"And what is your faith, exactly, Mr. Switters? What do you believe in?" "Umm. Well. I try not to." "You try not to believe?" "That's right. I'm on the run from the Killer B's." "Pardon? What have killer bees to do with?..." "B for Belief. B for Belonging. The B's that lead to most of the killing in the world. If you don't Belong among us, then you're our inferior, or our enemy, or both; and you can't Belong with us unless you Believe what we Believe. Maybe not even then, but it certainly helps. Our religion, our party, our tribe, our town, our school, our race, our nation. Believe. Belong. Behave. Or Be dammed." "But human beings have--" "A need to belong somewhere, to believe in something? Yeah, sister -- if I may still call you that-- they seem to. It's virtually genetic. I'm on guard against it, an it still overtakes me. The concern is that we may annihilate ourselves before we can evolve, or mutate, beyond it; but you may rest assured that, even if we survive, as long as we're driven to Belong and Believe, we'll never be at peace, and we'll never be free." "Ooh-la-la! That's crazy. A human who belongs to no group or believes in nothing? What kind of a robot, what lost animal? No longer human at all." "In the sense that a frog is no longer a tadpole, you may be right. And it may never come to pass, or have to. We just might learn enough tolerance, and jettison enough fear and ego, to compensate. The neutral angels could prevail: neutral victory being a particularly intriguing oxymoron. In the meantime, though, Sister--if I may still call you that--can't you hear them buzzing? Listen to the swarm that Be-lief and Be-longing have Be-got. B-boundaries. B-borderlines. B-blood B-bonds. B-blood B-brothers. B-bloodlust. B-bloodbath. B-bloody B-bloody. B-bang B-bang. B-boom B-boom. B-blast. B-bludgeon. B-batter. B-blow up. B-bomb. B-butcher. B-break. B-blindside. B-bushwhack. Be-head. B-blackball. Be-tray. B-bullets. B-blades. B-booby traps. B-bazookas. B-bayonets. B-brute force. B-barbarism. B-babylon. B-babel. Be-elzebub. Be-etlejuice. B-bureaucracy. B-bagpipes. B-beanie B-babies. "Beanie Babies? The kiddie stuffed toys?" Uh, sorry, that just slipped in. And, obvously, there're good things that begin with B, too. Bee-r, for example. B-biscuits. The Be-atles. B-Broadway. B-beinas." "Bei----?" He wasn't about to explain that beina was the Catalonian for, as Audubon Poe put it, a woman's treasure. So, he threw in triumphantly, as if he'd been saving it for last, "The B-ible." "So, you do think the Bible a good thing?" "Umm. Well. To be-labor my apiarian analogy: the honey that's dipped from that busy hive can be sweet and nourishing, or it can be hallucinogenic and deadly. All too frequently, the latter is confused with the former. Dip with caution. Reader be-ware."