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Stalking the Average Man


-Nothing, | I shrugged, -a third kid was probably waiting for the baker to chase either of the
first two. |
Baffled by my suggestion of a triple whammy, Bonnie processed the idea and, I presumed,
mentally tried it out before saying, -Did you think he was clever? |
-With Mihaleh or Aleena? |
-Both. |
-He wasn‘t too bright letting the boy go. | I shrugged, -I don‘t have a clue what he‘s up to with
Aleena. What‘s with the language thing; are you going to have her say something important that‘s
misinterpreted? |
-Actually, I hadn‘t thought of that, but I‘ll keep it in mind. | Waving the question aside, she
said, -He‘s offering to teach them both the source of life‘s trials. I‘ll begin to show you how
tomorrow. | Bonnie slid her work into the envelope with a crisp precision that had the effect of
closing our conversation.
-Why not just tell me? |
-That wouldn‘t help me research your development of a new way of thinking. | She shifted in
her seat and leaned toward me. -My merchants were all teachers who led people to discover their
own conclusions, because this process inherently dealt with the laziness of people who demand to
know what would be functionally useless information if it was handed to them. | She looked me in
the eyes, mischievously.
-You think I‘m lazy? | I said in disbelief.
-No, because you are this close, | she touched her finger and thumb, -to embracing a new
assumption. |
-I‘ll have to trust you on that. |
-Have I given you reason not to trust me? |
-It‘s an expression, | I said peevishly. -Were everyone‘s comments aimed at distracting
Aleena? | I asked to move things along.
-Actually, it was the other way around. The merchants were shutting down her internal
dialogue by overloading it, so that she could process the only event that was important in the
moment—Tartuu‘s words. | She grinned. -It‘ll make more sense later. |
-Fair enough. Why did the baker pretend not to notice what happened? |
-He effectively told the kids that he knew what had gone on, by giving the boy a second tart
for his silent partner. The next time they come around, he‘ll set aside some easily stolen items so
that neither his cart nor customers will be upset. These contrivances will create an opportunity for
the baker to explain how they‘re playing a dangerous game they can stop; he‘ll offer to take them
in. |
-To work off their debt? |
Bonnie looked at me distastefully. -He‘s going to offer them the chance to change their lives,
when they trust him enough to consider it an option. |
-It‘s a good idea, but for clarification offering food to the starving isn‘t an incentive. It‘s
extortion. |
-Offering the irresistible is a principle of an art called How to Teach in my society; it‘s also
immensely energy efficient, which is crucial for boys who are at the end of their options. Left
alone, | she explained, -they would become permanent prisoners of their society or of their own
beliefs, so Tartuu used the strongest lure he had. If things go according to plan, the boys will
abandon their old ways as he teaches them how to live properly. How to Live, | she parenthesized
the term.
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