Chapter Forty One
“I'm on it, kiss me for inspiration.”
She does, I am thoroughly inspired and come down from the loft just as Amaya comes in the door. She is sweat soaked.
“Lacy tried to kill me. Go over there right now and assassinate her.”
“Geez, you are drenched, you want water?”
“Two bottles, I drank one at Lacy's, but that was an hour ago.”
Janah, “Get out of the leotard I have whites to wash,”
She pulls it off, hands it to Janah, “Daphne, a bath.”
Janah, “Daphne is preparing to meet our nutritional needs, however, I think giving you a bath will be relaxing. Drink your water and let me get the washer started.”
Amaya, “Janah is too kind.”
“Janah likes being hands on your perfectitudes.”
“A woman of uncommon good sense, you may kiss me.”
I do. Janah rounds the corner from the laundry room, “Let's get bubbled, you look well worked out, muscles in legs and calves are nicely rounded.”
Amaya and Janah head to her room, “They ought to be, Lacy and I went berserk. Lacy said she may not be able to move for a day or so.”
“She'll pop out of bed tomorrow like nothing happened, she's been doing ballet and dance forever. You guys do this twice a week, and you always complain you'll never be able to walk again.”
“It's part of the process, complaining is the cool down.”
Janah turns on the tap in the Jacuzzi and I lose track of the conversation. I have dinner to think up. Zi and Nikko come out of the bedroom, Nikko is Nikko, Zi has an idiot girl expression of total delirium. She's carrying the sheets.
“Janah's doing whites, pinks will have to wait.”
Zi, “No problem. We changed them after we showered, tonight is lavender. Janah likes the lavender, I like the pink, if Nikko cares nobody knows.”
Nikko, “Nishiko cares what's on the sheets.”
Zi and I laugh, Nikko comes to me and I get a lovely tight nude girl and her tasty tongue in my mouth, followed by a long lick up my neck, her hands roam under my shirt. She turns and goes to get a top, we don't do bottoms when it's just us. Zi steps up and repeats Nikko's tenderness, this is a good day for Daphne. Zi and I are still making out when Nikko returns.
Nikko sits and I bring her a cup of tea, steal another quick kiss and put my nose in her shimmery black hair, it smells of orchid, I inhale her, pull her hair back and lick her ear, “You will punish me tomorrow?”
“Yes, it is my duty. Right now I am feeling hopelessly tender towards you. I'll have to work up to it.”
She looks at me while I dive into the black eyes and swim for a while.
“I suppose I'd better get started or we'll starve to death while I get lost in you.”
Nikko's fingers drift up my leg, I reluctantly move to the refrigerator, “Zi have fun?”
Nikko, “She appeared to be pleased.”
“When she came out just now, she appeared to be far away.”
“She is incredibly responsive, like you. It is impossible not to get caught up in her enthusiasm. She has also learned Nikko's preferences, doesn't neglect any. I'm glad I don't have to pick one girl, everyone brings things just different enough to make each a treasure.”
Zi, “When you and Nishiko mental about lovemaking, there is fire and ice.”
Nikko gets a slight grin, “And with you?”
“When you are with me, it is delicate rose, I feel like a flower enjoying a gentle breeze and moist dew. Daphne is a foamy sea of whitecaps on a dark green ocean of lust.”
“Nikko surprises me again. She is generally, um, demanding.”
“With Janah, not so much with me.”
I have fresh fish, au gratin potatoes, warm spinach salad with grilled tofu, four bean salad to give Janah variety. I warm a round sourdough loaf, soft butter on the table. I get everyone served and sit between Amaya and Zi. We eat pretty much in silence, we hadn't had lunch, everyone is hungry. The proof is in a table free of food after an hour.
“Well, it simplifies cleanup, no leftovers,” Janah is scraping the last chunk of potato onto her plate and hands me the empty dish.
Amaya’s phone chirps, the fifth text of the day from Violet Princess, 'Pooped, did two tea ceremonies after getting whacked around by Hanshi.'
She replies, 'miss you totally so glad only two days now.'
Chloe, 'making Miso soup and tempura, so hungry got to go XXXXOOOO,'
Zi, “Chloe is in your heart always. You are all snowy violet. She will smile when I text her. She always likes knowing what your aura is when you think of her.”
Amaya, “I thought it was always snowy violet.”
Zi smiles mischievously, “Not all the time.”
“That, you will have to ask her.”
I ask Zi, “And Amaya.”
Zi, “You two are pink, stripes of blood red.”
