knows better, and by Patrick’s judgement she knows everything he knows about humanity, yet considers them worth defending.

            (As for his crack about the nazis and all they got away with, institutionalized evil works by diluting personal responsibility to the point where it feels like no one is at fault. Doesn’t mean it’s an excuse for moral cowardice, but that’s how that works.)

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            Alison doesn’t have to see everybody she meets at their worst. Patrick does. Your worst thoughts, your nastiest memories of when you’ve been the biggest shit, Patrick learns this about you before he lays eyes on you.

            Imagine every person you meet had their worst shit floating above their heads. When you walk down the street and you know who looks at child pornography, who date raped a girl at a party and thinks they deserved it, who’s totally racist even though they refuse to believe it about themselves.

            See that on every street. See how long you remain anything BUT a cynic.

          • R Lex Eaton

            And he also sees their best at the same time, just choosing to fixate on the worst.

            Look for the darkness and it’s all you ever see.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            Their best is immediately tainted by their worst. If anything it will highlight them as hypocritical to patrick’s eye.

          • R Lex Eaton

            But is that an accurate assessment on his part?

            I don’t blame his perception or facticity. I blame his refusal to even try new possibilities.

            Until he got to know Alison.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            She might stand out as an exceptionally good person.

          • pleasechangemymind

            I’m not sure about that. I know I, at least internally, linger far more on my failures than my successes. Remember the mistakes I’ve made, times I’ve embarrassed myself, times I’ve hurt others, all the things I regret *far* more clearly than I can recall my accomplishments. Ask my loved ones and they can rattle off a list, but those aren’t in the forefront of my mind. Not only that, but I can remember upsetting moments from my early childhood far better than memories an average good day when I was that young.

            So I suppose it depends on how his mind reading works. Is it a total information dump? Does more emphasis get placed on current thoughts or experiences, or on emotionally charged ones? Are all events of equal importance in his perception, or are the most visceral and painful memories the ones that just stand out more?

            Even if he is actively choosing to look at the bad… that just sounds like a mechanism of self-defense. He had to navigate around a violent sociopath for all of his childhood, I don’t know why he WOULDN’T be on the constant lookout for other seemingly-nice-but-actually-horrible people.

          • Tylikcat

            Don’t forget the fear component. Standing up to institutional power is not without cost – and sometimes the cost is very high. This isn’t an argument for not doing so, but just for recognizing the complexity of the problems, and why so many people cast themselves in heroic roles… and then do something quite different in actuality. (The examples that are foremost in my mind are from the famine caused by the Maoist Great Leap Forward, and the back and forth switches of control across Poland during WWII and some of the response of the people who lived there – which is pretty much every kind of response, from the selfless to the horrible.)

          • R Lex Eaton

            Oh yeah, I’ve read “No Exit” and watched DS9’s “Duet.” There are lots of people who shy away from doing good things. And I can’t really blame them, because doing good can be terrifying and heroes can’t always win. I just believe that’s no excuse, because sometimes they CAN win.

            Making the world better is a complicated thing. You are not obliged to complete the work, but neither are you permitted to abandon it.

            *shrugs* It’s my take, anyway.

          • Ladon

            I don’t think he views people as inherently evil. Just not inherently good. I think he views people as they are. You know, because he’s literally reading their minds, constantly. Kinda gives him a clearer view. The point of view he has taken is that people are easy to manipulate. Especially for him. When he’s clearheaded at least.

          • R Lex Eaton

            Oscar Wilde once said that a cynic is someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. I’m certain that applies to human beings as well.

            What good is knowing everything someone has done and felt when you can’t even bring yourself to do so on your own mind? It removes essential context behind it and can still lead to faulty conclusions. Self awareness and self reflection is something Patrick needs.

          • Ladon

            Forgive me for my sarcasm but really? A human being needs greater self awareness? Goodness. Next you’ll say a politician needs better ethics. I think Patrick’s words regarding his ability to manipulate people were perfectly reasonable. He was stating that people are generally very susceptible to being manipulated with the right knowldge because he, a person with the right knowledge has manipulated people for most of his life. What argument is there to be made? The fact that the people in question had intrinsic value didn’t change the fact that they did what he told told them to do.

