Stalking the Average Man
know what was happening for two days, because fifty journalists called him for comments while
it was going on. |
-The Israeli‘s did nothing? | Bonnie said.
-They kept us on the perimeter road until the shooting was over. The Red Cross gave us
painters masks soaked in cologne as we walked in. | I sniffled. -Haven't worn any since. |
Having had enough of my reality, Bonnie began talking about her later high school days.
This time, I reciprocated with a mixed sense of victory and relief, the tea eventually became
wine, and we ended up talking about primarily pleasant personal events unt il it was time for me
to work on my screenplay, and I went home.
I didn't bring any of my work to our next few meetings because Bonnie did not address
where I had constructed my personal cage, in my last offering. She also brought fewer pages of
her own work, which were so cryptic in their brevity that I understood little more than her
apprentices were acting increasingly eccentric, and subservient, with their customers. I read the
second of two installments while sitting at her kitchen table after lunch...
A group of ten to thirteen year old youths from the commune came to the market at the end
of a selling day, to ask their nineteen and twenty- year old apprentice friends/brothers and sisters
for help resolving a dispute. They first explained their problem to Eirik, who bit his lower lip and
shifted his weight from side to side. At the same time, the nearby butcher's apprentice grunted to
the rhythm of scrubbing his cart, which sounded like punctuation to the children‘s sentences.
Believing he had considered every possibility, Eirik finally said, -Rohwan is much better at
this kind of problem. |
The youths turned to face the butcher's apprentice, who ignored them until the young
flautist, Mahrli, asked him what he thought they should do.
-About what? | Rohwan said, huffing through a series of scrubs.
Mahrli again laid bare the problem, but just as she finished, the apprentice's fingers slid into
an awkward corner. Holding his injured hand aloft, Rohwan walked to the river's edge to clean
the slight wound; all of the youths waited quietly until he came back to his cart, and went about
At this point, Brendah, the bee keeper's daughter, came out from behind her display to
purposefully pace off the distance from her station to Mahrli. Thirteen paces. Turning around,
she walked back six and half paces and sat in the middle of the ring of carts, staring at her feet.
With an exchange of glances, the youths sat in a semicircle around her.
Village kids toting their mother's purchases home found this funny, a few of whom bothered
to taunt the commune youths, regardless of their well-known affliction.
Finally, Brendah intoned with mild surprise that the answer was right in front of her. She
uncrossed her legs, unthreaded the leather calf bindings of her left sandal, and began a painfully
repetitive description of how the youths should tie their sandals until the harvest festival, three
months hence. The last of the village children lost interest when Brendah did the same thing with
her right sandal, =for the benefit of those who could not distinguish her right from theirs.‘
This comment caused Rohwan to burst into laughter, and Mahrli thanked Brendah on
behalf of the group, all of whom retied their footwear as Brendah had directed them…