Stalking the Average Man
intimate. I mean, | she snapped out words with a gulped breath, -he could tell us if they‘re tall,
have a scar or nose hairs—that kind of thing. |
-And have Ely meet us there, | I said as the image came to mind, -but he‘s never quite in
sight, so the flat tire gives the sniper borderline opportunities that he ultimately doesn‘t take. I
like it. Except… hmm. |
-You can also give the sniper an internal dialogue that has him speculate that he was not
destined to get his shot on that day; the pace of fixing the tire was like an omen saying, =Not here
and not now,‘ so he left without taking it out on you guys. |
Not willing to go down the road of omens or Allah‘s will, I said, -I have pictures of the real
people for reference. |
-You don‘t strike me as the type to save... | she paused, -anything. |
The implication flew over my head. -My ex organized dig- me press passes and
photographs into albums. | I shrugged, -I kept it up. |
-Let's go, | Bonnie said, sliding sideways to stand free of the table. -I want to see the faces
of the people who defied the odds with you. |
-We were a motley crew. |
-You could have been the grateful dead, | she said, leaving a ten-dollar bill on the table for
two medium cups of Peruvian coffee, winter blend, whatever that meant.
Vertical blinds behind Ed's cobalt blue couch slashed bars of light across pictures of
colleagues and cellmates, as I turned the page from the Central and South American section to
the Middle East. -These cameramen, | I said, tapping the edges of a group photograph, -don‘t
work conflicts anymore. The work didn't suit Franz, and Terry is dead. |
-It sounds like it didn't suit either of them, | Bonnie said quietly.
-Terry didn't die in combat. He got sick after working in Laos, but the Brits couldn't find
out why. They suspected AIDS at the end, | I said, turning the page.
Bonnie stopped my hand. -There's more to it. |
-He was gay, | I ventured.
-That's not important, | she said, concentrating on the picture.
-It‘s all l know... other than it was a strange call. |
-In what way? | She pushed my hand backwards.
-I hadn't heard from Doug for more than a year, when he phoned from England to say that
Terry had died. I figured it was an apology call of sorts because—it doesn't matter, | I said,
turning the page back to Amritsar, -Terry was barely a passing acquaintance. This is the Golden
Temple. It's like the Sikh's Vatican. |
-There's more, | Bonnie said, turning back the page. -The official version of his death is
what others wanted the world to think happened, | she said tentatively. In a disinterested tone, she
accurately described the leaden motion of joint grinding fatigue, and pounding thirst of jungle
travel. First pausing, she concluded with the stunted wonder of unexpected thoughts rolling off
her tongue, -He surprised a group of very private people. The deadly aspect was that he saw a
gathering of criminals and government officials ; your friend was employed by a security agency.
The officials knew him because they were plugged into the intelligence community. They
poisoned him. |
-Don't know if I can squeeze that in, but I‘ll keep it in mind. |