          • R Lex Eaton

            I think we might be having two halves of two different disagreements.

            I agree that manipulating people would come easy to someone with Patrick’s powers. A personification of intrusive thoughts and “I’m not telling you anything that you don’t already know.”

            What I was commenting on was how this practice has shaped his own views, just as much as his upbringing and the nature of his telepathy. How, even having all the mental facts, he still has trouble connecting the threads to reach positive conclusions.

            Hope that clears things up. Didn’t mean to confuzzle.

          • thatonesungod

            It is remarkable how easy it is to change someone’s mind when you can see what you’re doing-Perspective

          • Zorae42

            I don’t think he’s saying people are bad or anything. Just that they’re sheep. Which is not necessarily an incorrect opinion for the majority of people.

          • R Lex Eaton

            That’s not much of a difference.

            Also, irrationality =/= stupid. Humans are an extraordinary force in the world and universe, flaws and all. To say they’re sheep is an insult to everyone that says more about Patrick than about humanity.

          • Zorae42

            Hey, being a sheep just means we’ve get a pretty strong herd mentality. And that’s part of why people have done so well for ourselves – one person’s discovery benefits the group as a whole because we all pick up on it. It’s also why we’ve done some terrible things and why society is so slow to change for the better (although I like to think it’s why it eventually does slowly progress). It does mean that generally we can be pretty predictable and easily manipulated, but that’s not quite the same as simply being stupid.

          • R Lex Eaton

            Ehh, I guess that’s a good spin. Still, sheep? Gotta be a better term…

          • Weatherheight

            How about “A thundering herd!

          • Todd

            Umm, not sure that one’s better . . . .

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderherder

          • Sergio Le Roux

            A stampede?

          • Devon Jolly

            For a long time we’ve been
            Marching off to battle
            In our thundering herd
            We feel a lot like cattle
            Like the pounding beat
            Our aching feet aren’t
            Easy to ignore
            Hey, think of instead
            A girl worth fighting for

          • Devon Jolly

            Hundreds of thousands of skeevy politicians and college social researchers have found different results over the centuries.

            I like the way James Earl Jones put it. “A person is smart, people are dumb panicky dangerous animals and everybody knows it.” The ease to which people are led into dangerous Ideologies, Left Right and Other supports this.

          • R Lex Eaton

            Well, it’s worth noting that the character who says this works for an unaccountable organization with the expressed purpose of stifling humankind’s knowledge of science and the universe. Humans are more than “dumb animals.” That’s the aspect of sapience at work. If we really were as bad as some people say we are, civilization wouldn’t exist.

            Thomas Hobbes can eat me with a spoon.

          • Devon Jolly

            Why not? Small groups of dedicated passionate people regularly change the world. Society has always been a complex interlocking web of small competing
            interests working together towards a common self interest. Seems like it
            generally works just fine to me. They do so much more often than massive cumbersome bureaucracies do. Corporate or governmental. Society where everything is controlled from the top down usually stagnates if it doesn’t fall apart entirely.

          • Todd

            Typical conservative ideology (popular with right-wing liberals, too): individuals ie (absolute) rulers are smart, but the masses are stupid and don’t know what’s good for them ie what the rulers want.

            Please don’t try to paint with such a ridiculously broad brush.

          • Devon Jolly

            Eh, I’m only not Left wing because in the last decade you guys have become worse than Rabies.

            As for the quote, it’s a common observation in social psychology that people behaving as groups act more and more irrationally. You can talk to a person and come to an agreement, a middle ground or a congenial statement of differences, but try to talk to a group, a mob or an ideology the IQ goes down in proportion its size. Given most social scientists throughout history have been left-wing and very public about it, it’s ironic you label this a right wing position.

          • Tommy Lee Jones, I believe.

          • Devon Jolly

            Thanks.

      • Ladon

        Does he, though?

        • R Lex Eaton

          The proof is in the pudding. Without it, he’s a self-manufactured monster.

