Stalking the Average Man
so often, as she gave the girl an injection, that she knew the girl had only minutes to live. The
penicillin wasn‘t remotely close to a heroic measure; it was something to do when there was
nothing that could be done.
Unusually for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, our producer decided we should
record her death, and we rolled tape for a few minutes before stopping to wait for signs of
change. A short time later, Birhan Woldu began to pant. We rolled tape again. In a whisper, one
Sister said, -She's recovering. |
"We‘ve never seen anyone come back from this stage, | the other nurse said. | It‘s truly a
I thought it was the final goodbye, because some people experience a period of well being
just before the end, and the Sisters were predisposed to seeing the bright side. Minutes passed
while color returned to Birhan‘s death mask.
On a follow up shoot weeks later, we found her playing in front of the station with her
father and some young friends.
-One out of how many? | I sputtered an impotent mix of menace and exasperation.
-The issue is the changing of the moment: from Down‘s to intelligentsia, synthetic to
symphony, and a massacre to a miracle, a sheep becomes the shepherd. You asked of us =and
so?‘ And so we say that from the clandestine brutalities that assaulted Alpha arises a master of
the malicious illusions they became, O mega, your twin. |
Unable to shake images of unfathomable suffering, I tamed my obscenities into a terse, -No
time for that in the script. | I got up to leave.
-Lunch tomorrow—barbecued salmon? | Bonnie said in her own voice, -Come around
twelve, and bring the wine. You can tell me what just happened... | she said in a rising tone as I
went down the stairs.
Assumptions of Physical Reality
That evening I could not help but consider Kha-lib‘s words, because the impact of working
the famine was highly resistant to forgetfulness after clipped scenes of suffering had been
resurrected. I resolved that he may have a point about me and religion, but still I wanted to shout,
-What about the rest of them? | which took me back to Bonnie‘s view on fairness; my anger bled
energy into a bleak sense of wonder about the ways of her Universe. -Cruel bastards,‘ slipped
from my lips as I fell into a fitful sleep.
I arrived at Bonnie's house on time, with a bottle each of red and white wine. Tapping on the
side door twice, I let myself in. She called a quick -Hello, | from the kitchen, and as if joining
sentences with elastics said, -Remember when Kha- lib told us that everything is always
changing, but subjectivity influences how we adapt? |
-Can we get a glass of wine first? | I said, topping the stairs.
Apparently not: -We both know that physical experience is an artifice for spiritual
development, the natural grace of which is that mankind‘s endeavors are ultimately self-
developing, correct? |
-Yep, | I said, walking into the room. -But I have a question. What did Kha- lib mean by
calling my core predatory? |
Grinning, Bonnie said, -It‘s about the basic approaches to self-development; there are two
kinds of focus, stalkers and dreamers. You are a stalker by nature—a predator‘s approach to