Sunday, April 17
Dr. Kiyoshi was taking Cynthia to Yosemite Park, they asked Rishi to join but he refused. They had grand breakfast at IHOP. On the way, they stopped by a lake, were told by returning campers that park was crowded with people so they went to another small park by the lake, rented a canoe a rowed it in the cold water of the lake. Cynthia called Mitsuki to make sure Rishi takes his medicines.
They tied to canoe to a tree and had a walk in the woods. Rowed the canoe back to the camping area, tied it us again and found a restaurant, had lunch. At 4pm. They returned the canoe and left the park for home.
Rishi woke up at 7am. He knew something will happen to him today. He was not scared of death or fearful at all but like any other living thing when threatened, he too was very cautious. He had a long walk but was very alert. If some sniper or gunman was to kill him then any place was as good as other but he doubted if someone will shoot him. He had two choices, either to run away or face the things. He decided to face the things and let the fate make a decision. Rishi returned at 9am had a cup of tea with Mitsuki, and then they together had breakfast, white rice with steamed vegetable soup. Mitsuki returned to his office and Rishi went to take bath.
Tony and Pete arrived at SFO airport. They loved San Francisco and were happy to be here again. Tony rented a Toyota Corolla car, on a driving license he had previously obtained in United States, based upon phony documents, it was still valid. That car was to be used as a getaway car after the hit.
For the hit, they needed a heavy one, a SUV, both were expert car thieves.
Tony had Rishi’s cell phone number but instead he called at Buddhist Center. He knew what to expect, only if Rishi was there. Their plan never failed, not even once. They knew, at night they would be drinking beers in a Chinese Bar in the downtown San Francisco.
At noon Mitsuki received a call.
“Buddhist Center, this is Mitsuki, how may I help you?”
“Is there some Mr. Rishi from India around?”
“Yes, there is a Rishi from India, may I know who is talking.”
“I name is John Marcello. Some friend of mine told me that he Rishi staying at yours Buddhist Center and I asked directory assistance for your phone number and it turned out a lucky day.”
“Yeah, indeed it is your lucky day. Mr. John you are always welcome here.”
“Yeah, may be one day I will visit to you guys. How is my friend Rishi?”
“He is fine, and wait, I will send someone to bring here to the phone.”
“No Sir, no Sir. I am very busy right now. I am pretty much familiar with your area; just tell him to come out at exactly five in the evening and stand at the yield sign by the park, just opposite of your main gate. I will pick him up from there to have a chat in the car and then I will bring him back. I may have only five minutes to spare with him today.”
“Yes Mr. John, I know exactly, which yield sign you are talking about; I will make sure he is there at five-thirty.”
“You can have my phone number.”
“There is no need for it Mr. John; I have it in our caller ID.”
“Good, good. Tell him to give me a buzz.”
“Sure John San, I will personally make sure he calls you.”
And the call ended.
Rishi was gone to supermarket to buy detergent and toothpaste. Mitsuki saw him at 2pm he was sitting on a bench and ten monks were sitting around him, on the grass, monks were in a convulsion of laughers but Rishi was not laughing.
“Hey guys what is the matter?”
“Rishi says he has invented a medicine by accident, soon he will be making tons of money?” One monk said, still unable to control his laugh.
“He says he knows two secret herbs, if a concoction of both is mixed with the blue gel ink of the pen, fallen teeth will grow out even molars in a matter of ten days.”
Mitsuki laughed. “There can’t be any such medicine, Rishi.”
“You think I am lying, do you see my teeth. You think they are phony. No Sir. They are not phony,” Rishi said, pointing to his teeth.
Mitsuk had no time for all this; he ordered monks to scram and sat with Rishi.
“Rishi San, some friend of you, some John Marcello called.”
Rishi thought about it for a while. “John Marcello, works for Russet Frazier Corporation, he used to visit us in LaserGear.”
“Well, some friend of his told him that you are staying in the Buddhist Center, he got the number from directory assistant, and called here.”
“Yes, I think he lives somewhere in San Francisco.”
“He said he knows the area round here. He said he will pick you up from the yield sign, just opposite of our main entrance, by the park, at 5.30pm. He said he will pick you up for a chat and then will drop you back because it is Sunday, I am going to see my parents. Probably he might be driving out of town afterwards.”
“OK, I will see him there.”
“I have his phone number here on this paper,” Mistsuki said, giving him a piece of paper.
“Thanks Mitsuki, I will give him a call.”
Rishi dialed the number.
“Hello John Marcello, how are you?”
