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APPENDIX C – Saint Marty
Student: What is the nature of Buddha?
Ts’ao-shan: Three pounds of hemp!
Wu-men-kuan, case 18
In his store only weeks before, Hernán tended to an animated
middle-aged couple looking for musical songbooks. They had a
sailboat docked in Cancún and were heading for the Caribbean, so
when Hernán came by to visit Roy after the surgery he gave the name
of their boat. “Maybe you can go find them in Cancun. Go with them
and find your Santa Marta,” he suggested. Rather than wait for the
stitches to come out, Roy bid his friend goodbye and headed straight
for the coast. Before leaving, the book vendor handed him a gift. It
was a gaudy bauble he picked up at the Indian market.
“Drag down a part of heaven with you wherever you go Daggoo,”
he said, placing it around his neck. It was a leather necklace with a
gaudy charm, a winged serpent, dangling from it.
“Thanks,” Roy said. “What is it?”
“It’s the symbol for Quetzacoatl, god of our Indians. Also for the
Greek Hermes, the medical profession, and maybe DNA too. Some
say it’s where the dollar sign came from. But it is only a symbol. It is
whatever you want it to be. Just like the big white whale in that very
cryptic book.”
Roy looked at it a bit and said, “I want it to be just what it is: A
treasured gift from a treasured friend.” He untied the leather ketab
bracelet on his wrist and handed it to Hernán. “And for you. My last
tether to land-locked Ethiopia.”
“Keep your head above the water!” The gentleman bookseller
waved adiós.
Two days later Roy strolled up to a slip in the harbor and came upon
his target: the SS Lovebirds. “I’ll be damned,” the bronzed and giddy
captain of the boat said upon sighting Roy, “Honey, come out here
and see this.” Roy felt a lump rise in his throat. These were rednecks
and he was about to be ridiculed.
“Well I’ll be a monkey’s aunt,” his wife said, “Don’t that just take
the cake.”
“Uh huh,” said the chubby captain, “You look just like Sammy in
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