When they had carried their trays to a table furthest from the counter, and were starting on their Walrus Stew, Bernie asked Oyzell if she minded not being able to keep Kosher here: "doesn't bother me in the least," said the older woman, "if I'd stuck to that I'd probably have starved to death three or four or five times over - oh I go to the synagogue in Melrose, but for me, that's more cultural than religious, and Rabbi Burns is an old friend, him and Zelda both; how about you, Bernie?" and the young man paused before replying: "my parents weren't, aren't, Orthodox, but we always observed the Sabbath, the Festivals, but I think for my dad it was a habit, what Jews did, he's a lawyer, a solicitor—as I am—but the laws we work with are man-made, not God-given, which isn't to say that God doesn't interpose himself in the affairs of men, and maybe guides legislators and jurists to reach the conclusions he wants—consilience can take many forms and a consensus may involve people who are on opposite sides of the fence over a dozen different issues, but on two or three they agree, for different reasons they may reach the same conclusion, and your Rabbi Burns would probably suggest that it is the conclusion God chose for them to agree on," and Oyzell laughed: "don't make assumptions about Shmuel, you don't know him, he's very nuanced, can always see the other person's point of view, I suppose he is truly empathic, unlike me," and Bernie asked: "in what way aren't you empathic?" and Oyzell said: "I saw too much during the Shoah, too much evil perpetrated by human beings on other human beings, no other species does that and that made me decide that I wouldn't waste my time on people I didn't like, or disagreed with—oh, I wouldn't harm them or anything like that, but life is too short to waste on people who. . . . .are schmucks, there's plenty of do-gooders who'll come to their rescue, they are the true masochists, I ain't!" and Bernie grinned across the table: "well," he said, "you're ornery, I think the American term is, definately not a pickthank, and that I like; solicitors and advocates are supposed to take on any client and represent them to the best of our ability, but not to lie for them—if someone is accused of a crime, but maintains his innocence, then even if I have a feeling, or a judgement based on the evidence, that he probably did it, but he insists that he didn't, I will cast him in the best possible light I can—every man or woman is entitled to the most vigorous representation—but outside of the Court, I can walk away and be myself," and Oyzell smiled: "just like actors," at which Bernie blushed, then nodded, "yes, the Court is just another form of theatre, but it can be a place of life and death, which makes it more important that evidence is tested to the utmost," which was when Oyzell glanced out of the window, saying: "it's just like a desert here, inhospitable, unforgiving, isn't it?" and Bernie nodded: "except that a desert has usually no water—here you might starve, but it's no xeriscape, you can drink as much as you like," and indicated their empty plates, "and if you are lucky, enjoy the fruits of the sea, too," and Oyzell asked: "we've had the walrus, is there a carpenter on the menu?" but before he could reply, she said: "let's cut to the chase, Bernie, what do you really want to talk to me about?"