“Feels about right.”
Janah, “Everyone is an open book around here.”
“Is that not how it is supposed to me, Master J?”
“Everything is always how it is supposed to be.”
Chapter Forty Two
Amaya and I are showering, she asks, “What's the menu today?”
“Fighting Zi and Nikko”
Amaya, “Full contact, all out?”
“Then I will be still and prepare.”
She means qi-up for my recovery. She tolerates our beatings because she knows they keep us hard core for the times we work, refocusing, taking out abusers, other antisocial vermin. And Shadows. It’s for the family's safety as well, Amaya is not a martial artist, nor is she violent. I doubt she would cringe if the situation demanded, she did once smash a Shadow into a concrete wall with the rear end of an SUV.
In order to have the day to recover, we go at it after a light breakfast and an hour of tai chi forms.
I fight Zi first, full combat mode, which means not only gung fu, rather street style. No protective gear, it’s unlikely a punk will allow us to put on headgear and chest protectors before they attack. Our only concession is to good mouthpieces, teeth are a pain to have to replace with implants. Obviously, we don't throat strike, or gouge eyes or any of the down and dirty, we save that for the real deal.
Zi comes in cautiously, she knows my speed, I take a few kicks first, front to the abdomen, roundhouse to the ribs, she tries an ax kick, which is leg straight up and down to a collarbone. I'm not much on this technique, no matter how fast you are, the opponent has to be inattentive or slow not to avoid it.
I wait until her right leg is almost vertical to the ceiling, as she starts down, I up block with my forearm and sweep her left foot out from under her, thump! to the mat. Our workout room is covered wall to wall with a two inch interlocking martial arts mat; we throw a lot and a cracked elbow or knee is not so simple to fix with liniment and qi.
She shakes her head, “I'm going to give up that kick, it never hits anything.”
“It works on the unskilled, particularly if you have them slowed down from a previous strike.”
She leaps at me, drives her shoulder into my gut, I fold in, roll backwards and send her sailing over me. Thump Two! I turn to face her, only to find she landed on her feet, I should have known, the thump wasn't loud enough. I get a high kick to the jaw for my inattention, and a trip of my own flat to the mat. I circle my jaw around to see if it still functions.
Nikko, “For someone who doesn’t age you are getting old and slow.”
“Thanks for the encouragement.”
Zi leaps, tries to smother me while I'm on the floor, I roll and she hits face first. I roll on top of her, get one arm underneath hers and lock it, my left arm is around her throat, she taps out, we stand and bow.
As I rise from the bow, Nikko gives me a sharp roundhouse to the gut, when I fold over, she sidekicks me with the same leg, I feel a nice set of purple ribs developing while I fall to the floor. I see her foot aiming underneath my chin, I roll backwards and spring up, way up and smash her abdomen with a flying front kick.
She's on her back, black eyes staring, “Maybe not so old after all.”
I let her get up, we dance back and forth, swapping kicks, she punches me in the jaw, same place Zi kicked me, ouch! Then she mercilessly slams a fist in my abdomen, ooofff! I backhand her to the cheek to get her distracted and launch a front kick to her chest, send her sprawling.
Zi is on my back, her arm around my throat, so this is how it is, two insane opponents, one insane me.
Amaya and Janah are on one side of the room, sitting cross legged, watching the mayhem. They do not encourage, this isn't the UFC, not entertainment. Those guys are tough as railroad spikes, and they know a myriad of locks, holds and escape techniques. Skilled fighters. Even with my ultra-speed and owl claws, I'd have my hands full in a ring with rules, find myself only too happy to tap out. The street doesn’t have rules, my fist in a throat, a finger in an eye, are more effective than an arm bar.
I get my chin low, Zi can't get a proper strangle hold, Nikko bashes the side of my head with her knuckles. I fill Nikko's gut with my knee, bring the same leg down hard on Zi's foot. I feel her gasp, her grip slackens and I send my elbow into her ribs. She falls away, Nikko doesn't, another shot to the gut, and an elbow across my cheek. I feel blood in my mouth.
I back away, staggering, Nikko comes with a kicking assault I mostly block or dodge. I get a clean shot at her upper thigh, the pressure point on the outside, her leg folds under her and she's down on one knee trying to rub feeling back into it. Zi stands and comes, feet and fists flying, I take the blows mostly on the outside of my legs and arms. I wonder if she plans on getting tired soon. She doesn't seem to, so I split her lip and bounce back a few feet.
