Over Slight of Hand, glasses of champagne and phallic radishes, Denise and Carrie were having a discussion of male brutality. Carrie's day to day confrontation with the evidence had probably warped her judgment, but Denise was no stranger to the symptoms of the malaise either. As a social worker, Denise had seen more than one battered wife in her time.

Carrie seemed comically incongruous voicing her views so assertively. She looked as if the first strong breeze would knock her over. It was hard to imagine where in that small frame she derived the determination to help run a project as conflict-ridden as a rape crisis center.

She looked at Denise through large tinted glasses that dwarfed her small face. "Men," she pronounced dispassionately but with conviction.

"I guess you've got to count yourself lucky if you find one who has no need to prove his superiority on you, don't you?" Denise said.

Carrie's nearsighted, slightly unfocused gaze was unsettling. "You can live without them," she stated in the same dry tone.

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