I ignored Square-Jaw’s face purpling nastily in the halogen lights as it wrinkled up like a prune. Dimly, my mind finally registered the cacophony of warning sirens from my senses. Something other than the odor of stale urine wasn’t right about this situation. Belatedly, I forced my intoxicated neurons to consider what exactly had been going on behind the screen of bushes. I had just left a raging party where people had been trying to get to know each other on the dance floor and every other empty place they could find. Moreover, I knew there had been at least three other identical parties occurring simultaneously in a two hundred foot radius that had been obtaining similar results.
Viewed in this light, it was understandable that good ol’ Square-Jaw was merely trying to find a place to do what everyone else was trying to do. He had just happened to find a more private spot than everyone else locking lips and twisting tongues in public. And since I wasn’t a prude and hadn’t objected to any of the other random couples that I had passed, real hard logic demanded that I similarly ignore him as well and admit my mistake. But there was a problem.
In the few classics classes I had attended, we had been discussing Plato’s dialogues, which featured Socrates prominently. In the dialogues, Socrates mentioned his “daemon”; an object that caused him to know when he was doing something appropriate or inappropriate; and in some ways acted as his muse – or inner voice. Like Socrates, I had my own daemon. Usually my daemon was very unhelpful, providing reckless advice, rather than a steady ethical course. I also found that when I was sober, it was much more difficult to hear its proposals. In my half-drunk state, however, it was very easy to hear its strident voice. And this time, like Socrates’ daemon, it was concerned about whether it was right and or just to leave a defenseless person at the mercy of another.
Upon its urging, I considered the situation with a fresh perspective. It was a little strange that two people would choose to get busy directly next to a clump of bushes that were commonly used as a latrine. It was also a little off that the girl who was with Square-Jaw had been making sounds of terror; and it was more than passing strange that she hadn’t said anything reassuring since we had arrived. And, it was suspicious that Square-Jaw would chose to be confrontational towards us rather than sheepish, embarrassed or annoyed. All of these transparent clues made me realize why my muscles had tensed from the start of the conversation, why my senses had panicked, and why my internal daemon had actually provided helpful advice.
“I told you it’s none of your business.” Square-Jaw said, abandoning his earlier slouching form. He was big. He wasn’t tall. He was just massively built with gym honed muscles that bulged beneath his wrinkled khakis and mass produced T-shirt. “So bug off!”
I sighed. I had chosen to ignore his earlier meaningless phrases because I had still been getting my bearings. But now there was nothing to do but banter back a similarly pointless response to determine what was really going on.
“I’m making it my business.” I said, also pulling myself up to full height. After all, I might not have been in his weight class, but I was taller by at least three inches. “What’s going on?”
“Nothing.” He growled back, stepping closer to me. “I told you, that you should just leave.”
“Perhaps.” I said, staring down at him, while ignoring the whispers of my friends behind me that were wondering if we should leave. “I’m more interested in how she’s doing. If she tells me to leave, I’ll be on my way.” At this point, everyone fell completely silent and stared. Only then, did we notice that the girl we had seen on arriving was shaking horribly, and that the noises we had heard were her crying. She refused to make eye contact with anyone and simply stared at the ground. “Alright, friend.” I said sarcastically. “You’re right. We’re leaving. Only she’s coming with us.”