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Stalking the Average Man

=Yes sir. It was brown, long, and round.‘
=Why didn‘t you report it?‘ the cadet said coldly.
=It didn‘t seem important.‘
=Sir!‘ the officer cadet admonished him. Then he sternly explained, =There may have been a
man holding onto it!‘ |
I told Bonnie that for the rest of our watch we scanned the horizon for shipping, the mid-
distances for Russian periscopes, and the near distances for anything people could hang on to.
Nearing the end of our watch, without comment to me Campbell flung the hatch open and shouted,
-Officer of the watch...sir! Port lookout reporting shit hawk bearing red one five, angle of elevation
thirty degrees, range half a mile, closing fast! | Before the cadet could ask why Campbell had
reported a seagull, he said, -There may be a plane behind it. Sir! |
Expelling a rush of appreciation through her nostrils, Bonnie said, -Are you making fun of
me? |
-To the contrary, I am acknowledging that there could be danger anywhere. |
-Umm. |
We walked the rest of the way to the park in a comfortable silence, before Bonnie suddenly
became animated. Like a child making discoveries, she pointed to an ancient tree, a tide rip, then a
cloud formation, saying things like, -It‘s elegant, | and, -Watch the swirl, | then, -Look at it change
shape and still be a cloud. |
I was envious. She didn‘t have to work hard at creating the older characters in her commune.
Chapter 9
Beauty, and the Beast
Look, look! | she shouted as if my eyes required separate commands.
With exaggerated concern, I scanned the horizon for a tornado then the sea for a tsunami,
before I followed her finger pointing toward a rotund man dressed in a multicolored pullover; he
was playing with a retriever mixed-breed wearing a matching bandana.
-The dog could have rabies? | I ventured a guess.
-This is important. Tell me what you see. |
-I see a fashion-challenged guy playing with his dog. |
-That‘s what our culture taught you to see. Try it my culture‘s way, and assess the nature of
their interactions. | Bonnie pulled me off the walkway to watch the duo work a cycle of heel, sit,
down, and stay commands. At the completion of the ir routine, I had nothing =advanced‘ to add to
my initial observation.
-Would you agree she has been trained using appropriate methods? | Bonnie prompted me.
-No, | I said definitively.
-Why do you say that? |
-She has a penis. |
Bonnie managed her laugh into a distorted, -What tells you that his training has been
appropriate? |
-Bozo‘s commands are calm, the dog obeys hand signals right away—maybe too fast because
he anticipates them, which means it‘s a very familiar game. |
At that moment, the dog issued a plaintive, diminishing howl that sounded like a blues horn
refrain. -Otis is tired of basic training; he‘s asking for something to chase, | I said.
-There‘s hope for you. | Bonnie inhaled audibly, slowly released the air through her mouth,
and in a normal tone said, -Otis responds happily even when he doesn‘t get an immediate reward,