Nikko is up, pure evil in her eye, Zi charges, I decide enough is too much. I move towards Zi, not away, smash right into her, grab her dobok by the neck and the waistband, use my owl claws to send her flying into the advancing Nishiko. They land in a heap, Zi on her back on top on Nikko. They are cooked, so am I. I sink to my knees and work on breathing, sweat pouring from my battered face.
Amaya and Janah are there with wet towels and cold Evian. When we can stand, we’re stripped and lay around the mat slathered in liniment and gel packs.
Janah, “Not too bad, bruises, couple of cuts, Nikko and Daphne would share black eyes but I think we can get them to stop at rose tint. She holds a hand over Nikko's eye, Amaya one over mine. It’s cold, I feel the flow of energy. She puts two fingers from her other hand inside my mouth and rests them on the cut. We lay still for half an hour for the first wave of treatment, then another half hour swapping gel packs on tortured ribs and bruised legs. Amaya uses hot hands on my tight abdomen, loosening battered muscles.
After a break, Janah decides to go another hour, then we’re in hot showers and defrost. I'm feeling pretty good, Nikko and Zi are mobile, not bad after such brutalization. Our healers are most proficient.
Janah, “Another round late this afternoon, good night's rest and you should be presentable tomorrow.”
We eat lunch light, fruit, yogurt, Amaya to Chapmans for a fashion class, Janah is reading. The three warriors take a nap, me in Amaya's bed, Nikko and Zi in Janah's. I sleep for two hours, when I get up I’m stiff but not crippled. It's time to round up Chloe, Angelo is downstairs and soon I'm visiting with Hanshi and Ari over Chloe's tea.
Chloe, “I see you've been battling again. Hanshi's knocked me silly for two days, no blood though, and no rosy eye.”
Ari, “You and Nishiko are too rough, maybe settle down.”
“Zi is in the mix too, they think it's fun to gang up on me.”
Hanshi, “A few bruises won't kill you. I know you are keeping up sword practice, it shows in my student's work. She is making some small progress.”
For Hanshi, that means she's practically a master. Okay, I exaggerate, but he's not free with anything resembling compliments. If you need your self esteem massaged, a kendo master is not for you. Try one of those little kid soccer leagues, you get a trophy for showing up.
Ari, “We are most grateful for the loan. We are making preparations, the store will be hard work, still, good to build a business. It keeps us young.”
“We have been fortunate and to share our fortune with our family is our duty. You gave us Nishiko, a treasure, kendo, magnificent katana, a geisha and a geisha in training. It is we who are grateful.”
Nikko insisted the money be offered as a loan, to allow for face saving. They had given us many gifts, we give them one. But talking about it in terms of money is not dignified. There is no contract of any kind. Nikko simply couched it in terms of a loan and said she would work out repayment later. Later will never come. Everyone understands, all proprieties are met.
We do our ritual bows, Chloe hugs Ari, jumps into Hanshi's arms and hugs him. He is resigned to his inability to remain aloof with her. He has no trouble with me however.
His parting shot, “I made you kendo master, but I see from your face you are still inattentive. Be diligent about your weaknesses.”
I bow, “Yes, Hanshi. Your daughter continuously instructs my incompetent self. I am grateful for her endless patience.”
Chapter Forty Three
Chloe is in high energy chat with Angelo, she likes hearing about who he drove around, a few actors and actresses use the service regularly, the town car business has expanded to ten cars and they stay busy. We have our Escalade exclusively now, Susan and Taylor use it, Lacy sometimes, we cover the insurance and pay the driver. Susan loves it, she sometimes has to go to a client, skips hailing taxis or riding the subway. Amaya uses it on her consulting shopping trips, the clients like being picked up at their door and chauffeured around, no parking to mess with, a driver to help with packages. We get a car on call twenty four seven and don't have to clean, park or maintain it.
We arrive, Chloe bounces out waves at Angelo, he says, “You get taller every week, but you don't put on no weight. When you came out to our place, my wife took a look, said she's gonna start sending some pasta over to fatten you up.”
Chloe, “I eat a lot Mr. Angelo, I really do, it doesn't stick. But if she wants me to come eat her cooking again, let me know, it was super.”
“I'm gonna tell her you said so. She's gonna be real happy, maybe she won't yell at me so much.”
Chloe giggles, “I don't know how you can tell. In your family, everything happens at high volume.”
“That's Italian style. Everybody gotta talk at once to three different people.”
“Give them a hug for me, thanks for the ride Mr. Angelo.”
