Stalking Vol 2: The Bridge of Reason
see the insanity, just as most people saw that the core message of the peace marchers... especially
when authorities tried to break that peace."
"I’m not clear on your distinctions."
"Intimate coverage of warfare, without spin or cultural trappings, would promote war in the
same way that throwing yourself off a cliff wearing a flag would promote hang- gliding. That was
what the government was afraid of." She skimmed off a thin pa ne of water with her heel, and a
mirror of translucence burst from her foot, collapsing in sheets on either side of her ankle.
"So coverage isn’t the issue; it’s the packaging that matters?"
"The media sanitizes atrocity, which anesthetizes the public to make human aberrations
acceptable," she said, "as if they exist in small numbers, far away, and under extreme
circumstances that we can somehow better by reporting them." She looked my way. "The
corporate giants that sanitize reality do so under the banner of maintaining a prescribed level of
taste, to allegedly protect our sensibilities." She tapped my thigh with the back of her hand.
"Think about it; what’s sensible about war that needs to be protected? Who sets these levels of
acceptability, and why? For that matter, who tells the public what movies to watch through the
regulation of mass distribution, and what documentaries that reveal the true processes of aberrant
power see the brighter lights of day?"
"I get it," I said in a clipped tone, feeling the need to defend the media; but I had made that
mistake more than once.
Chuckling, I said, "I’m sure you said this is just an overview day to get me started."
"I never said it would be easy. By the way, what was that ‘as close as I will ever get—Rio,’
Thankful for her contrived respite—she knew I needed a break, and jumping back to a
previous conversation was not unusual—I said, "I took Catholic lessons when I was in basic
training, to get out of the barracks; we were all restricted to them for the first six weeks."
I explained that, a month later, our platoon went on all night maneuvers. Around seven on a
frosty October morning, after a sleepless night playing silly soldier in deep, wet grass, a jeep
pulled up to our riverside camp and the driver announced that anyone who wanted to be
confirmed Catholic had to come with him; the Bishop was waiting back at the base. As we were
theoretically heading for a stretch in purgatory anyway, Ed and I figured we might as well get a
ride part of the way. The rest of our troop had to march five miles.
Chuckling, Bonnie said, "You paid for those miles a long time ago—let it go. Speaking of
going," she said, looking at her watch," I have to drive my son to a basketball tournament."
"And it was just getting interesting," I muttered.
"Reading Castaneda’s views on being stalked will be interesting as well," she said, heading
toward her car ahead of me. "Later," she said with a wave over her shoulder…
I thought to call Ed’s office from a pay phone on Denman Street, before I headed home. His
secretary said he was on a service call, and that she didn’t expect him back. I walked four blocks
to the Dover Pub, where I found Ed and Roddy—the president of a collection agency—finishing
their ‘service calls’ dressed in civvies. Ed said he would cover my costs until I cashed my check;
it was in the apartment.
I finished my first day as an apprentice of The Way to Live by getting as properly pissed as
an average man can get. Bonnie worked all day Friday, so I had a full recover y study day off.
During this time, I decided to reread all of the books we had ever talked about. Otherwise, I
reminded myself that I should do whatever she asked of me regarding my lessons. As a result,
my upcoming days were full of ‘gathering energy’ whether I was with her or not.