A Riddle without a Rhyme
Posted by candidcameron
Cameron had these prompts to choose from…
And just look what she made…
(some of the usual, twisted, wacky, short-short fiction from Cam)
Bernard looked from the business card to the addresses on the storefronts and found Hai Yoga at 575 Camino Real. The sign outside the studio read:
Free yoga classes
Rediscover your true self
No balance required
He opened the door to enter, having to squeeze his six-foot-three, 230-pound frame sideways through the inordinately small entryway.
The room was sparse, with pale wood floors, white walls, and beige floor mats. The only item of color Bernard saw was a peculiar painted bird house hanging from the wall. On the outward-facing side of the odd bird house, Bernard noticed the hands of a clock, showing the top of the hour was approaching. A smiling young blonde woman dressed all in white appeared from behind a screen and greeted him, speaking so quickly he questioned the relaxation benefits of yoga.
“Here for One O’clock? We’ll have a nice group for sure. It’s beginner day,” she said, holding out her hand.
“That’s right,” Bernard replied and shook her hand. “I’m Bernard Strawberry. My doc–, um my friend referred me to you.”
“Yes, welcome, Bernard. It’s a delight to meet you. Ready to get Zen?”
He’d never considered himself the type to go for forced relaxation. Perhaps this was why his psychiatrist had prescribed twice-weekly yoga classes to combat the stress that kept him awake nights. As a detective with the San Diego Police Department, an alimony-paying divorced father of four, and at least as great a fan of chocolate donuts as he was of weight-lifting in the gym at the station, Bernard had never thought to make time to sit on floor mats with Zen types.
“It’s good you’re early,” said the instructor. “I like to know my clients. Oh, here’s Elijah!”
Propped in the doorway was a tanned, buff man about a foot shorter than Bernard.
“Hi, Hai! How are you?” Elijah greeted the instructor, but all Bernard heard were two greetings. “Oh, and who do we have here? Your first time at Hai?”
“Sure is, Elijah,” Bernard replied hesitantly and glanced toward the pale woman in white. “Wait. Your name is really Hai? Japanese descent?”
“Wonderful, Bernard,” Hai replied in a lively tone, leaving Bernard’s befuddled look unanswered. “I see you’ve found your rhythm. It’s time to start now.”
When the reality of the situation struck him, Bernard recoiled, shrinking into his own shoulders.
“No, I can’t do this,” he said, eyebrows raised, eyes darting between Hai and Elijah. His neck muscles tensed as he turned to leave. “I can’t keep up this rhythm. It’s way too stressful.”
A woman passed him in the doorway as he exited. Before the door shut behind him, Bernard heard the woman say, “Hi, Hai!” just as a plastic bird emerged from the piece on the wall and called out, “ku-ku!” between the woman’s words.
Contributor’s note: I am sure you literary types figured out the riddle early in your reading!
For this and more silly fiction, please encourage Cameron to finish her novel, Social Studies, which she shelved last fall.