Chloe heads into Chapmans, I hear her chattering away with the Paladin Security people.
I'm gathering up her things, overnight bag stuffed with jeans and cosmetics, Angelo says, “Miss Daphne, that kid is as tall as you. What's she now, thirteen fourteen?'
“Fifteen a month ago.”
“Man, it seems like she was twelve last week. We all get older, except your tribe. What kinna vitamins you take, I gotta get some.”
“Shaolin secrets, if I tell you they kill me.”
Angelo laughs, “You take good care now Miss Daphne, I'll see you next week.”
“Oh, Angelo, tell the guys that we are out of town all of July, no car for us. We need to get to the airport and back, I'll make arrangements soon, I don't have flight times with me.”
“You got business?”
“Nope, we got vacation. Going to Canada and disappear. I’ll also leave a number to call, any problems.”
“Got it, have a nice week Miss Daphne.”
I shut the door and collect Chloe, up the elevator to the apartment.
Chloe screeches, “Amaya!” Leaps into her outstretched arms, gets her required kisses, makes the rounds of the others.
“This is great, can I go back downstairs and come in again?”
“You get too much attention already, Freckles.”
Chloe ignores Amaya, busy examining Nikko and Zi, “Such fearless women. I am the most secure girl on Earth. Which is only right, considering my status.”
She is peering into Nikko's still purple eye, she kisses it very softly, a feather against the skin.
Amaya, “What status?”
Chloe looks at Nikko, “I hear a whine, is something broken?”
Nikko, “Amaya had to take care of Daphne after our practice, then was out giving rich women her ridiculously expensive advice. She hasn't had Daphne following her around catering to her every whim since last night.”
“That explains it.”
Amaya, “It is almost past our tea time because of Chloe's fooling around. Daphne, I shall make her presentable, you may fix our snack.”
I head to the kitchen to obey her non-request, Chloe and Amaya to Chloe's room. Amaya undresses her, lays the clothes and her overnight on the bed for me to deal with. Chloe takes a quick shower and is swallowed up in a terrycloth robe, her hair still damp wrapped in a towel.
“I will dry your hair after tea.”
Chloe smiles, blinks the gorgeous violets, gives Amaya a long kiss, “You always taste sweet on my tongue,” they kiss again.
“We don't do birthdays around here, you know I made fifteen last month.”
“Would you make me not a virgin?”
Amaya, strokes her cheek, “It will be an honor.”
Chloe squeezes herself, “I want you to be first.”
“You plan on making the rounds?”
Chloe smiles softly, “Maybe Daphne, but later. That's as far as my circle extends. If something else happens in the future, it happens. Right now, I have no intimacy feeling for anyone else.”
Amaya, “You getting this?”
“Yes, how beautiful, she has chosen well. Obviously she knows how you feel, she never would have brought it up otherwise.”
“Why do I feel as if I have been anointed?”
“Because you were.”
“And I know you know, this is far more than just playing in the shower and sleeping naked. She is entrusting you with her initiation into womanhood.”
“I think she just wants the hottest honey in all the land.”
“She's not blind.”
Our mental conversation takes less than a second, Chloe is still smiling at her, “You are all royal blue. I hope I measure up.”
Amaya, “With me as your guide? Do not be ridiculous.”
Chloe giggles, “Whew, I'm glad that's settled, I was kind of nervous.”
“Dearest, you cannot make a mistake here.”
They join us at the table, I've clued in Nikko and Janah, not that it's anyone's business, just to prep them on sleeping arrangements for the night, perhaps the immediate future. Chloe may be a bit clingy with Amaya for a time, may be less available to us. It would almost be a surprise otherwise. Zi will see at a glance, no reason to say anything to her.
I call Ning and ask her to put dinner in a taxi. Three of us are recovering, one of whom is the chef, and we’re always in the mood for Ning's silken spicy garlic sauce.
The evening passes, Chloe and Amaya slip off to Chloe's room. I don't get in Amaya's head, this is for them, not me.
Amaya, “I do not mind, and I do not think Chloe would. She likes to be watched when she does herself.”
“So do I, not this, though. I am going to occupy myself recovering, I can qi myself, Janah’s going to work on Nikko and Zi, then we’re going to crash. Be entirely for Chloe.”
“Goodnight then, heal quickly, I need your body back to its normal state of unmarked succulence.”
