Stalking the Average Man
A fourth option came to mind, as I pulled over at the Dover Pub; she was researching how a
well travelled, reasonably intelligent man, when subjected to endless conditioning by
untouchable tits and ass, can be turned into an idiot: I went inside to soak up courage enough to
decide which it was.
Everything Australian was in vogue for some rea son, except Men At Work in concert, so a
number of Fosters fat cans later I over enunciated -fuck it | into the smoky air, and scraping my
chair on the bare plank floor stood to dig out my cash. Two tables over, a stranger grunted in
agreement, while his muddled buddy turned to look for the bar‘s resident drunk, Delores.
-Women troubles? | Miriam said, sidling up from wherever servers lurk to scare the shit out
of contemplating customers.
-Investment problem, | I said, offering her an uncounted wad of cash.
Taking the correct amount of money, she pried open my fingers and snatched my keys. -I
saw you leave yesterday; wouldn‘t want to lose a good tipper. Any tipper, | she corrected herself,
looking at the sparsely inhabited room of indigent regulars. -Who was she? | she asked, as I
moved to step around her.
-Who are they, | I corrected her, offering a ten-dollar tip.
-Have it already, | she said evenly, and I walked outside as free as a man can be in the world
The Question of Sanity
To leave the memory of Bonnie behind, I also left the grant application alone and instead
concentrated on filling out the civilian ambiance in chapters of my book that preceded events in
Lebanon. Background color aside, my thinking was that readers who were familiar with my
characters‘ environment and upbringing would better understand why they made some otherwise
incomprehensible choices when the war came to their doorstep.
The drafts of various family scenarios took a tedious nine days to complete, because writing
about their social conformation inexorably led to thoughts of Bonnie and her premises. I
dismissed these as best I could, until they struck an inner chord: I wondered if Bonnie‘s
eccentricities were a manifestation of an unusually agile mind, kind of like Robbie LeBlanc‘s,
The thought of translating his world into ours triggered one of those aha moments, and I
focused on interpreting Bonnie‘s fanciful views into their source possibilities: she had been with
a good man whose spirit had been crushed, seen his generosity as a ruse, and tried to heal him.
Maybe she had been emotionally starved by her parents, as a means of discipline—there were
two kids in her book, and she had a brother.
It made sense that her older characters, all kind parental stereotypes, were an ideal that
compensated her. No matter, snickering with sad satisfaction, I marveled at how her survivor's
instinct had segregated and insulated memories into layers, and that using trickery to unwrap
abstractions was just mental masturbation for an ingenious flake in a world of cerebral eunuchs.
And her need to dominate to feel safe was satisfied.
I concluded that I was an excellent disco ball, but not what she wanted reflected, so she had
to fight for her version of the world even as she left it behind… everything she said I was doing.
With a celebratory beer over my genius, considering all that Bonnie had done to drive me
so nuts that I would even contemplate believing her story, I realized that I needed to get away.
Taking a motorcycle trip with Ed to Vancouver Island, and a weekend piss-up in a Victoria