          • Eric Schissel

            “is in the pudding”… no, it isn’t.

      • masterofbones

        Where is his mistake? Im pretty sure his mom is gonna kill his dad, just as planned

        • R Lex Eaton

          And they’re everybody?

    • Kenneth Mayer

      My read on this comment and flashback is that Patrick has perfectly primed his dad to kill his mom.

      • bryan rasmussen

        kill each other!

      • Ophidiophile

        His dad? His dad is not the sociopath. He’s handing the knife to his mother. Who will kill his father, because his father is weak, and can’t stop hating Patrick. His mother won’t have to die, because she can stop hating him. Instead, she’ll think about how she’ll use him, and then she will have to die.

        • Cao Bei

          She wouldn’t kill her husband on a whim, though – I’m guessing that’s what the gun is for. Threaten her with a bullet if she doesn’t stab him, and when she inevitably does, his father dies knowing in the absolute worst way possible that he was wrong about his wife.

    • Weatherheight

      That speech to Alison calls into question practically anything he says or does.
      Which makes him a compelling “villain”.

    • Zac Caslar

      That said, in this context he’s asking them to do something he probably already knows they can’t: “think well of him.”

      Perhaps a lesson learned in retrospect.

  • Fluffy Dragon

    Give her a knife while knowing that she’ll attack you with it, use lethal defense (the gun strapped to his back).
    this has been a draft of how to kill your mother (and probably father) without feeling like a *total* murderer…

  • AdamBombTV

    This is going well, I can tell because they have a knife to cut the “This is going well” cake.

  • Sazazezer Mililpilipi

    Kind of waiting for her to stab her husband.

  • Hiram

    I mean, the dad’s not entirely wrong. She’s clearly a psychopath, not a sociopath.

    • Weatherheight

      I can’t tell if you’re being ironic or not… 😀

    • rpenner

      I believe the only distinction between those words is the use of culturally inappropriate violence.
      The dog doesn’t meet that criteria. The dog knew what it did.
      The (barely begun) attempted murder of Patrick didn’t count. What sort of crime is *attempted* murder.
      See, I’m totally not making your case for you.

      • Hiram

        There’s actually a pretty significant distinction between psychopath and sociopath in psychology. A psychopath can be and often is highly socially adept, capable of being outgoing and manipulative but having no regard for anyone but themselves. A sociopath is someone who is socially inept, but not necessarily devoid of conscience. So a person who goes to dinners who calmly and casually decides to murder people and pets she finds an inconvenience – psychopath.

        • Tenobrus

          The wikipedia page for Sociopath just redirects to a section on the Psychopath page saying it’s a synonym. It mentions that several authors give slightly different definitions for the two, but with no agreement on what those differences are.

          • Tenobrus

            Plus neither occur in DSM-5, just APD.

          • Weatherheight

            Psychopathy was the original term to describe a rather broad range of anti-social disorders. Somewhere along the line ( want to say early to mid 50’s), the social stigma of “psychopath” was deemed harmful to patients with the disorder and not really a valid diagnostic term. So the term “sociopath” was coined to cover those same disorders, because, as we all know, changing the name of the rose changes its odor.

            Now that “sociopath” has also been deemed to be harmful and not clinically accurate enough, a new term (or pair of terms, or gaggle of terms, depending on the clinician) has been coined. At least they’re getting tighter definition this time through. Kind of the process of psychology – definitions become more precise as they figure out what’s *really* going on (in this manual – it may change in the next one).

            Technically, this is a good thing, but it’s confusing as h*ck for those not immersed in that world.

          • It’s really nice to see my arguments made for me before I arrive-! <3

            Where psychopathy and sociopathy are still used in a clinical setting their use tends to be informal and applied to specific, intensely-symptomatic groups within the broader DSM-5 diagnosis of APD. Psychopathy is typified mainly as a near-to-total inability to empathise stemming from inherent genetic or birth conditions, whereas sociopathy is fuzzier by far, but is implied to rely on inherent genetic *capacity* for the disorder that is not a total lack of the ability, coupled with environmental factors during childhood which reinforce that lack of empathy.