“Rishi, long time no see. I am busy right now buddy. See you at the yield sign by the park at five exactly.”
“OK, I will be there.”
“Bye till 5.30pm.” And the phone was disconnected.
That was unusual. Rishi walked out and located the yield sign. He looked around, no car was parked there, and it was no parking zone. Five feet before the yield sign, was a fire-hydrant. Rishi made a mental note of everything that he could.
An old lady was walking in the park; Rishi asked her if there was any used clothes store, yes there was one, just ten blocks away. Rishi went there and for only seven dollars he bought a very large, the largest in the store, probably size 60, baggy crew trouser, with many large pockets.
When he was paying for the pants, girl at cash register giggled, “You don’t look that fat and tall.”
“I will be making two sacks with it, one with each leg.”
“One sack will be for sleeping bag and other for sleeping mat. Pockets are for rest of the camping gear storage.”
Girl fell to laugh. “That would be seven dollars.”
In the same mall he saw a self-service Chinese Restaurant; he ordered Buddha’s delight, assorted mixed vegetables in a curry, ate it sitting on a bench at a bus stop.
He returned to his room at 5pm still very cautious, noting everything that was not supposed to be odd.
At 4.30pm, Simon Rodriguez, a school teacher, brought his golden GMC SUV truck at the Exxon Gas Station’s self service lane, inserted his credit card in the dispensing machine, and filled up its tank, pulled his credit card and a receipt. He pulled his SUV to a parking spot by the convenient-Store within the gas station, took out an empty propane cylinder from the back of his SUV, walked to the attendant and gave it to replace it with the filled one and went inside to buy a can of milk and to pay for cylinder also.
He had invited some friends over his home for Sunday evening Barbeque and beers.
When he returned to his vehicle, filled cylinder was lying by his car; he put it in the back of his vehicle. He opened the driver side door and sat on the passenger’s seat and started the SUV.
He was about to leave but, all of a sudden the door of his truck opened, a man in ski mask pulled him out by collar, he fell down disorientated and watched his truck leaving the gas station. It happened so fast that except himself nobody else noticed it. His truck was stolen in the broad daylight, in his own presence.
Simon Rodriguez started screaming.
Gas station attendant called the police; a police officer arrived at 5pm, listened to his story, and talked with the attendants, and wrote a police report. At 5.30 he relayed a message on the radio about the stolen golden SUV and its license plate number; he gave Simon Rodriguez a lift to the bus stand.
Dr. Kiyoshi brought Cynthia to his home at 5pm; she prepared tea and then rested. He walked to the Buddhist Center to find Rishi, to bring him home for chat and the prank he had in his mind. He entered in the park to take a short cut. He saw a SUV was leaping at Rishi.
At 5.20pm Rishi changed his pants with the recently bought extra large baggy cargo trouser. He had to fold its bottoms. When he walked out of his room monks were laughing at him. He walked out and stood at the main entrance, looked at his watch it was 5.27pm
His cell phone buzzed, it was John Marcello.
John said, “I am almost there, be there at yield sign. It is no stopping and no standing zone. I already got a ticket there.”
“I am also almost there.”
Rishi looked in all directions. There was no unusual activity. Road was deserted due to Sunday. He crossed the road and walked to the yield sign but then walked to the fire-hydrant. He stood in front of it, hiding it with his giant sized baggy cargo trouser. Tony passed Rishi, and called Pete that an Indian man wearing oversized trouser is standing near the yield sign. Pete also saw Rishi; he wandered, why this fool was wearing so funny trouser. He imagined Rishi’s funeral in those trouser and laughed.
To make sure Pete called Rishi, he saw the same cartoon was pressing the cell-phone to his ears.
Last call buddy.
“Rishi, I am just there. I can see you.”
“I can see you too, the golden SUV.”
Tony parked his Toyota Corolla and turned his head to look at the rendezvous. Particularly this kind of hit always gave him an elated feeling. Then he saw why Rishi was wearing giant sized jeans. He was hiding fire hydrant and was ready. To his horror he watched helplessly, this Rishi made them fool. It was not a simple soft hit but a very cunning reverse ambush. He knew there was not enough time to warn Pete. All he could was to watch the disaster. He saw Pete pretended to slow down the vehicle but abruptly, SUV, roared and jumped towards Rishi, who instantly widened his legs exposing fire-hydrant. Tony closed his eyes, and heard a loud crash and then an explosion. He reversed the car to fetch his cousin, probably wounded and get out of the hell.
