The Hanshi of Central Park
by Stephen F Kaufman
I will be uploading much of this adult novel, chapter by chapter. When your appetite has been whetted, you can buy the complete book, autographed, DIRECTLY from me at hanshi.com. Here is chapter 3.
Hanshi David Mann was heavy into his morning workout with one of his students who lived in the same apartment house. Geoff Randall, a lawyer, had gotten lucky during a conversation one day and the teacher invited him to partake in the morning ritual if he could get up at 5:30. Geoff hadn’t missed a session in over a year and considered himself to be one of the luckier people to have a full-blown recognized karate master as his teacher. On this particular morning he had an early court appearance and had decided to have a short workout rather than miss it completely. A solid hour of walking, punching, kicking and stretching was good enough as long as the regimen was maintained.
They bowed out and Randall took off. The Hanshi decided it was a good day to go to the Ramble pond and sit on his favorite rock and think about nothing except sitting on the rock. He thought about Paul Reps famous Zen painting, “Cucumber unaccountably cucumbering” and chuckled. He liked to hang out on his rock and use one of his Asian weapons, a sai, a trident-like device, to keep the water in the pond flowing by clearing away the dead leaves and twigs that gathered in the pool. He felt as though he was in charge of the pond, and because the area gave him so much pleasure, and nobody ever hassled him there, he maintained the stream as his way of giving something back. Very few people ever came into this area because of its isolated location especially at this time of the morning. Afterwards, he walked over the small wooden bridge that someone had dedicated to one Timothy Laupot, and followed the path to the waterfall.
The quiet and solitude of the morning gave him a sense of balance. It helped him deal with any problems that could be cut off before they developed. Usually, he brought the dog along for a run but because the day threatened rain he left her home and let Sharon, his girlfriend, take her out. He laughed when he thought about how she carried on when the dog got muddy. After his meditation, he would go back to the house, take a hot bath, make coffee, make some phone calls and work on one of the books he was writing. Periodically he got called for computer jobs that made him wonder why no one would take the time to learn how to do simple things for themselves. He was glad though, because at a $135 an hour he didn’t need too much work. Lots of times it was cash. Nice!
He considered a jaunt to the bookstores to check on sales and then maybe to Tower for a couple of new CD’s. He didn’t have to teach until later that afternoon. Life for him was structured on non-structure. He wanted to eventually move out of the city and just maintain a studio in town for convenience but only if it proved to be necessary. A place in the country or maybe the North Fork of Long Island where he could work and be with those he loved most. The royalties from the books were starting to kick in and would afford him the chance to finally get there. He was at the age where he only wanted to hang out and lay back. One of his personal assets was that he didn’t permit himself to get knocked out about what other people thought about him, good or bad. He just dug himself, and as he was digging himself, walking and talking to himself, and twirling his sai, and dreaming about what it must have been like to live in medieval Japan like Musashi, he approached the top of the waterfall. His life would never be the same.