Cougar says very little because he has very little to say. His life is simple, drawn in swaths of black and white. When he is working it is the black of night, the white of bone, both splattered with red.
Cougar respects few things.
He respects death. It is his trade.
He respects the Church. Once it offered hope of redemption for his soul. Now it is a hope of life after death for the innocents and the wronged. He does not concern himself with his own soul so much anymore, has not gone to Mass in years. He no longer confesses his sins (his kills). To be absolved, he would have to be contrite for the deaths he has made (sighting down his scope, so clean, with such workmanship). He feels no contrition.
He respects Clay because Clay is his CO, and there must be someone who can tell him which shots are necessary and which deaths are righteous. Clay does not bear the weight of those deaths but he is at least a leash. Without Clay, Cougar worries that he might begin to kill just because he so easily can.
He respects his body. He did not used to, when he was a boy eager to grow up big as a giant, wide as a doorway, and stronger than anyone. He didn’t achieve that, but his legs run fast, his arms hold steady, his eyes are keen. He uses his body hard, and does not expect that he will keep it for long, but it is a good body while it lasts. He has no complaints.
There are a few things he cares about, and many others that he does not.
He cares about his hat and his rifle, about having a good pair of boots, and getting enough sleep. He keeps track of his hat (broken in just the way he likes), he keeps his rifle clean (and it rewards him), and he replaces his boots often. He does not sleep well, but a man cannot have everything.
He does not care where they are sent. He does care about why. He does not care how many men he has to kill once they are on mission, or the state of their souls, whether their families will mourn them.
He tells himself that he does not care about family. Does not care that he has primos whom he has never met, that he missed Abuelita's funeral. He is lying, but only because he cannot bear to say (even to himself) that he cares enough to keep them safe by staying away from them. He is not that good a man, to be able to live with a reason like that.
There are things he loves, and things he hates.
He loves his skill with a rifle. He is proud of it.
He thought he hated people who talked-talked-talked all the time, but that was before he met Jensen. (Jensen is like Cougar, but he talks all the time because he has so little to say.)
Cougar loves sex. He loves the dance of seduction, the promises of pleasure. He loves the lush hips of the girls and broad shoulders of the men, skin sliding on skin, the intimacies of strangers where nothing hurts. Sometimes he enjoys holding his partners afterwards. Other times he cannot settle, he has to leave at once. (Cougar has killed three of his bed-partners. The first one was very difficult. After that, he reminded himself that he loved having sex with her, but that he had never loved her. He did not know her, and she was about to kill his teammate.)
He loves his team. Loves the way Pooch always has duct tape and the way Jensen talks, the way Clay decides on plans and Roque implements them. He loves the way they trust him. They are real to him in a way that nobody else can be, and he watches over them like an anxious gander over his goslings.
He hates that his team is going to die. (Everyone dies.) He will hold off their deaths as long as he can. He hopes he is not alive to watch them die, but he suspects he probably will be.
Life and death. Black and white (and red). Simple.
What is there to talk about?