Golden SUV leapt at Rishi, he widened his legs exposing fire-hydrant. SUV hit heavy cast iron fire-hydrant, in a moment its fiberglass bumper turned into an inside V. It gave a soft push to Rishi; he fell down on the grass, unscratched. Then there was an explosion in the vehicle. Roof blew out; a torn up cylinder looking object flew out from it and landed in the park. Water emerged from the broken fire-hydrant, made a curtain for Rishi and protected him from the debris and glass. Interior of the vehicle begun burning and the driver was screeching in the pain. Next second, there was another explosion, this time full fuel tank exploded. Fire engulfed the car and Rishi was again protected by the curtain of fire. Back half of the SUV was blown away and gasoline was burning all over the place.
Tony called his boss in Sicily.
He wept, “Boss we were ambushed, Rishi made us fool. Pete is burning inside the vehicle. I can still do the Rishi with my gun.”
“Pull out Pete or shoot him, and get the hell out of there.”
Tony parked his car a little away from the scene. In a dash he wore his light jacket; he pulled a small automatic gun out from under the seat, took it in his hand, hiding his hand in his half open jacket, he ran to the Pete. Heat of the fire was overwhelming, fire was burning around Rishi but his clothes were wet, he was crawling away from the burning spilled gasoline. Tony had strong urge to kill Rishi but first he had to see Pete. He saw Pete was in painful spasms, charring in fire. Protecting himself using the water as shield, he pumped two bullets in Pete’s head. His dear cousin was dead, they were together for the last ten years, and they were inseparable. He was weeping, his loss was crushing. Rishi was only ten fee away from him, crawling to the safety. Ignoring the order from his boss he raised his gun towards Rishi, aimed it to his head and pressed the trigger. Suddenly water changed into one big mass and leapt at him, it hit him first on his hand and then lifted him off his feet. Tony’s gun’s barrel hit his chin, two bullets entered in his head through his chin. Water was washing his brains and red blood.
People were gethering. Dr. Kiyoshi and some others saw it all. Two people who came to assassin Rishi, died there. One was killed by fire and other by water. Rishi was standing by the wall, soaked wet. A big crowd was formed, everybody was confused and scared. As Dr. Kiyoshi overcomes his bewilderment, he ran to Rishi.
“Are you hurt Rishi?”
Rishi turned, he and Kiyoshi walked to the Buddhist Center. Rishi was soaked with water and mud. They heard police and fire truck sirens.
Rishi went to the common bathrooms, took bath and changed into dry clothes.
He was having tea with Kiyoshi when Police and television crews arrived to interview him. Cynthia heard the news on the radio in the taxi, that two possible assassins are dead in front of Buddhist Center.
Russet Frazier was in his helicopter, over the bay, he was looking at his watch. After 5.30pm he was desperately waiting for the phone call. It arrived at 6pm.
His cell-phone rang.
“This Rishi, reverse ambushed us, both guys are dead, they were my nephews.”
“You said it was a soft target, you fooled us.”
“Hold on a minute, hold on a minute.”
But the caller disconnected the call.
Russet Frazier was sweating, his heart was pounding. Now police will find out, he was the only suspect. He wanted to see Rishi immediately to renegotiate with him, to offer him more money and also to restore LaserGear to its original owners and also to restore the contracts.
He shrieked to pilots, “Turn the helicopter, I want to land at SFO.”
San Francisco International Airport offered fastest access to the Buddhist Center.
Pilots were still going in the same direction.
He screamed, “Where the hell are you going, you idiots. Turn it.” He could see San Francisco International Airport from the window.
“Sir we have to ask for permission and follow the flight pattern.”
He shrieked, “I am sick, there is a medical emergency.”
Pilots turned the helicopter, asking for permission to land immediately.
Russet yelled, “Don’t radio them about medical emergency; I don’t want to see any ambulance. Understand.”
Pilot radioed and told the control tower that they suspected some mechanical problems. They were granted permission. Russet Frazier was screaming to them like a mad man, he was not tolerating a slight diversion, was making both pilots nervous. Pilots gave up following the prescribed flight pattern for helicopters, and followed to the airport in a straight line. All air traffic controllers were busy directing the Sunday evening rush hours they did not pay serious attention to a small helicopter deviating from the proper route.
A jumbo jet passed one minute ago to airport, Helicopter was caught in its whirlwind. It shook violently and jumped as it was a kicked football. Russet Frazier was sitting without wearing seatbelts, he never wore seatbelt in the helicopters or cars. He jigged and his head struck the ceiling and fell down on his right shoulder. He screamed in excruciating pain. Pilots tried to control the helicopter it but its main rotor was damaged. It was shaking and rattling, putting immense load on the main bearing. They slowed down the engine.
