"Hi there." He said in that unsettling voice of his. I had no idea who he was or how he had gotten into my room so late at night, but at in my condition, I would have believed him if he told me he was Tai Ng Chung himself! Half angry and half curious I question him, "Did you follow me all the way here or what?" "That I did." "What for?" "You're an interesting fellow. Those words we shared back at the coffee shop really moved me." "You're not gay or anything are you?" "Do not be absurd. I simply want to get to know you better, chum." "Whatever. Just. Please. I am extremely tired and am in desperate need of some sleep. So, please, if on your way out if you could find the decency to lock up I would greatly appreciate it. Chum." "Shall I come back here tomorrow?" "Actually, come back in a week." "One week. You got it."
"Hello." I didn't even see the fellow enter the room. Same as last time. I had said one week, but I wasn't really serious. Anyway, I decided to humor this whole situation as I said, "Hey! Right on time." "Well, I don't have much to do Say, do are you really interested in martial arts, or is it just a hobby you have." "I told you back at the coffee shop. I am truly interested and take it to the utmost seriousness."
"No, not like that. Higher and straighter. Good, but put more feeling into it." "Ok Bruce." "I am aware that Bruce did state this, but it is a fact. If you know what I mean by feeling." "I know exactly what you mean." I looked at him and half smiled. He smiled back. His smile was very wise and knowing. Almost as if he was a real teacher. Back in the old day, even. Naturally, I excepted his offer of instruction. There was something about him that seemed so wise. "I was thinking about what you had said, back when we first met, and I find that there is a whole lot of truth in it. In fact, the whole statement is true." I stopped kicking now and looked at him intently and unbelieving. "I knew it. Hello sir. It is an honor." I said this while bowing with respect. "I just can't believe it. You can show me the way to becomingwell" "Yes. Everything you said at the coffee shop is possible." "Teach me. Sifu."
Walking down the street with every type of punk possible passing me by I started to get itchy. They are the scum of the earth. Look at them. Then I reminded myself. They are people too. "Hey." "Oh [bowing]. Hello Sifu. I didn't expect to see you. I thought we were done for the day." "True, but a teacher-student relationship does not have to be all about the teaching. I thought I'd take a nice walk in the city with my student, but [stares at some teens] it seems regret has now entered my mind." "Don't worry Sifu. You just have to ignore them. Besides, sigh, they are people too." "Not all type of people should be tolerated. In fact. Let's get a little practice in, shall we?" He walked right up to the punks and started insulting them. I myself cringed at some of the things he said. Its no wonder that within minutes they were pushing, then attacking. He then reminded them whom they should be attacking. Me. Four of them came at me. I loved every second of it. I smashed their bodies, enjoying it like it were a delicious steak with some red wine. After the last of the bastards were finished, he looked at me and smiled. "Very well done. I did not think that you had been practicing this much." I looked at the boys. A few years younger than me, all of them, but it made no difference nonetheless. Even if they were my age they would have ended up on the side walk like that just the same. I felt a little bad for what I had done. I know I was just defending myself. I know that this was part of my training. I guess I could have been a little more generous. I didn't have to take two limbs. One would have been just fine. As I was looking back at the pile, now some two blocks away, he said, "On the battlefield, everyone is an enemy. All you threaten you. All." These words of wisdom were comforting. They put my mind at ease. And I accepted what I had done.
"Would you like some more on the job training, pupil?" "More punks?" "Mmm, no. Let's go with some who are a little more deserving of what's coming to them." Down the street we went. This time, we actually went somewhere. He took me to a community service area. Some felons and the like were ridding the area of trash and such. As usual, he took the field. Setting me up for my challenge of the day. This time there were not four, but fifteen. I had to admit. I did have some doubts and little butterflies in my stomach. Those thoughts completely vanished when I first made contact. The joy came back and it was as if I had found a new amusement. By the sixth one, I started to get a little cocky. Looking over at him and asking, "Well, what do you think?" I saw his smile when one separated (he was behind one). I thought about him for a moment. He had a certain quality when it came to buildings, walls, doors and the like. Almost as ifWell. I got careless. One actually touched me in this moment of contemplation. Of course he was down already and this was more as a reach, not a punch or kick, to my leg. "The inadequate pools of life. Evaporated by my pupil! Whom I am very proud of at that. Although. I couldn't help noticing that youwellheld back?" "Yes Sifu. I admit it." "Why?" "Lives are lives Sifu." "Yes, but souls are souls. And I guarantee you. They are going to a place highly known and recommended by many." "Joy. Yes. Everlasting joy. Hmph. Once again, you are right." "Can you notice the difference between your first test and now this one?" "Very much so. I am becoming more like the being I described in the coffee shop." "I know." Very pleased I was at this as we walked off together. Smiling.
