Stalking the Average Man
-A real apprentice, and our audience, might see your claim as an example of how faith
bends facts, | I said, -which reinforces the idea that teachers manufacture a student‘s consent. |
We sat in the aluminum chairs; Bonnie consulted the horizon.
Turning her head, so the sun reflected off her glasses as pinpoints of light, she said, -A
teacher would recognize this as one of those crossroads moments, and ask the student to review
the incident in detail. Hopefully, the apprentice‘s lessons to date would allow them to set aside
self-interest long enough for an omen to jump out at them. | She brushed hair away from her
forehead, took a sip of wine, and watched the waters of English Bay.
With her occasionally prompting me for details, I told her the full story.
The Omen of Goodbye
I had finished six weeks of an open-ended contract when Sean gave his notice to our bureau
chief, Lucy. Four weeks was understood by all to be a fair freelance stint, but most of our friends
were there, so the extra time wasn't a big deal to me. Sean said I should go home with him
because he always missed the big troub le by only a day or two; six months earlier, his regular
soundman had stayed behind and was badly wounded—which created the job opening for me. I
was considering leaving with him when Sami's soundman was hit; Lucy sent Sean home early,
and shifted me to Sami.
-We thought Sean‘s plane coming under fire was something that would be over by noon, | I
said, | but his flight turned out to be the last to lift off for months. That night, | I explained the
lead-up events, -some of us were intimidated at the Hamra-Skeller restaurant, not that threats
were unusual, but these guys knew where we had gone to school, where our parents lived—
things like that. The next morning, all hell broke loose. |
-What were the threats about? |
I looked into her eyes to see if she was kidding. Apparently not. -They suggested it would
be wise to not report on a particular faction‘s activities? |
-Right—got it, | she nodded.
-Shelling from the east fell downtown, and there was heavy fighting around the Green
Line. This meant they weren‘t just trying to pick each other off; someone intended to cross it.
There was no fighting around the Corniche, so the touring crews decided to wait out the shelling,
but a sniper ruined that idea; we knew something big was happening because no one ever shot at
us from the north. |
-Us, as in you? |
I nodded. -By lunchtime, all crews had made it back to the hotel, except the Death Watch
teams at the airport stayed put while Moslem factions shelled the Christian held west all day and
night. This drove us all into a crawl space beneath the hotel. Around eight the next morning,
Allan Pizzey, from CBS, asked for volunteers to see who was winning the free-for-all, and Jean
Pierre, a freelancer working for NBC, and I did the shoot. | I took a breath, a short sip, then a
longer second one of each, as that memory seemed to require.
-He had a habit of poking his lens around corners. Not that I blame him, but imagine what
soldiers thought they saw, and you can appreciate why both sides tried to nail us within fifty
yards of the hotel. Anyway, the next weeks were full of skirmishes, and so many broken
ceasefires that we had T-shirts printed that read, 'I survived ceasefire number five, six, seven, and
so on, written in crossed-out Roman numerals. Mine was at seventeen when Peter Bluff, the
senior producer in the east, asked for volunteers.