One pilot threw a safety jacket to him, “Sir we have no choice but to dunk the chopper in the bay.”
Helicopter rattled and with a noise plunged in the shallow bay it was 6.30pm, many people from the highway saw it. Bay was only 8 feet deep; top of the giant helicopter was still about the water. Pilots wore safety jackets and opened the door, water rushed inside the cabin. They swam out; there was still plenty of daylight.
Sea water became murky and bubbling due to the plunge. When they saw Russet Frazier did not appear on the surface, then they remembered that his right shoulder was injured. He could have never have worn safety jacket and swam out.
Both pilots removed safety jacket because it was not necessary in just 8 feet deep water, they dived, entered in the cabin and pulled their boss out to surface. They sat on to the top of helicopter with unconscious Russet Frazier. They were rescued after fifteen minutes by a boat and billionaire Russet Frazier was airlifted to the hospital but doctors declared him brought dead. It didn’t take doctors long to know the cause of death - drowning in water. Russet Frazier was a good swimmer; he loved swimming and built an Olympic sized swimming pool in his home.
Doctor Kiyoshi took Cynthia to his home; he also called his sister to come and support her. She was devastated, knowing that Rishi was a target of a carjack hit and run make-believe ambush. Of-course he was saved by his cunningness, and both assailants were dead, but she knew it was the doing of her father, everybody knew that it was the doing of her father. Her shame was bigger then a mountain. She wanted to suicide, she wanted to die, and she wanted the earth to engulf her. Dr. Kiyoshi wished if Rishi was there, he saw everything. He left his job early to again spend some time with Cynthia in the car, but an accident on the road ruined his plans, he took a diversion came home earlier than expected.
A police officer came to Buddhist Center to inform personally that Cynthia’s father was dead. Mitsuky told him that Cynthia was in the neighborhood. Cop informed Mitsuki about her father’s demise in the helicopter crash, asked him to accompany him to Cynthia and give her the news to make this nasty job easier. Mitsuki didn’t know what to do; how to handle this situation. Rishi was being questioned by police in a room. He went there an whispered in Rishi’s ears.
Rishi declared, “I got to go.”
“But there are many unanswered questioned.”
“Your questions must wait.” Rishi said, rose and was gone from the room
Rishi walked with Mitsuki and sat in the trooper’s car to Dr. Kiyoshi’s home.
Head investigator was informed that Rishi was the prime suspect in the Dr. Ryan’s poisoning. Dr. Ryan’s death was already declared a homicide by poison rather then cocaine overdose. Levis Hopkins was also informed of the new developments, he was asked to assist in the further investigation, even he belonged to the different jurisdiction and he was on his way to Buddhist Center.
When Levis Hopkins was parking his car in the Buddhist Center, he was told by a cop that Russet Frazier had died and also told him that Rishi indirectly told the police: They can go to hell.
Levis Hopkins said to himself, “Whomsoever this Rishi does not like dies. This is the biggest challenge of my life.”
He called his associates wake up some judge; obtain some orders to access Late Dr. Ryan’s emails. Every email must be made available to police.
This Rishi, he dug his own grave by giving me the clue.
Levis Hopkins did not go to see Rishi or Cynthia but waited till midnight. Email provider was contacted and Dr. Ryan’s emails were accessed but each and every email was deleted. His account was empty, last time Demised Dr. Ryan accessed his emails from the late Russet Frazier’s home, BUT, he was dead at that time.
That’s all Levis Hopkins Frazier got.
Not enough, not enough. Any good lawyer will shred it to pieces. This Rishi is the friend of the super computer programmers who are running this world. Dr. Cynthia was almost betrothed with Dr. Ryan, she can always claim to know his email password.
Email provider said that no other email log existed. Levis Hopkins tried to make sense of the things and what he should would and could do.
A rookie cop gave him a cupful of hot, unsweetened tasteless tea, asked him to listen to the news at radio. He tuned to the news channel, after the advertisement there was the main news.
Mr. Takahari, is appointed by Russet Frazier’s only daughter and heiress Doctor Cynthia Frazier as the sole and cheif executor of her father Russet Frazier’s multibillion dollar empire. Six years ago Mr. Takahari gave up his own multi billion dollars empire in Japan to become a Buddhist monk then he had changed his name to Mitsuki.
