Stalking the Average Man
-You gave me a way into the confrontation scene, and I want to get it on paper while it‘s
fresh. Thanks. | She stood up, blew a kiss in my general direction, and muttering =casualty of
conscious | left me sitting there.
"Anytime, | I said meaning it, because there was little of it left.
Zzz: Drifting in the periphery of consciousness, on a catamaran in the Mediterranean,
instances of colleagues -knowing things | rolled through my mind unbidden. No situation was
more definitive than a feeling to stop or turn, but after four examples, I accepted that we all had
experienced definitive psychic feelings at some time in our lives, just not with cont rol over them.
Another ruse to convince me of her keen ability was that she sometimes seemed to know what I
was thinking, which now became clear to me as a consequence of her maneuvering
conversations toward landing points I could not anticipate: she had previously checked these out
under the guise of the many -what ifs | she had stored for future reference.
Checked out. Store: I could eliminate two thirds of the checkout lines by the age and gender
of the customers and clerks. Young and male were faster, because they didn’t fill their carts,
chat, or suddenly have to search for a payment method, as if groceries were usually free...
Men were the house odds for speed.
Bonnie would certainly have a refined list of clues.
She was good, I thought as my imagination squeezed the catamaran between the Palma
welcoming lights and the outer breakwater… good enough to palm a tomato, and by squeezing it
for ripeness accurately guess it’s weigh from its circumference...
Almost awake, I tried but could not figure out how she did the lunch money trick ; it had to
be a modification on the shopping scam. Scam: The penny in her carryall was laughable.
At four-thirty in the morning, it was too early to get up and too late to go back to sleep : I let
thoughts about her story make their own connections, using her outline and scenes I had been
drafting as a flexible template. In the half hour before I got up, I saw her work as a New Age
morality play based on religious propaganda. Mystical intrigues aimed at personal development
represented the bible‘s teachings, while diabolical theories that fostered blind obedience under
the guise of faith represented the devil. The Christ figure would come from the cult—no rights,
unlimited investigative authority... had to be a cult. The man with no name would attempt to
teach people how they were enslaved, but not enough of them would listen to make a difference.
He would seed lessons—a John the Baptist character—then Christ would come back to conclude
them. I got out of bed, made coffee, and began reworking the sample scenes to include my new
At nine o‘clock, I packed a chapter from my book in my tank top bag, and headed across the
bridge to Bonnie‘s house.
Seated in the kitchen, Bonnie hadn't finished reading my work before setting the pages
aside to offer me an insight that was more implausible than the smuggling scenario, because I
was supposedly a participant. The true event, and scene she was reading, opened in Beirut on
December 23, 1983, with a crew arriving at a hospital amid a steady stream of car bomb
casualties. O ur pictures of outrage and gore were so good that we lingered at the emergency
entrance until soldiers threatened us for imposing on their grief.
We went inside to tape the triage tango.