How things went was self explanatory. For the next month, and I was so wrong, I predicted Chloe might get clingy, instead Amaya trails around after Chloe like her shadow. I still slave for Amaya, but she takes over the things I did for Chloe. It isn't exactly like Amaya and me. Amaya gives me orders, doesn't ask, doesn't say please or thank you. We like it that way, playing our mistress-servant role.
Chloe is politeness plus, 'Amaya, I would like a Coke, please,' and 'thank you,' when she brings it. 'Amaya, would you do my nails, please? Amaya, I would love for you to kiss me,' the tone is entirely different, which works for them. Amaya never says 'no,' takes care of Chloe's stuff, keeps her room immaculate as always. When Chloe goes to the Murakami's, Amaya rides along, and is there to pick her up, a dozen texts every day in between with lots of Xs and Os.
That first month, they sleep together every night, I get Amaya the Tuesday nights Chloe is gone. It isn't all sacrifice, Janah, Nikko and Zi rotate with me the rest of the time. We are touched by the two girls' tenderness with each other.
A couple of days before our Canada trip, Chloe comes to me as she is getting ready for bed, “Will you sleep with us tonight? I miss being wrapped up between both of you. I suppose I'm greedy.”
“Asking for what you want is how you get it. The only thing you are doing is taking care of yourself, and I am pleased that you are also sensitive to me. I’m greedy to hold you. You’re not being greedy, you’re being thoughtful.”
Chloe smiles, she is truly considerate, an admirable trait. My feelings aren't hurt in the least, I know she really does like us both around her at night. When she was younger, I would put her to bed only to find her squeezing in between Amaya and me in the middle of the night.
It’s clear she'd gotten a hormone blast, has grown a couple of inches, a half inch taller than Nikko and I. Her hips are not wide, but they’re there, and her tush rounded out. Like the rest of us, she’s never going to have breasts bigger than a large apple. Janah is a double apple, twice any of us, hardly 'rack' category.
It’s a lovely night, no sexual intimacy, that isn't what this is about. We sleep in the silent stillness of secure children.
In the morning, I put a pile of scrambled eggs out, with cheese grits, biscuits and a stack of crispy bacon. Refill my coffee and watch my girls eat, nothing more gratifying to the cook than healthy appetites. I'd nibbled on bacon and eaten a spoon of egg. another of grits, so I wash my cast iron pans and pots, inherited from Miss Alva almost twenty years ago. They are amazing, she had them fifty years, they are as good today as when she cooked for Sis and me. I have wonderful Cruset pots, pans, Dutch ovens, and they are remarkable for even heat distribution and cleaning is a snap with the smooth enamel surfaces. When I'm feeling more down home, out comes the cast iron, they never let me down.
Chapter Forty Four
Janah, “Is everyone organized for Canada, we leave early tomorrow, Angelo will be here at seven.”
“The girls are, I have a few things to pack, I'll deal with toiletries and cosmetics early tomorrow.”
We're going to be gone a month, Nikko insures everything is in order. She has the tenants set to relocate when we return, then Fong's closes for a month of remodeling and expansion. She shopped leases, then found a building to buy on the upper west side. Ari wants a location close to her home, she's going to be putting in long hours. We own the property, they will pay a nominal rent so it doesn’t look like a gift. There are four floors, the bottom floor will become the Japanese market, the upper floors need to be gutted and rebuilt.
“Have you decided what to do with the additional space?”
Nikko, “Yes, New York is always short of reasonably priced apartments. I’m going with that. One and two bedroom, nothing elaborate but well constructed, roomy bathrooms, kitchens, hardwood floors. With the rents I plan to charge, we’ll be pre-leased in no time. First we build out the market, don’t need much remodeling on that floor. I’ll gut the rest while the work is going on downstairs, by the time she opens, there will be interior work and it won’t interfere with market operations.”
Nikko, “No, except for delivery trucks. There’s a basement I’m leaving empty, she can use it for storage. If the market is successful, she may want to expand, the basement will become a lower floor for the market. If not, I can convert it to parking later.”
It's a small details day, otherwise, Janah and I go to the temple. She goes over the upcoming test with Master Kahn, I sit in. Monica tested two weeks ago, Janah and I at the temple the day before with Master Kahn. I called Monica in, she bowed, knelt.
Janah asked the question, “Disciple Madison, in what do you take refuge?”
Monica, “I take refuge in the Buddha, I take refuge in the teachings, I take refuge in the Order, I take refuge in myself.”
Janah, “Then, it is time for you to leave.”