Detective Levis Hopkins also called as Colombo turned off the radio, pulled out his car from the parking lot of the Buddhist Center, and ran at ninety miles and hour to his headquarters to destroy each and everything that could connect Rishi with the poisoning.
You idiot, wash you hands in THE holy river and go with the current. Forget this bloody challenge before some fire or water ends your petty, goddamn story.
It was not that he gave up or was afraid or feared someone. Rishi was his god.
Wish his daughter had a friend like him.
But I got a friend, not like him but him. By chance I stumbled upon holy river Ganges, why not take a bath.
First time and probably last time, in his life he had used those police flashing lights and sirens, installed in front of his car’s radiator.
It was 11pm at night. Rishi, Mitsuki, doctor Kiyoshi and his sister Rarisa were struggling with all their energy to sooth Cynthia who was in a catatonic state. Finally Kiyoshi and Rairsa gave up and left her alone with Rishi. Dr. Kiyoshi, broken hearted went out, followed by Mitsuki and his sister Rasrisa, they sat on the stair by the enterence. They prayed Buddha to let pass this mayhem that fate brought to Cynthia and to them.
Rishi was alone with Cynthia; he didn’t know what to do. He as a human, actually more disadvantaged then other humans, because everybody depended upon him emotionally.
He began weeping.
“Weeping is MY luck not yours,” she shouted to him. “Why are YOU weeping?”
Seeing him weeping, she forgot her own sorrow, went to kitchen to make tea for all. They ate whatever they could find in the refrigerator.
Cynthia was to sleep with Rarisa, Dr. Kiyoshi had three bedrooms. Rishi and Mitsuk left doctor Kiyoshi’s home.
They went to in park and strolled on the path.
Mitsuki sobbed, “Rishi San, why you have dragged me into the fire again.”
“Mitsuki San, you are made to run the things. You were always running, are running, and would be running things.”
“Why me, why not you run this.”
“Why you are laughing Rishi San?”
“I can’t even run a stable.”
“I know Rishi San; I know what you are saying. Horses will talk with you and love you, you will be involved into their personal problems.”
“See here you go.”
“Why I, why I? Why me? I already left all that behind.”
“What difference it makes to run a monastery or a billion dollars business?”
“But I am running a peaceful environment here, running billions dollars business is playing with fire.”
“Mitsuki San, have you played the chess?”
“Yes once I used to be a good player.”
“Did you like to win or lose?”
“Of-course I always want to play to win.”
“Consider this billion dollar business as chess, play it without a cause. Play as it is a game. Write your own checks to this or any monastery.”
“I will try, Rishi San. It is very difficult to play a game without a cause. Even little children play to win.”
“Mistuki San, living without a cause is the real meditation. Not focusing upon your breathing or doing this or that to win or to arrive at a certain destination.”
Mistuki was too stunned to walk or talk. He stopped and sat on the grass. His mind was too numb to think. Only Rishi’s words are reverberating in his head.
Living without a cause is the real meditation. Living without a cause is the real meditation. Living without a cause is the real meditation. Living without a cause is the real meditation.
Rishi walked away form him to give him time to settle with his shock, then he sat on a rock under a sodium lamp. After half hour Mitsuki came to him and bowed several times. Rishi laughed and bowed to him several times.
“Rishi San, you ruin all my efforts when you bow back.”
“Living without a cause is living effortlessly.”
Mitsuki said, bowing to Rishi, “It is fun, I like it. I am doing if just for the doing of it.”
Rishi bowed several times but not to Mitsuki but to trees.
They both were walking and bowing randomly to the stars, to the trees and to the stars and to one old man they saw.
They heard a loud laughing and clapping. It was Dr. Kiyoshi. He bowed to them, they bowed to him and then to every other thing they saw. Dr. Kiyoshi also joined them in the game.
Same old man bowed to them, shouted, laughing, “That’s all folks.”
“Bye Kiyoshi, you go to your home,” Rishi said, “you got a family now.”
“My family sent me here to find you, Rishi San.”
“What your family said?”
“Cynthia sent me to make sure that you take your medicines.”
“Thank, I will never disappoint her.”
“She ordered me to go to your room to give you medicines but I found you here bowing to everything.”
“Either you bow to everything of Creation or to none.”
Mitsuki said, “I will make sure he takes the medicines.”
“Thanks Rishi, by the way where is your cell-phone. Cynthia was calling you.”
“Police have it, they say they will return it tomorrow.”
They bowed to each other again, Kiyoshi walked to his home and Rishi and Mitsuki walked to Buddhist Center.