The Hanshi of Central Park
by Stephen F Kaufman
I will be uploading much of this adult novel, chapter by chapter. When your appetite has been whetted, you can buy the complete book, autographed, DIRECTLY from me at hanshi.com. Here we start …
Introducing Hanshi David Mann
Hanshi is the highest rank attainable in the martial arts world. To receive this rank a man must be a very skilled and field-proven warrior, an exemplary teacher and a leader of men. However, that is not the only reason for the title, which can only be conferred by his peers. A Hanshi is a man of high personal honor who has devoted his life to his discipline and in his world he is the ultimate authority—a combination of Supreme Court Justice and five-star general.
But, he is also a person. He prefers anonymity unless something extraordinary brings him to the forefront where he must use his inordinate talents. He is generally assisted by specially trained people who see to his every personal need, called “hoshi” and he is protected by “kyoshi” warriors who are dedicated to him for life. If you insult, or bring harm to a hanshi, his warriors will address the matter in an appropriate fashion, but for the most part the Hanshi works unassisted.
Hanshi David Mann lives in New York City and is one of forty legitimate men of title in the world. All of them value his book, I, Musashi, as the definitive work on martialist philosophy and practice. They regard his dojo, the School of the Snake as one of the most difficult and exacting methods of martial arts study in the world. His peers and associates consider him one of the most skilled of their rank, and honor him as “ohanshi,” the supreme title given to a revered teacher.
His temperament and philosophy of life are based on over sixty years of living and five decades of martial study and practice. His quiet, Zen-like life is structured on non-structure. He teaches at his dojo, writes books and works out with some of his students every dawn in Central Park regardless of the weather.
One morning, Hanshi David Mann inadvertently becomes involved in a NYPD drug bust gone wrong and his life is forever changed.
Day doesn’t break in Manhattan, it happens, and this day started out no different. The sun began its ascent with a laborious effort slowly forcing its brilliance through a rain promised overcast sky eventually punching an orange reflection into the East River as it glided over Long Island City, working its way through the cross-town streets making 1st, 2nd, 3rd, all the way to 5th Avenue before its rays finally entered Central Park where it kaleidoscoped through the trees, bounced off the water in the boat pond, the Harlem Meer, the Ramble pond and the waterfall.
There is always some sort of planned activity in the park. In the morning individuals and groups gather to ride bicycles, jog, skate, do tai chi, aerobics—any number of things. Most of these people stay on the main paths while the exercisers have their own places in the open areas. Very few people go off the beaten paths. It’s dangerous and nerve-wracking for the most part and because, sometimes, there are unplanned activities.
Ramon Alvarez knew how to deal with all sorts of activities, planned and unplanned. He also knew the necessity of showing appreciation, which is why his men usually trusted him. That way he knew a man of his position and temperament could always maintain control of most situations. He also knew that there was no such thing as a circumstantial fuck up, everything had its reasons and if something was hidden in meaning it was because of a greater intelligence than he or any of his associates might be able to comprehend. He firmly believed in Santaria, and he was convinced that spirits were everywhere but he never let any of his men know that part of his mind.
His stretch Lincoln slowed down as it approached the West 72nd Street park entrance with his four-man posse champing at the bit knowing a major score was about to go down that would make them much richer than they had been the day before. As the car came to a stop Ramon got out and crossed to the other side of Central Park West and stood by the subway entrance. With his walkie-talkie he would be in complete contact with all of his people and could insure against circumstances getting screwed up due to any peculiar spirits. He also wanted a fast escape route if it became necessary.
Lenny and Fred, two of Ramon’s men got out of the car and began making their way to a predetermined rendezvous point near the bottom of the waterfall in the Ramble section; a good quarter of a mile in and definitely off the beaten path. Lenny carried a substantial amount of pure horse in an attaché case. Joe the Driver and Frankie the Idiot stayed in the car ready to get everyone out fast if things did indeed become circumstantial.
Lenny and Fred were both heavily armed; TEC-9’s with wildfire triggers and back-to-back 50 round banana clips under their coats in addition to the plastic Glock’s in their waistbands. They were ready to take out the Terminator and Rambo at the same time. Ramon, however, had only his .38 service revolver, a souvenir from the days when he was a New York City cop. It was enough and he knew it would maintain him if things got out of control.
Everybody was feeling righteous. They couldn’t wait for the fun to begin. The plan was to take out all of the opposition, whether they had to or not, steal the $2 mil in cash that Ramon had sworn was the deal and split it and keep the dope. If there was any confusion about the matter, Ramon could certainly determine the appropriate personnel changes to be made. The posse knew that too.
It was still shadowy in the park and vision wasn’t that great. No one really knew what any of the contacts looked like. Ramon had only told them where they would be met. Lenny and Fred approached the meeting place keeping in touch with Ramon who monitored their every step. Ramon’s plan was to whack everyone on his team after the deal went down and head for South America. With the contacts he had he could set himself up for life, maybe in Rio, live like a god and continue to deal. He did think, however, that Frankie the Idiot would be good for him to keep as a lucky charm so maybe he wouldn’t whack him, at least not yet.
He started getting antsy as people began to enter the station on their way to work. He didn’t need company and thought he looked stupid standing around pacing with a walkie-talkie in his hand, which could maybe bring a cop down on him. He crossed the street and entered the park, walking in a completely different direction than that taken by Lenny and Fred. As he crossed the street, he nodded at Joe and Frankie in the car who both wondered why there was a sudden change in plans. “Everything’s cool,” Ramon answered when Frankie asked what was happening but felt suddenly uncomfortable and decided to follow Ramon to make sure that nothing happened to his boss. Ramon didn’t see Frankie enter the park.