Four people encircled him as he stood focusing on their every movement, paying acute attention to the sound of their white cotton ghi’s as their movement came closer from all directions.
Suddenly one assailant sprang forward, his arm reaching out to grab the black sleeve of the encircled man.
In a quick motion he shifted to the side, grasping the wrist of his assailant and pulling hard in the same direction of his movement, letting inertia do the rest of the work for him. As he guided him to the ground a second and third student came forward with great speed. He spun quickly, locking his arm underneath the shoulder of the nearest one and crouching down as he pulled him over, launching him into the air for a short moment to come crashing down onto the bamboo matt. As he turned again to face the third student he noticed that he seemed pleased to see his sensei already in a low position. The sensei quickly slapped away at the students prying hands and grabbed hold of his ghi at the collar, rolling hindward on to his back, his foot firmly placed on the students hip as he kicked him into the air. Quickly he returned to his feet with the rest of the momentum. “Come on Ailesha, your turn.” He said to the last student who stood there somewhat stunned at the quickness of the ordeal.
Her face was oval and smooth, she peered at him with brilliant green eyes, and her brow furrowed as she mustered the courage to go ahead. She ran toward him, slapping away his first attempt at grabbing a hold of her sleeve. She quickly wrapped an arm around his shoulder, and slid behind his frame. She kicked out one knee yet as he fell she was plucked from the ground, rotating over his shoulder and sent flying into the matt.
The sensei rose to his feet. “Good job guys, very well done.”
“What do you mean well done?” Said one of the three men on the matt. “We’re all on our asses.”
“Yes, true, but you actually made me think a little harder this time.” Replied the sensei. “Look, you guys are doing really well. All of you are great nage’s with the other students, but I see that there are some aspects of the art that you haven’t yet received, that’s why I’m having these extra sessions with you guys.”
Another trainee stood up “We weren’t all trained from birth by some Japanese master Steve. Don’t expect us to get it the way you do.”
“That’s absurd. First of all I was five when my dad met the guy, and he wasn’t a master.”
Ailesha lay on her back still. “I think the funniest part is that you’re atheist and you’re teaching Aikido.”
Steve knelt down, peering at her from above. “Just because I don’t believe in Ki doesn’t mean I can’t grasp the concept of the skill little lady.” He got up again. “Alright, I want Ailesha with Stan, Mark with Andrew. Andrew and Ailesha, you’re the uke’s, get to it.”
The evening sun dropped beneath the horizon as the pink sky began its shift into red. The grunts of the students could be heard through the windows of the dojo throughout the twilight.
A few hours later they were all changed and putting their shoes on at the doorway of the dojo. Andrew turned about from the bottom of the stairs. “Hey Stan, you wanna go for a beer? I owe you one for that hip toss.”
“Yeah sounds good to me, Ailesha, you coming?”
She turned to the two of them as they gathered at the bottom of the stairs. “No that’s alright, I’m expected somewhere else, but thanks for the offer. I hope you two have a good time.”
“Yeah, talk to you later.” Stan said, jogging a bit to catch up to Andrew as he made his way to the car.
“ Well, I’m out. See you next week Steve” Said Mark.
“Sure thing, be careful on that crotch rocket, I swear I’ve seen more people get mutilated on one of those than any other mode of transportation.”
“You're full of shit, you love the speed when I give you rides.”
Ailesha laughed, “He's such a hypocrite isn't he?” she said to Mark while he started the bike and gave them a salute goodbye.
She turned to Steve, “So it’s just us now.”
“I want to watch a movie.”
“Sounds good, my place or yours?”
Steve smiled and took her by the hand. They made their way to her car and were off within minutes.
The alarm blared at him as he groggily swapped at it, his face buried in the pillow. Finally his hand smacked it and it fell from the night stand, crashing onto the tiles.
“Great” He said, muffled into the pillow.
Suddenly there was a knock at the door that made him look up from the pillow into the mirror above the bed. Again the knocking came, so he quickly jumped to his feet and slipped into a pair of jeans that were laying on the ground from the day before. “Yes?” he said to the door as he made his way to it.
