The Sound of One Hand Slapping

Portrait of the Mastress, by Masterymistery
The Seeker asks the Mastress: “How may this humble supplicant who kneeleth before thee become enlightened? How doth One enjoin with the All, or is it predestinated forevermore to tread the cyclic wheel of existence, hamster-like, until the wrathful deities take pity on the crusading pilgrim's benighted soul?”

The Mastress — a nut-brown, gnarled and ancient guru of indeterminate gender and reproachable demeanour — respondeth imperturbably saying, “Ask the next six people you meet; perhaps you may find the answers you say you seek.”

“What the fricking flaming biscuit!” exclaimeth the Seeker, on hearing these mysterious words.

Loincloth wafting on a stealthy breeze, the Nut-brown maketh the smile of one lip curling. The visage of the guru wears a veil of inscrutability as profound as the deepest depths of inner space.

Dissatisfied and disgruntled, the Seeker taketh his leave of the Gnarly One and sets his footlings on the path that leadeth to the Inn of the Flowering Beetle, formerly The Queen’s Moustache. On the way he encountereth the first of six respondents — an aged washerwoman squatting phlegmatically in the shade of a cinnabar tree.

“How do you do, O Gentle Crone?” enquireth the Seeker courteously.

“Get lost asshole!” quoth the Crone, waxing wrathful, “or I’ll box thy poxy earhole in the blink of a newt’s eyelid!”

Dating back to the time of the ancient Greeks, the concept of the Dating back to the time of the ancient Greeks, the concept of the "humours" suggests there are four fundamental personality types, sanguine (optimistic and social), choleric (short-tempered or irritable), melancholic (analytical and quiet), and phlegmatic (relaxed and peaceful). Image: Woodcut by Johann Kaspar Lavater

Despondent as a mangy hound in a fleapit, the Seeker trudges once more the Hard Road of Disappointment. Short is the shrift he receiveth from one and all, that long and dusty day.

“Gadzooks and Botheration! Get thee hence, Knave!” spluttereth the second respondent.

“Get a life, Freak!”, uttereth the third.

“Turn left at Starbucks, Fool!” quoth the fourth, or I shall slap thy little pink seeker-cheeks incarnadine as the nappy-rash on a birth-strangled babe!”

The fifth is a cruel and disturbing lad named Ragnarok, who answers the Seeker’s enquiry with loathsome imprecations and a well-aimed stone.

Then, just as the Seeker is about to succumb-eth to blackest melancholia, uncannily encountereth he the Guru, as creased and corrugated as an old boot with no Botox.

“Mastress!” exclaimeth the Seeker delightedly, “It is thee! Or is it thou? The Sixth and Ultimate Respondent! How fitting that thou placeth theeself in this lowly seeker’s path! Or is it thyself? Blessed am I beyond reason! My humour is indeed good. Sanguine even! By the way, how do I become enlightened?”

Quoth the Nut-brown, wattled eyes twinkling gnarlily: “Get thee behind me, before the wind changes! Thou art that! Tat tvam Asi! The mighty Iswara is the in-dweller in every Jiva.”

“Oy vey!” bewilders the Seeker, “Come again, if thee will...”

But the Mastress has already cometh and is a goner, hast done a runner, and the Seeker is left with the sour taste of ashes in his petulant mouth.

Slowly, sadly, resignedly, he wonders towards nowhere, futilely attempting to make the sound of one hand clapping.

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