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Stalking Vol 2: The Bridge of Reason


only so much space you really need." She nodded at the cup in my hand: she knew I always had
at least one cup before I came over.
I brought it to the sink.
Taking it from my playfully reluctant grasp, she said, "Do the math and you’ll see that
greedy people also end up throwing something away to make room for their other self- interests."
She drained my cup and added it to the dishes she was washing. "The same principle can be
applied to cruelty, now that I think about it."
"How so?"
"Define cruelty."
"Taking pleasure in harming something," I said innocently.
"Did you take pleasure in cheating on your wife?" she said casually, rinsing cutlery.
"Of course not. I… I mean, I didn’t intentionally create pain for my pleasure," I stuttered.
"Think again; that is precisely what you did. It just wasn’t your focus in the moment."
"I was winging it, like most idiots."
Bonnie turned to face me. "If I’m hearing you correctly," she said blandly, leaning against
the counter, "hoping you wouldn’t get caught in your excess made it a no harm, no foul event,
and when you did get caught taking more than you needed, a random act of your penis reduced
the transgression to what—an unplanned indiscretion?"
"Yes," I said, stoically.
"The harm you are overlooking came when she learned that you took her trust and stuck it
inside someone else. As for winging it, you clipped the wings we all need to fly with someone
else—fidelity to shared beliefs."
The allusion was not lost on me: salivating as if I was eating wasabi on rye, I meekly said,
"So was I greedy or cruel?"
"Yes," she said. "Let’s call Jenny and have lunch at the Greek Palace… on me," she added
belatedly.
Off guard, and hearing a literal cheap shot, I peevishly said, "Thanks, but I’m good for it. Ed
cut me a check for a thousand before he left."
We picked up Jenny, and on the way to the restaurant for no apparent reason both of the
women said they were happy to pay my way; I insisted on stopping at a cash machine. By
insisted, I mean that I was driving Bonnie’s car so I ignored them.
As I turned into a tight space in front of the bank, I discovered too late that the city was
modifying the sidewalk for wheelchair access; concrete forms and assorted construction debris
extended eighteen inches from the curb.
Still tired from climbing Cypress, I was pondering whether to leave Bonnie's car partially
exposed to traffic when we all noticed an elderly man shuffle to an awkward stop nearby. His
walker had become stuck in a crevice between the old cement and the wooden curb form.
In the instant of thinking that I should get out and help him, Bonnie, channeling K ha- lib in
his distinctive accent, said, "Are you not going to help him?"
With flagrant emphasis, I said, "I was just going to do that!" Feeling foolish, I leapt out of
the car to offer the man a hand, nearly losing Bonnie's door to oncoming traffic in the process.
The fellow beamed without inhibition at my risky rush to his aid.
Holding him steady with one hand, I pulled his walker out of the crevice. He thanked me
with a brief nod, then without complaint began an in-depth explanation of his plight: recently
released from a hospital after a hip operation, he was taking his daily walk of therapy. Looking at
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