          • Weatherheight

            There was a fair amount of debate on whether APD/SPD are, in fact, treatable. The idea that they are untreatable kinds of flies in the face of the entire discipline, so that’s where they tend to fall out generally (“We might as well try since doing nothing is clearly not helpful.”). From what I understand, they seem to be making progress, which is hopeful. It heartens me to hear you’re seeing/hearing the same thing.
            Like most interpersonal disorders / perceptional disorders, APD/SPD are a bear to treat (for real fun, work with schizophrenics – “Who are you gonna believe, me or your own senses?”). I haven’t kept up of the literature in 20 years, but my friends who live in that world will occasionally remind me why I didn’t pursue it. It takes a certain kind of strength to nudge someone in the right direction over a long period of time – not really my strong suit.

          • ruhrow

            The problem with defining these as personality disorders is that, by the way the DSM works, there’s the usual clause in there requiring the behavior to severely impede normal life/function in order to qualify…so people who are able to learn to integrate and not have social issues essentially don’t qualify, which makes it hard to technically have examples of APD where the affected person doesn’t cause issues by violating social norms.

  • Gotham

    Well nope, it didn’t take long for Dadtrick to go very bad.
    Next page is Patrick sadly realizing he cannot gloat over being right when he asks his mother to kill his dad for her own life—her doing so without hesitation—because you can’t quite make the “See?! Total sociopath” to a body shived into fine paste.

  • NotPatrick

    I kind of want to see him just go hang out with Cleaver after this. Probably doesn’t even need to say anything at this point, just Cleaver seeing his face and after a few minutes of awkward silence asks, “So, want to rob a bank?”

    • Revanche

      “Can we get ice cream on the way back?”

  • Ellie

    20 years? Jesus, so this might have happened right before he and Alison had that argument…

    • Ellie

      Wait no he stopped being Menace after his last confrontation with Alison as Mega Girl, so this is before then?

      • Weatherheight

        My expectation is this is prior to Alison tracking him down as Menace.
        This may very well be the tipping point that caused him to give up being Menace, in fact

        Imagine being psychically linked to both parents while one parent murders the other. Might change your point of view a mite.

    • asa_zernik

      That’s assuming Patrick was born exactly when they got married.

  • ….

    SHE doesn’t hate him(or love him really) does she?

    • Devon Jolly

      That is a tendency of sociopaths. Rage is understandable, but not love, hate or any long term emotion.

      • pidgey

        Alternatively, she does hate him, and she isn’t actually a sociopath.

        • Johnny Awesome

          Now that you mention it, he is kind of a bad kid

          • Tylikcat

            I’m kind of stuck on why he kept (maybe keeps) wanting his mother to love him.

            I mean, I realize this is supposed to be obvious, but no, really, you can get over these things.

        • Devon Jolly

          Possible, but unlikely. Psychologists can tell pretty starkly the difference in thought between the mass majority and sociopaths, I very much doubt a telepath would be less able to tell.

          • pidgey

            So which one is the telepath correct about: she hates him or she’s a sociopath? Your own comment says it’s an either/or proposition, but the telepath thinks both are true.

      • He called them out for having hatred and disgust. It’s possible she contributes more of the latter than the former. Also possible that Patrick is reading the emotions even more heavily due to his personal connection and their constant presence.

        • Devon Jolly

          yeah, you always tend to be more bias when reading family. Gotta be worse for a telepath.

  • Evil Fairy

    Well, if Mumzy’s a sociopath (and Patrick can probably feel that quite clearly) then if she gives Dadums the ol’ drum and fife then the hate’s gone. Heck, she’s probably still alive and well. Let’s see how Allie handles that little tidbit, shall we?

  • Gotham

    Something interesting to note is how damaged this makes Patrick feel.
    Isn’t it interesting. Sure, strong connection because family and all, but let’s consider that he must have cared for Alison much more than these jerks over the years, /and/ last time they saw before today, she started to viciously revile him.

