Why the surge of activity just now after several days of unscrupulously rash banishments of initiative for the flat line of boredom? Was it the Mennonite family holiday greeting which turned my eyes from turpitude?Father continues to compose hymns during his long commute. Mother keeps bread on the table, sourdough recently, and has taken up mitten knitting in the evenings. I continue to work in the accounting office and fill my spare time with writing, drawing, and dishwashing. My investigation is going awry. Each new lead inexplicably dissolves in an evaporation of clues. Witnesses scurry away upon discovery. I suspect sabotage. On KGO Radio, Dr. Dean Edell reports that the same pleasurable rush of endorphins we love so much when exerting ourselves aerobically is also found when we learn something new. Am I cornered between the comfort of familiar conventions and the craving for endorphined revelation fueled by disrepute?I voice my concerns to fellow detectives in the office. This results in a wrestling match with the Lieutenant as he attempts to dispose of pertinent files. Two witnesses to this investigation are now vulnerable. Their lives are in danger. In a critical state of alarm, I find them home, blissfully unaware. If I can so easily find them, certainly my boss will find them. But the couple remains calm, ignoring my pre-emptive pleas to flee. From the kitchen window I see the Lieutenant stalking close. The couple and I crouch out of sight. We are dead ducks.I see a Great White Heron, neck liltingly long as it peers across a hill. The heron steps gingerly, following a matted path. The heron lifts one, then the other, remarkably stick-like legs as if it does not want its talons touching the grass. It moves into tufts. It stops, then elongates its already long neck. It walks with its beak protruding in the lead. The heron stretches even more, raising its breast and lower torso so that its body is nearly parallel to the surface of the ground. Suddenly the heron shoots out its beak and snatches a mouse. It holds the mouse, shifting its grip with a slight flip. The heron walks a half circle, then swallows the mouse whole. For a few seconds I can see the shape of the mouse in the heron's neck, then its neck returns to its sleekly supple cast, undulating in several shallow vertical waves. I enter a multi-storied shopping complex. Escalators take shoppers up several spiraled flights. On each floor the escalator abruptly ends and the shopper wanting to proceed upward must walk half way around the floor's circumference and parry stores to ascend. My heart begins to palpitate. I am consumed by consumer consumption. Charmed into a stream of induced schizophrenic extraversion. I plan a strategy to wrestle back constitutional self-control. I do not walk in step with my fellow escalateurs. I pick up my pace, darting around clusters and veering into empty gaps in biofeedbacked vindication that energizes endorphins. I land in the men's fine clothing section where dress shirts wrapped and pinned with cardboard collar and tissue paper lining lay in stacks on tables. The shirts are sometimes but sometimes not marked down in red penned handwriting to $170.00 or $156.00. Orienting myself, I ask a tidying clerk, "So, what's the deal on these shirts?""They are marked down.""Individually or the whole lot of them here.""On the tag.""So, like this shirt here for $250.00. What about this one?""It's not marked down."Pants are laid on tables marked S, M, and L/XL and tagged by waist measurement though none are hemmed. I hear murmurings that of course "they hem" but I cannot imagine engineering the additional idiosyncrasy. A couple next to me pause to finger a rack of hanging pants, the woman soon exchanging conversation about fabric styles with another clerk. "Say, honey," the woman asks lightly. "Might you have a bag? I have this food." She holds out a feathery plastic bag with an obvious take-out container inside. "This bag is just digging into my fingers." I notice the clerk is only too happy to oblige because that is her job and that is why this woman has come here.I take my item to an island of two registers and stand waiting as nerves spark random shocks to my brain. "Can I help you?" I turn. Who is talking to me? It is another clerk behind me. She is looking at me. What? What am I doing wrong? Am I standing where I shouldn't? I look blankly at her. "I'm buying this.""Let me take you to an open register," and she marches briskly to a nook near a mahogany, carpeted rising staircase. I hear piano music piping in from some unobtrusive PA system. She takes a breath. "It's quiet over here." I smile. "It's my husband's birthday. I had to shop." "I can't believe how many people are here today. You'd think they'd have something better to do." I can't believe she is berating her market share. For a moment we crack the consumptive veneer to grasp human rather than monetary exchange.Forging ahead, I ascend the stairs and pause at a majestic landing where a suit of armor should be. Instead there is a Troy-Donahue-in-the-ski-lodge mannequin. I see that the piano accompaniment is, in fact, from a Steinway grand hidden on the far side of the Men's Shoes. I wonder: is the attraction of consumerism to trigger, then control, the endorphin rush and feel accomplishment? To escape the shopping, I quickly find Bloomingdales and end up buying three soy-based briefs.