Monica is still as a statue, a kneeling one. She stares for a bit, absorbing the message of Janah's question. That night, at the close of evening meditation, the monks wait for a few words from their Abbess, instead Janah says, “Disciple Madison, please stand.”
The monks were silent, it’s a magical moment in Shaolin, when a disciple of Monica's long standing is called on, it can only mean one thing.
Monica stood, Janah asked, “Disciple Madison, what do you vow?”
Monica repeated the vows I took so long ago.
“To all the monks of Shaolin, I freely and willingly make the following promises in recognition of my responsibilities to the Buddha, my teachers, fellow monks, and sentient beings.
First, that I respect and honor all life. I shall neither take from nor injure any being except for food, in defense of my person, or the defense of another innocent sentient being. No act of the taking of life for any other reason, whether for ritual sacrifice or for secular purposes, shall I condone. In Buddha’s name I take this vow.
Second, I shall dedicate my life first to my spiritual development, for I know that only I have the power to change myself. If I cannot achieve a spiritual union with my Buddha-self, I shall be unable to guide other beings to their Buddha-selves.
Third, I recognize that whatever human rights get exercised in the world are granted by people and governments in power. I shall oppose any restrictions that block a sentient being, myself included, from walking the path towards enlightenment.
Fourth, I shall be a warrior only against the forces of ignorance, by learning, teaching, and compassionately interacting with other sentient beings. In this one domain I shall act in a way that may shape society.
Fifth, I shall at all times hold the principals of compassion, mercy, wisdom and kindness as the greatest treasures that a sentient being may bestow, and bestow them with frequency.
Sixth, I honor the secret teachings of the Temple and Order of Shaolin, and shall neither demonstrate nor divulge such teachings except in manners prescribed by the Order’s Grandmasters.
Seventh, I vow to always strive for the highest levels of physical, mental and spiritual control to which my faculties may reach. To this end I shall refrain from the taking of intoxicants, medications, or any other substances that would alter my personal control of my body and mind.
Eighth, I vow to follow the Dharma to the best of my abilities, hold to my beliefs and ideals in the face of adversity, and to do that which I believe is correct and just regardless of consequences. I will share the teachings by living them every day.
I acknowledge that the secrets of the Temple and Order of Shaolin are sacrosanct because of their power and potential for corruption. Therefore, I act as a guardian to these teachings, revealing only those that I am permitted by the Grandmasters and tradition to share. Should I violate these vows; by unauthorized teaching, by joining a force intent on violating any of these vows, or by revealing the names of my fellows, students, or Masters without their permission, I agree that I shall be removed, by death if necessary, from the Temple and Order of Shaolin Ch’an for all time. *
Her test went well, we train for a zillion hours prior to being allowed to take vows. This is something earned, not a given, regardless of time in the Order. She'd passed the gauntlet, with a few bruises, a cut cheek and a fractured tibia. She managed to limp to the urn of glowing coals, see six of us in a crescent around it, the sleeves of our robes pushed back revealing our brands, tiger left, dragon right. She steeled her mind, place her forearms against the near white hot glowing outline of tiger and dragon and branded herself by moving the heavy urn two steps to a different pedestal. Trust me, it is a grueling moment, followed by intense after burn on tender inner forearms. Janah and David Li treated her, got her shin wrapped, and she was driven that same day to her parents’ home.
Today, we are in discussion about Disciple Huang. No discussion of whether, that decision was made, just when. Kahn suggests the week we return, that settled, Janah discusses minor administrative matters and we go home. I hear singing when we hit Chapmans lobby. Chloe and Amaya are in the music room, in kimonos, entertaining Lacy, a small group of students typically around during the summer. They alternate verses, Amaya plucks the shamisen. They finish to enthusiastic applause and 'bravos.'
One girls says, “Encore,' the rest take it up. Amaya plays the flute while Chloe dances, fan snap open flutters, shuts, she is delicate as a feather being drafted up and down in a breeze. Another round of applause, they bow and are surrounded by a dozen girls, two teachers and Lacy.
Lacy spots us, comes over, “What a wonderful interlude in the day! We've been treated to almost an hour of song and dance, they are remarkable.”
We are in robes, as girls begin to leave, they stop to ask a million questions as Chapmans girls are prone to do. Teachers are generally mentally wiped at the end of the day. They tell Lacy they thought teachers asked questions and students answered until they came to teach at Chapmans. Here it’s the other way around.
*(Reprinted with permission from The Shaolin Grandmaster’s Text, Order of Shaolin Ch’an, 2004, www.shaolintemple.org)