    Maybe that’s just whe he was so disheveled upon arrival and all this brain stuff is completely incidental

    • Elaine Lee

      But Alison has always had an attraction to him, as well. I don’t think that completely vanished, even when she was angry with him. He would feel the conflicting emotions there. I keep using “feel” when I talk about Patrick. SF writers often make a distinction between empaths and telepaths. But thoughts trigger feelings.

      • Gotham

        Same mix of conflicting emotions for his father I would wager.

        • Tylikcat

          Mm, I suspect Alison’s affection is a lot stronger and untainted, even at it’s most screwed up.

  • Thomas S

    If the static comes from 2, and one removes half the static, this is a net improvement.

    Now, how to reduce the static from both in a humane way. Perhaps a lead lined cabin in the Kelurgan Islands?

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    So he’s not scared of his wife ?

    • Tylikcat

      I wouldn’t say this is exclusive of him being scared of his wife. People can be pretty complicated.

      • Darkoneko Hellsing

        hmmmm

  • HanoverFist

    Who else thinks that he’s going to give mummy dearest the choice of killing her husband or herself Knowing full well she’ll chose hubby and then killing her anyway? Just a theory.

    • Weatherheight

      This is extremely wrong. Therefore I upvote it.

    • Jeremy

      That was my first thought as well!

    • Revanche

      Oof. I if his mother is truly sociopathic, she might not actually be feeling anything towards him, so he might have no obligation to kill her… which would make doing it anyway more villainous.

  • magnetoo

    I wonder whether his mother actually thinks “badly” of him: that is, I wonder whether a sociopath is capable of that. She clearly found him an inconvenience, but to regard someone as a bad person, do you need to have a moral core of your own?

    Perhaps not – I suppose racists and so on think they have justifiably low opinions of the objects of their scorn.

    • Elaine Lee

      She could certainly think that Patrick being a famous super villain might expose whatever dirty dealings she has going on. That could inspire fear or rage at Patrick and he would feel that. He could pitch up her desire to be rid of him.

    • Weatherheight

      Sociopaths are not “unfeeling” – they do, however, have a great deal of difficulty in recognizing and relating to the feelings of others. Because of that issue, they have a hard time creating bonds with other people beyond those of convenience and usefulness to the sociopath themselves (“Are you useful right now? No? So what good are you?”). Since most of the socially “better” emotions tend to be grounded in those connections, psychopaths/sociopaths (originally different words for the same thing and what I THINK the DSM5 now calls antisocial personality disorder / dissocial personality disorder) tend to denigrate those kinds of emotions in themselves and fail to nurture those feelings in themselves.

      Now, if you’re suggesting that their feelings are so atypical that they aren’t what most of us think of as emotions / feelings, sure, I can see that.

  • David Nuttall

    Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of woman? The Menace knows!

  • David Nuttall

    At least he is handing the knife to her in the correct orientation: handle first, sharp side of the blade away from his hand, but he should have given her more handle by holding higher on the blade.

    • Bob Stewart

      And I bet you also had a Totin’ Chip when you were in the Boy Scouts. (I know I did.)

      • David Nuttall

        As a scout in Canada, we are awarded a Knife Permit when we pass the test that we could handle and use the knife safely. When I was a Scout Leader, I was usually the scouter who tested the kids for it. I also cover that part of knife safety at the local charity kitchen where I volunteer.

  • Flesh Forge
  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    He also have a gun in there uh

  • Kifre

    See? That’s what capes are good for.

  • NotPatrick

    Wait, are those buttons on his coat purely ornamental? I honestly can’t figure out how that coat is supposed to work, does it zip up in the back or something?

    • Kifre

      It’s a coat + cape combo. He’s wearing holsters over the coat but under the cape.

      • NotPatrick

        Right, I get that: I just don’t understand how the coat works. There are two rows of buttons, but there doesn’t seem to be an opening or fold anywhere that I can see.

        • Kifre

          Oooh, yeah, I had assumed that the coat is double breasted and that the zig-zag on the collar was evidence that the opening was under the cape. But I see what you mean. There’s no obvious join, and to make things more fun, there’s a triangular gap in the bottom that looks like it should be the opening…which would make it single breasted, which it clearly isn’t.

