When Sensei said there would be a final test, I was hoping for something multiple choice. Maybe even true/false, if I was lucky. Instead they grabbed me in the middle of the night and stuck me here.
I am alone in a hallway lined with stark white doors. There are hundreds of them and above each, the glowing number 12. I have a small, cold feeling deep down that I will probably not survive this.
My heart is pounding, and sweat is dripping in my eyes. I’m looking for scuff marks, fingerprint smears, anything to will make one stand out.
I spot one with what looks like a slight discoloration above the handle. I open it.
A brick wall stands behind it, taunting me in a stony sort of way.
In unison, the numbers above the doors all change to 11.
Sensei is a great one for thinking outside the box, or hallway in this case. I know I’m missing something, but I’ve already tried to pry up the floor tiles and even tried climbing up through the ceiling.
He’s probably watching me somewhere by camera, laughing at my confusion as he lounges around in his dirty robe and drinks his wretched chamomile tea, which is half honey and milk. I’ll bet Sensei is not even his real name.
I open another door at random.
Crap crap crap.
This is probably some sort of life lesson, something about a myriad of choices not equaling opportunity or some such garbage. I try to reach the end of the hallway but I’m pretty sure it curves around slowly to form a loop.
Crap crap crap crap crap.
Uh, how about this one?
At this point, I don’t even care. Sensei can have his little test. I’m not playing anymore. I open another door.
Nope, I don’t care a bit. Here’s goes.
I was wrong. I care a lot.
A siren begins to blare. Without thinking, I slam myself against the brick wall behind the final door. It collapses in a parody of a real wall. There’s no mortar between the bricks.
“You took long enough,” I hear a voice say. It’s Sensei bending over me.
“Are these even real bricks?” I ask.
“I got them at Toys ‘R’ Us,” he says. “What did you learn?”
“Don’t let perceived obstacles stop you,” I say, trying to keep the question mark out of my voice.
He reaches down and whacks me across the back of the head. “Yes, and don’t be ruled by desperation.” He walks away.
“So did I pass?” I ask.
He stops and takes a long drink of chamomile tea. “Maybe,” he says. “Try it again tomorrow and we’ll see.”
Great, I thought. Just enough time for him to put mortar between all the bricks.