“Steve open up, It’s Mark.” came a voice from the other side.
“Oh, come in man, what’s up?”
The door opened and Mark made his way in hastily. “Have you seen the news man?” You gotta check this out.” He walked quickly through the living room, still in his leather biking gear. Flipping the television on he snatched the remote and sat down in a chair.
“I don’t think so Mojo.”
“Wha?” replied Mark.
“Out of the chair.”
“Oh, yeah sorry.”
“That’s my throne man, you don’t just slap your greasy leather wrapped ass on it.”
Mark laughed. “Don’t worry man, I’m clean.”
“I’m sure.” Replied Steve mockingly as he sat into the La-Z-boy. “And no, I haven’t seen the news, I don’t watch the news, it’s depressing. So what’s the fuss?”
Mark peered down at the remote, searching for the right button as he spoke. “Some crazy stuff happening overseas.” He said, looking up at the T.V. as he tried one more button.
Steve shook his head. “Give it here.” He said.
“Nah, it’s alright I’ll get it.”
“Yeah but I want to be living by the time you do.”
“Don’t worry about it, it’s under control.”
Steve stood up.
“Ok here you go.” Mark said, giving the remote over to him.
“Thank you.” Steve said as he sat back down and flipped a few channels. “Which channel?”
“Ugh, twenty three.”
In a moment the news was on.
*”.. As you can see below, the riots have become much greater since this morning. I’m here on the rooftop of the Harare International Airport in Zimbabwe. The citizens of Harare have been coming in all modes of transportation but since about three hours ago great mobs of people have been coming to the airport only on foot, which is about a ten kilometer walk from the city center. There is still no explanation for the riots, our translator is missing and so we can only get bits information from those bilingual citizens who are fortunately in great number. We’ve heard reports from the city that several of the road blocks that were erected this morning have been deserted by the local authorities for unexplained reasons. It is truly mass hysteria here. Hopefully we will have answers as the day goes on.” “That was John Fostworth -
“Holy shit did you see that?” Exclaimed mark. As he pointed to the tv.
Steve turned to him. “See what?”
“You have PVR right?”
“Rewind it to just before they cut his feed.”
Steve rewound to the moments before John Fostworth’s report finished and hit play.
“Right there!” Mark exclaimed again, getting up from the chair and pointing at the tv. “You missed it again. Put it in slow motion.
Steve rewound again and played it back in slow motion. From the corner of the camera’s field of view a man burst into the scene in the background from a rooftop doorway and frantically ran toward the lip of another section of the building which was about six feet high and began jumping to get up. Suddenly, only a few seconds before the shot returned to the anchorman, a series of figures bolted out of the doorway and toward the struggling man. He was ripped from his attempt at climbing the wall and pulled violently to the ground as more people poured forth from the doorway as small dark figures in the background of the shot.
“What was that?” Steve said, rewinding it again as he got out of his chair and got up close to the television just beside Mark. He played it over again.
“Oh my god.” He said lowly, as from this close he could distinctly make out that the figures were biting into the struggling man. “What the hell is going on?”
“I don’t know man, but it’s really freaking me out.”
“I’m so glad I’m Canadian.”
“Get back to the news.”
They both sat back down as Steve put the PVR back onto regular broadcasting.
*... ever was the reason for the crash still isn’t known” Said a reporter as she stood in a field somewhere in Britain, while the carcass of a jumbo jet smashed into hundreds of pieces lay ablaze behind her. “This is Samantha Kingsbury, CBC news England”. The screen switched back to Peter Mansbridge, “In other news...*
Steve shut the tv.
“Hey?” Baked Mark. “What gives?”
“I don’t watch the news, it’s depressing. Besides I have a busy day today, I have to go to the bank and get some stuff done there before heading to work. Did you bike here or did you take the car?”
“Think you can give me a ride?”
“Yeah sure, my extra helmet’s always around.”
“Alright, let me take a shower and we’ll get going.” Steve said as he got up. “And thanks.” he said. “For the ride and all.”
“No problem” Mark said as he unsuccessfully groped the remote control. “How the hell does this freaking thing work?”