By Nick Twemlow
Master did not say good morning how are you feeling Master said clean up my mess I clogged the crapper. Master turns my music off while I am cleaning his crap which has overflowed now onto the floor and I am kneeling in it the sticky water has soaked through my gi pants. I am too tired this morning to ask Master to please turn the music back on.
Who would I be Master would ask me to think to ask Master anything not designed to facilitate actions purely functional and directly that is visibly beneficial to the dojo and secretly I think to Master himself. For a while I fiddle around the hippy curves of the drain in the toilet my fingers feel like raisins at this point and I can not find the thing Master insists is clogging the toilet, something he ate last night before his extended nap. Master never really sleeps he just naps for an hour or two throughout the day and when he awakes from these foggy delights as he sometimes calls them he blooms like a flower right before you his eyes prick open his fingers uncurl like so many red carpets rolling toward an emperor’s feet his squashed fetal body seems to lift itself all at once back into this world and for one moment everything seems to have the clarity and freshness of dawn.
The smell of the dojo has become the smell from the toilet Master says I must stay here all day and think of ways to fix it while he runs his errands. Fix it and I will come back with a armful of more to fix Master says and he is gone as he is always going like river silt there is something ancient about Master and the way he makes an exit he just flits away down the river a vessel of the water. I know that Master wants me to think about his manner of exiting whenever he leaves me at a task and goes out to run his errands that is the real purpose of his leaving to draw attention to this spectacle of exeunt he has perfected across he will have me believe centuries. I have adopted this stance because I have no other way to stand. My arm still fishes for the thing that has lodged itself in the semi-permeable membrane of my imagination so that it stands at a threshold and considers its own case for making a crossing. My face planted in roughly an inch and a half of filth-water at the base of the toilet as I muse on what Master ate that has lost itself here. I do not want to share my musings but for this: I am sure whatever it is it is irretrievable and that that is what Master is counting on will keep me stuck to the floor all day.
Master has come back and barks to me that he will require my services shortly. I have not moved for hours I think though I haven’t a watch on and have persisted today in measuring time in inches of water. Come here Master says in such a charming lilt I have but seconds to get to my feet and make my way to his office. I am sopping with crap and water and have left a trail of such mixture across the dojo carpet. Of course I will be cleaning that tomorrow. Master tells me to assume the position and with no trepidation I do so. Nose to the floor I have spread my arms two feet apart in front of my head my fingers splayed and the tips pressed heavily against the floor my body straight and elegant the line down to my toes which also press against the floor. Master says go and I begin to push up my body and then hold on my finger and toe tips until Master finishes saying the following: Today’s Lesson: Thank you IBM. I am, I am Superman. Where do you want to go today? Master swings that last one, perches that last syllable on a cliff he says I am always to be standing on the edge of staring out into that abyss he calls my Tool. Visualize today’s lessons swimming in that abyss; dart and duck. Now go and cogitate.
Master puts his music on and acts as if he doesn’t see me anymore. For the remainder of the day this is how he acts toward me, or rather doesn’t act. I am to go back to my task at hand, the toilet today, and cogitate on my lessons. Master will read or sing the rest of the day. I imagine he will come to use the toilet at some point and I will have to act as if he isn’t there even though Master takes a long time to crap and he makes a great show of it.
Thank you IBM. I am, I am Superman. Where do you want to go today? Thank you IBM. Thank you. IBM. Mission incomplete: Who is the Master here? I am grateful, O Lord, for all you have given me. The incongruent messages you supply me with. I am the cube, Master will hear this one, I am the cube and these are too easy for me. I want to go nowhere today but that I cannot say to Master. The question intuits its own answer. No. Here is where I want to go. Uh-uh. I am the Cube, now say it out loud, I am the Cube, Master! I am the Cube, thank you Master, I am the Cube and nowhere I want to go today!
I hear Master close his office door. He mutters as he does so and I think that will be the last I am to hear from him today. It is just as well; the tournament is so early tomorrow and this toilet still clogged leaves me no foreseeable break to sleep. I am tired. I feel something jagged down there. It won’t give.