          Congrats, now I, too am flummoxed.

          • NotPatrick

            Yea, and the zig zag is on his right, but we see the right side of his coat really clearly in the last two panels and there’s clearly no opening there.

            Maybe the buttons are purely ornamental, and the collar snaps apart at the zig-zag thing, letting him slide it over his head?

          • Kifre

            In this iteration of the coat, lifting up is the only thing that makes sense….and I totally buy that the collar has a flap that unfastens to let you lift the whole thing over your head. Looking back a couple of pages, there are zig-zags on both sides, so a flap kind of shaped like this art-deco motif makes the most sense: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/66/62/5c/66625cc70fb94c4f833a3c5e00fbe5ac.jpg?epik=0W0c9E_IW37B3

            I don’t know that I’d assume buttons are purely ornamental, though. They could always be utility buttons!

          • Weatherheight

            Very tiny shaped charges, just enough to blow out a door knob… 😀

          • The Elsewise

            Reminds me of this design: https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSdTuYyOn9M6d8kLkMcdTORlSwRmOyEYQDjyIGuYRpLegYawH-1

            But a full jacket, which is a bit unusual. Usually only vests have that design.

          • Kifre

            Good catch. It’s even more unusual, as the bottom hem of Menace’s coat is flat, rather than coming to peaks like a vests would.

    • Weatherheight

      My mind has always associated that it was sort of the style worn as a late 1800’s reference, a la the Rawhide Kid and Jeff Goldblum’s New Jersey from Buckaroo Banzai. But this page sure does call that assumption into doubt.

      http://www.marveldirectory.com/pictures/individuals/r_1d/rawhidekid.gif

      http://cdn1us.denofgeek.com/sites/denofgeekus/files/styles/main_wide/public/2016/05/the-adventures-of-buckaroo-banzai.jpg?itok=VeNMXUVq

  • JohnTomato

    He carries a knife and a pistol? Curious.

    • Weatherheight

      The scene that has been done in oh so many films and TV shows…
      http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WalkingArmory

      Maybe the knife is just for cleaning his fingernails…

      • Tylikcat

        Knives are incredibly useful! I mostly use mine for fruit and fieldwork – I have better tools for cleaning my fingernails. (Do you want to know about all the tools I carry? I still chuckle at how traumatized my labmates were when I had to hide all my stuff before going into a museum…)

        • Weatherheight

          I carried one as a kid, then didn’t as a young adult, then I worked construction inspection and needed one *constantly*. Bought a Leatherman multi-tool and haven’t regretted it once – pricey but worth every cent.

          • Tylikcat

            Yeah – I carry an Opinel (and own several, in different sizes, because they’re cheap, versatile, and take a good edge, one is my back up “I’m cooking in someone else’s kitchen and don’t know what the knives will be like” knife) and use it mostly for food, and collecting plants and mushrooms. I have the same leatherman I’ve had for at least twenty years (that blade gets used for non-food applications)… and two micro leatherman, one which is TSA approved, and a key tool, and a bike multi-tool…

  • Giacomo Bandini

    This is beautiful.

    His parents are the template of his vision of humanity. A maiority of cowards, painting themselves as victims, who let themselves be ruled by a minority of sociopaths, and pretennds to be oblivious to their crimes. With a similar outlook, creating Menace is not that big of a stretch: if what normal people secretly desire is a big strong sociopath who tells them what to do, why do not give them the biggest of all? For sure, you can’t do a worse job..

    • trev006

      Compelling as that might be, sociopaths are the majority in Patrick’s family. If Patrick tried extrapolating from that, he would quickly see the problem is with them. Not the world.

      In this case, anyways.

      • Beroli

        Patrick isn’t a sociopath. A criminal, yes. A monster at this point, absolutely. But sociopaths are born, not made, and the first time he assaulted someone else it was because of too much empathy, not too little–he doesn’t have the brain chemistry problem his mother does.

    • Tylikcat

      *pained look*

  • McFrugal

    Before he what?

