Marriage and family back home would not likely limit their behavior here for very long, any more than would Islamic culture. Only the vagaries of opportunity itself could do that. With the city maps and landmarking Krumm provided from the Net, their explorations discovered that traveling south they could exit the strict Islamic enclave in just a quarter-mile or so. The boundary was a broad and busy street.
On the first day, Jordan and Gilson discovered, of all things, a taco stand. Between the two of them, they stammered out enough Spanish with the man at the counter to discover there was a small Hispanic community in the city, just a block away, huddled inside a single apartment tower. The prurient instincts of Jordan led him to casually ask about adult entertainment.
Sure enough, prostitution was alive and well, and within walking distance of their post. Jordan eagerly reported later to Krumm, “Man, we found a babe rental! It’s…”
Krumm help up his hand sharply. “I’m not interested in rental property.”
Jordan laughed derisively and sauntered away into the warehouse.
For those somewhat more squeamish on moral issues, there were still just a few bored young ladies to be found in the coffee shops and and Internet cafe looking for more enduring relationships. At breakfast one morning, with the whole crew sitting around a table, Worley turned to Krumm. “So wise and mystical monk, tell me how to deal with this. I got one gal who is really interesting, but kind of Westernized, and at times a hell-raiser. But the only other one willing is too much of a local girl, all nice and sweet, obsequious and… well, boring.”
Krumm, without looking up from his coffee replied quietly. “You can’t use a micrometer to calibrate a jack-hammer.”
“What? Is that another one of your silly mystical riddles?” Jordan laughed.
Krumm smiled indulgently. Turning to Worley, “The human soul is a delicate instrument. You have abused your sense of beauty, justice and goodness, beating them mercilessly against the pavement of shallow pleasures. You expect them to somehow continue reporting accurate assessments of what will work out nicely among such opportunities as that?”
Ripley asked, “Do you miss having a woman?”
Krumm looked slightly wistful. “My wife was my best friend.” He never discussed how she died, simply referred to her being taken from him. “No one could ever replace her, but I’d love to find a successor. My life is bound up in a mystical vision of calling from God. As you already know, it means decisions which make no sense at all to on a human level. I can’t afford to let anything side-track that. I have zero concern over human legal wrangling about what constitutes marriage, but any woman staying in my life has to be crazy the same way. Not just buy into my religion, but be fully devoted to backing me 100% in my calling as her calling. That there was one woman like that indicates there might be more somewhere, but I tend to think finding one is above my pay grade, as it were. Since it would take a miracle to be like that, it would take a miracle to find her, too.”
“So you aren’t even looking?”
Taking another sip of coffee, he lowered his cup a few inches and swallowed. “I’ll know when it happens. Until then, I have other things to occupy my non-duty, spare time.”