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Stalking Vol 2: The Bridge of Reason


We called it a wrap and piled back into the car, which is when I noticed that the smell of
violets, blood thick and sickly sweet in the humid house, had invaded our clothing. Manny had
told me this would happen, and I would have to throw them away. During the drive back, I
avoided revisiting the scene by thinking about where I would hide the cost of a new shirt and
pants in my expenses.
It was breakfast time when we got back to the hotel so the lobby was full of journalists
planning their day. They knew by our expressions and aroma that we had recently stood close to
death, but they let us pass. After we had showered and gathered again to eat, representatives
from each network, in turn, sauntered over to our table to ask us where and how many.
"That was the ambiance of my day, and most days, when the Swedish team came into the
bar, but there's another incident that…"
"How did Brian slant his story to avoid the wrath of the Little General?" Bonnie interrupted
me.
"I pretty much accused him of implying that the family had committed suicide," I said,
peevishly, "but it didn't matter; Toronto telexed that evening, ‘Contents too graphic to air.’"
"How did you feel about that?"
"I was pissed. Really pissed."
Bonnie drew a deep breath, exhaled, and said, "We view our experiences so as to support
assumptions that are inextricably tied to our sense of self- worth and safety. When events
undermine either of these, the validity of our very existence seems threatened and we do one of
two things. We choose to assess the experience for the knowledge it contains, and adjust our
view of the world and our place in it accordingly, or we adjust our view of the event to suit our
assumptions, thereby becoming more enslaved to our convictions. In the first case, we are
constructing a more insightful, less threatening view, because our fear of apparently random
events diminishes in proportion to the scope of our new understanding. In the latter scenario, we
are reconstructing our visions according to the ever- narrowing parameters of increased fear."
I nodded that I understood her; I saw the world in narrow terms.
"Initially," she carried on, "these new parameters give us back some of our sense of
security—better the devil we know. But the mental gymnastics required to contrive a safe place
become so great that we eventually glimpse our own insanity, and redouble our fear." She raised
her eyebrows.
"So?" I said, stupidly.
"That day caused you to question the very existence of mankind's moral core. Without that,
you assess every event and everyone through a filter of danger."
"Everything in Salvador was dangerous."
"This brings us to the problem you had when the focal point of your existence became a
salvage operation of your assumptions."
"Lucky me."
"For the next five years, you reconstructed your views while drenched in fear and
surrounded by malice and madness. The only way you co uld regain your assumed safe place in
the world was to become a part of that world." She tapped the log. "You got what you focused
on. Your dangerous desires should tell you this."
"Working combat assignments?"
"I'm talking about your fit over the footage not being aired."
I had no idea what she meant.
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