Chapter 1: The Disciple
He looked out at the restless sunrise in the midst of a sleeping home. He wondered who would yell at him for being up too early if he went down to find if his favorite show was on. This was his only chance to watch tv–Saturday morning when he had no lessons, homework or chores. Not that Saturday was all work. After meeting Sensei, he would see Jimmy. What new toy did his little friend have today?
Jimmy was a momma’s that wore name Johnny Joseph brand clothing that from his shirt to his socks. His shoes were always San Lamar casuals or the hottest sneakers. He didn’t wear sneakers much, especially for someone his age. Was that laughter? This early? Who else was up before 7 on a Saturday? Stacy was too young–not to laugh but to turn on the television from which he could now hear the sound of cartoons. Parker walked around the corner feeling eager but not completely revealing himself. He stood just shy of the edge of the hallway. On the brown leather couch tucked underneath a red and blue patchwork quilt was his mother and a little girl. She looked so different laughing. He had never seen her so engaged. She often seemed to be so dependent on Mommy that she never even looked towards the tv. What was this? He knew this feeling. He had become aware of it in practice. The thought he noted to himself: “she never sat up with me when I watched cartoons.” And she certainly never breakfast, or anything else, on their brown leather sofa. Granny certainly would not approve.
She would always be so exhausted on Friday nights. At least she claimed. He caught himself. It was a bit upsetting to see her smiling and relaxed on the couch with Stacey.
“What gives?” he thought.
It was ok. He would just go in his room and pretend to read. He had no idea which book. He would find one. And he would, by golly, really read this time and enjoy it. Maybe a joke book. He was not as self-aware as he had assumed. Who needs the “freaking” TV? Whatever. Parker, you’re 8 years old. She’s 2 1/2. You shouldn’t try to compete with her.
There it is. “Charlotte’s Web”. His older cousin Jill said he would enjoy it as she unloaded a dozen of her old books on him. None of them included any cool characters, but his dad said that these are the books you read if you wanted to be smart. He knew he was smart, but he still needed to read. Whatever.
The sun was shining bright. “How about I open the window just a tad,” he thought. Then he found the perfect position on the bed.
“A little background music.”
“Not so loud.”
“The air is a little too cold.”
The sun appeared much brighter through his small window.
“A little too much sunlight.”
Ok. Now he was settled.
“A lot of big words.”
“Should’ve gone to the bathroom.”
As he returned from the bathroom, his Uncle Nathan grabbed him and pulled him into the guest room. “Can you teach me some of that Karate stuff?”
His dad had said his uncle was strange and unpredictable, but he’d only be there for another 4 months.
Seemed as if that would be a very, very… very, very long time. Nathan was 24 years old and had dropped out of college. He always had a new plan for what to do with his life. Perhaps he should start with a good old fashioned job.
“I want to impress my lady friend. She is fiiiine. You’d like her. Maybe you can show me some of your moves. But I’m serious. I’d pay you.”
Parker liked the sound of that. There is something he had been wanting to buy for himself for a very long time.