  • AG

    The red nail polish on the hands of the mother makes me think of blood. Kind of like the blood on the hands of lady Macbeth and how it symbolizes her guilt.

    • Weatherheight

      Sharp eyes! I didn’t notice that. I did notice the discoloration under Pearl’s eyes and around Dadtrick’s nose and was wondering exactly what that was supposed to convey.

      Art is so often about associations, particularly with things like color – and I’d kind of like to know what Molly intended with that choice (assuming it wasn’t just “need some contrast here…”).

  • Gement

    I’ve been waiting for him to explicitly include this distinction. There was a short story about telepathy I read a while back, which was making some potentially offensive guesses about how autism worked, but suggested something not too far from what has turned out to be a commonly described experience: that autistic folks who weren’t responding communicatively were actually just dealing with too much input (in this story, telepathic). When these telepaths did try to deal with other people, a lot of the social disconnect was, due to unfiltered telepathy, that they were *very bad at social lies*, including the self-filtering that people do every time they say “It’s fine,” when they actually mean, “It’s not important enough to deal with the social negotiation of contesting it.” In the absence of that filter, these folks could not deal with the sense of unrelenting hypocrisy that people had mixed motives ALL THE DAMN TIME. Imagine knowing every time someone was annoyed by hearing you chew or frustrated that you were taking too long to choose a tv show to watch together, let alone the fact that your politics/family relationship style/academic progress is weirding them out at a deep level… and then they were papering over all of that to say no, really, they liked you. People choose to focus on their more positive reactions all the time. Being your better self is a basic human coping mechanism, for better and for worse, though usually for better. Patrick is one of those telepaths who cannot cope with that.

  • Brittani Howell

    *screams*
    I have been reading this webcomic nonstop for almost a week and THAT is the panel where I finally catch up?!?!?!
    I need to breathe into a paper bag. Holy God.

    I love this comic to absolute pieces. Thank you both so, so much for putting it into the world.

    • Danygalw

      I send you hugs and moral support.

    • Weatherheight

      Invigorating, isn’t it? 😀

  • zellgato

    Man. He really never understood that while he reads minds.
    he himself also pusehs his own perceptions onto people as well.

  • S.I. Rosenbaum

    is it possible that he’s mistaken the normal murderous thoughts that people have for their kids for sociopathy

    • cphoenix

      I don’t think murderous thoughts for one’s own kids are normal.

      Intrusive thoughts/worries about doing something you don’t want to do can be a symptom of OCD. Ironically, people who suffer this are least likely to actually harm their kids. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/culturally-speaking/201309/keep-my-children-away-me-i-m-dangerous

      And of course, parents get angry or stressed at their kids sometimes.

      But actual desire to harm, much less kill? If you’re a parent who feels that way, talk to a therapist and/or take a parenting class. If you’re a kid who’s reading this – know that most parents don’t feel that way.

      • Weatherheight

        That’s an interesting idea – Pearl is a schizophrenic or an obsessive-compulsive. What she’s thinking may be a physical issue rather than an affective or cognitive issue…?
        Hmmmmm….

        • Tylikcat

          Ah, there’s that mind / body split again. I think we’ve spoken about this…!

    • Danygalw

      “why won’t you SHUT UP AND GO TO SLEEEEeeeep” is, um, not…

      …like, I’d imagine *briefer*.

    • Beroli

      She broke his dog’s neck and called him to dinner without ever showing any sign of feeling more than minor annoyance, and as she was planning to kill him and he knew it and she knew he knew it she was mentally lecturing him on how much trouble he’d caused for them, so no.

  • StClair

    I think most of us have a certain expectation for how this is going to go, but now I wonder…
    Perhaps Patrick gives the knife to his mother knowing (or guessing, correctly) that his father’s basic self-preservation instinct will kick in when she actually tries to stab him, and so he’ll fight her, try to wrestle the knife away. And then they either inflict sufficiently fatal wounds on each other, or he kills her and then, feeling that he’s “no better”, himself out of remorse and loathing.
    Two engineered suicides.