"Today is your last test. When I watch you I will determine and tell you whether or not you are at your ultimate stage. Are you ready. Pupil?" I smiled very contently, "That I am. Sifu. "But I can't help asking. Where will this 'last' test take place?" "Ah yes. I must ask for money. I am sorry." "No problem Sifu. Never before have you asked." "Are you familiar with the country your nation is involved in?" "Yes." "We shall go there." Getting there wasn't easy. But the whole time I had wondered how much I had progressed since a year ago. Since the year before that with those, mere, four boys! No longer were the butterflies of my stomach there. A feeling of confidence and a new beginning of something was in their place. When we arrived he explained to me that I was to take the place of an entire unit of ten men. We would intercept them, wearing disguises that would clear us to do just that. The town we entered was occupied by guerillas. There were all sorts of traps everywhere. He tricked me once. He stepped right over one of them, without setting it off of course, and when the shrapnel had appeared within my peripheral vision my "funny thought" of him being actually who I joked he was, now occurred to me as truth. Hah. I had been the student of the master. Wow. The traps were not a problem. I made extremely short work of them. As soon as the guerillas noticed there traps had gone off, they became visible as if to check who's pool of life had been dissolved by them. When they didn't see any remaining evidence for quite some time, they began looking around, coming out of there ambush spots. They were confused. I could see that and it made me laugh. I looked over to him and could see him doubled over with laughter. Such a sight to see! He was actually on the ground rolling! This was clearly a funny site if it made the master laugh. I began to laugh myself and that is when they noticed my position. They looked up at me with wonder, but also with some anger because of my disguise. I had to keep it on if I was going to get them to do something to me. They picked up their weapons and started firing at me. I looked over to where the master was. He was not laughing anymore, still smiling, but now looking at the situation and me. I decided to make him laugh some more. He had a very peculiar and funny laugh. His laugh alone made me start to laugh as well. That is why I decided to give him more amusement by toying with these guerillas. Every time I would switch positions, they got kind of scared and confused. Then they found me again and started to fire. By that time, I would be in a totally different place. This went on for about ten minutes. Then I looked over to where he was and he told me to wrap it up. He had been laughing the whole time and I could see the dried spots where his tears had been. I tossed some shrapnel of my own at the guerillas. Holding nothing back. This was the easiest. I didn't even have to go down there and get my hands dirty. They were toast. For some this was a literal statement. He came towards me and looked upon the deed I had done in less than a minute and said, "Hmm! You have become 'A true master of yourself. Stronger than any other human.' With this I leave you to contemplate my teachings. Develop yourself even further. And. [At this point he looked at me with a look similar to that when which he was on the floor.] Have some fun! Hoo Hoo! Ah Ha Ha! Oh ho!" He went off in a manner like this until I lost sight of him.
I still remember his words in my atypical, yet frequent dream, "You shall be judge jury and executioner of these miserable wastes of life!" And my question, "Sifu. How can you call people that? They have family. Friends. Loved ones. I can't decide whether anyone lives or dies. Not me. It isn't right." And his answer, "Pupil. One must do what is best for the good of mankind. Even if that means changing who you are. And changing the state of others. Remember. They aren't gone. They just aren't here." At this point I look down and the dream ends.
Life for me. Death for others. No one questions my decisions. At least, they shouldn't. But. Some do. Some do. Some even challenge me. Pathetic some of the challenges I get! Do they even try? Do they even want to defeat me? Me? The king? All my opinions of these so called "challengers" developed into anew when a mere child looked upon me with wonder. She to had come to challenge me, her parents right behind her pulling her back. They didn't want her to meet the same fate as the other challengers. What parent would? Having taken care of the parents in such a matter that was necessary but silencing in which the little girl could speak her mind freely without the restriction of parents for a good while, she finally approached me after I told her that her parents would get up again (which was, after all, the truth). Her words were small, just as her life, as well as her voice was, but they held a meaning. She simply asked, "Why must you be the king? Why can't people do what they think is right? [But the most alarming and meaningful two questions she asked me were.] Why are you so evil? Who taught you to be evil?" At this, I felt surprised. An emotion which I had not felt in years. I shouted now, shouting, "EVIL? ME? I AM NOT EVIL! I AM OfHE WAS NOT EVIL! HE Wa I trailed off and stared at her. I started to cry as I saw myself in the reflection of her unwavering and brave eyes. I looked at the black cloak I had dawned. I looked at the darkness that had shrouded me. I Looked At My Eyes My eyes. My eyes, now that I thought of it, had become like his. That night I had the dream again. The dream of me conversing with him. The same as it always is.
I still remember his words in my atypical, yet frequent dream, "You shall be judge jury and executioner of these miserable wastes of life!" And my question, "Sifu. How can you call people that? They have family. Friends. Loved ones. I can't decide whether anyone lives or dies. Not me. It isn't right." And his answer, "Pupil. One must do what is best for the good of mankind. Even if that means changing who you are. And changing the state of others. Remember. They aren't gone. They just aren't here." At this point I look up. I see his face. His horns. His goatee. His red, ugly face. His eyes
I woke up. Not as king anymore, but as an old man. An old man who has carried the burden of his foolish and stupid sin. His great sin. He has atoned for much. Asked for forgiveness from the only one who can grant it so many times. He has used the life and power he gained through the years for good. Only his power is different than it was before. It doesn't have the same feel. The same vibe. It is different. It is sorry. It is good. The old man, is good.
"Hi there." He said in that caring and compassionate voice of his. I had no idea who he was or how he had gotten into my room so late at night, but at in my condition, I would have believed him if he told me he was The King himself! Half angry and half curious I question him, "Did you follow me all the way here or what?" "Yes I did." "What for?" "You're an interesting and kind fellow. Those words we shared back at the coffee shop really moved me." "You're not gay or anything are you?" "Do not be absurd. I simply want to get to know you better and develop your kindness. Friend of the Lord." "Whatever. Just. Please. I am extremely tired and am in desperate need of some sleep. So, please, if on your way out if you could find the decency to lock up I would greatly appreciate it. Fellow friend of the Lord." "Shall I come back here tomorrow?" "Actually, come back in a week." "One week. You can be sure I'll be here."