  • Thomas S

    He is handing Mother a knife. She is reaching out to take it. Reaching out. She *wants* the knife! A “Pleasant Expression” on her face and all!

    Supposition : Patrick is wracked with grief anticipating his mother satisfying her sociopathic urge to STAB her husband!

    Sociopath (n) : A sociopath typically has a conscience, but it’s weak. [They] may know that taking your money is wrong, and [they] might feel some guilt or remorse, but that won’t stop [their] behaviour. Sociapths lack empathy, the ability to stand in someone else’s shoes and understand how they feel.

  • PineConeCarpet

    …is it just me, or did Patrick change race? in the earlier pages he looked like he was intended to be the same race as the Chinese businessmen, but his parents are pretty clearly meant to be white here, and it almost looks like his facial features shifted too.

    • His skin tone is still miles darker. I do wonder if his father is, actually, the father.

      • Zorae42

        If his parents are both mutts it could be possible that he just wound up with their non-white genes being more dominant right?

        • I mean, the dad in particular looks pastier-than-pasty, but honestly it’s not a great idea to use terms like “mutts” to describe human ethnicity?

          • Zorae42

            There are lots of pastier-than-pasty people who actually have a POC parent(s). Just depends on the roll of the genes.

            My bad. Didn’t mean anything rude by it.

          • That’s fair, thanks for listening.

            You’re right, by the way. He could easily just have a particular genetic combination which his parents don’t appear to present.

            It’s just that in a comic like SFP with generally positive attitudes toward representation, it’s been nice to have a main villain who wasn’t very pale, especially since the Strong Female Protagonist already is. Even if he were simply olive-skinned due to Spanish or Italian ancestry it’d still have been good to see that diversity behind simple variation of skintones within character design. So Patrick’s parents both being more stereotypically white-American than he is disappointed me, because it shut the door on several possibilities that frankly would have been more interesting.

          • Zorae42

            I do know that when non-white people get to be villains they’re often the brutes/henchmen and rarely the mastermind types – which is why it is so refreshing to see someone who does have an ambiguous skin tone playing the part.

            Maybe because his parents are a coward and a sociopath they didn’t want to implicate any negative stereotypes that people of minority are faced with? Although you are definitely right that they could’ve been of Spanish or Italian ancestry without causing too much offense so fair enough.

          • That’s a reasonable point, I suppose. I wouldn’t want to perpetuate negative or unpleasant associations. Of course I originally formed this desire before we’d even met Patrick’s father or directly seen his mother, and for some time I was hoping that the father was a good, empathetic sort who had simply been harassed and gaslit into his present state. (Which is quite possibly still the case.) And 100% agreed about the intellectual main-villain mastermind being a very worthy character for someone of non-white non-Asian heritage.

      • PineConeCarpet

        his cheekbones just up and left

  • UH – oh

  • Tel B

    “I don’t require your praise, or your love or your… anything.”

    My guess is that his mother approves of his actions.

  • Liz

    Let’s not get so caught up in “Who’s getting stabbed” that we forget to ask “Who’s getting shot.”

    #PagingAntonChekhovWeveFoundYourGun

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2c99accadad2cd5f09aabc08beaee2b9da0ac2a627575336ad67586162a10316.png

    • I do love trope-appropriate hashtags. <3

  • Nightsbridge

    I bet that her mom thought “I’ll stop hating you and I’ll kill him for you” and so he handed her the knife.

  • Heh, I just thought of something. If he’s around someone dealing with intrusive thoughts….does he hear intrusive thoughts in a different voice? Or is it the same as theirs?

    (Here’s a link, for anyone who isn’t familiar with Intrusive Thoughts)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intrusive_thought

  • Dave Huber

    Never let it be said Patrick doesn’t put a lot of thought into his gifts… “Happy Mother’s Day!”

  • Lisa Izo

    The funniest thing I notice about this page is that Patrick has called his mother a sociopath, and everyone agrees, but when I was calling her a sociopath in the comments when she snapped a dog’s neck, there was so much rancor and anger towards those me that I was shouted down and made the subject of multiple personal attacks, then banned from the forum.

    You’re all such massive hypocrites.