I wrote this because a friend of mine was telling me that her father used to be a ninja. I was in a random mood and decided to say "I'm going to base a short story on your ninja father." I think it was a heat of the moment thing because after writing half the story I got bored. Also I got another idea for a story that has taken up my creative thinking. What I am trying to say is, I don't think the story is very good. Enjoy?
Leather bound secrets
As I unpack my box of books and start filling the shelf in my new office, I find a small, red, leather bound book that I am almost certain my father planted in there. The memories I have of my childhood days all seem to go back to the day I found that little red book crammed among the hundreds of others in my father’s study.
I remember the day clearly, right down to the feel of the soft scarlet carpet that tickled my toes as I stretched to reach the book that had caught my eye. The book shelf loomed so high above my seven year old form that I once wondered if it was tall enough to keel over and spill books onto the deep brown strands on my head.
I was not as afraid of this outcome as I was awed by it. Each overflowing shelf dipped in the middle where the weight of the books threatened to team up with gravity and break their sturdy home. The dark brown walls that surrounded the matching shelf combined with the scarlet carpet and the soft leather armchair behind the large desk made up the room I always loved to escape to. Not only did I love the room because of the books that loaded it from floor to ceiling, but because the desk was large enough for me to hide behind.
I couldn't read any of the books in the study, they were not written for seven year old boys after all. Whenever I found a book in the shelf within my reach that had pictures though, it was like striking gold. The little red book I pulled from the shelf that day had pictures all through it. I flipped through it, smile plastered across my face, looking at the images. I looked once more at the cover. I may not have been much of a reader but any fan of the teenage mutant ninja turtles can recognise the word ‘ninja’ when they see it.
“What have we got here Danny boy?” I jumped slightly at the sudden sound of my father’s voice. I remember always thinking of him as impossibly sneaky. I could have sworn I had seen him walk silently over a gravel road once. I looked up at him and his finely combed golden locks of hair.
“Why do you have a ninja storybook?” I asked frowning at the white-gold lettering on the book’s cover. My father sat in front of me on the carpet. I could tell by his black suit and navy tie that he must have just returned from a meeting. He looked at me with his unnaturally calm blue gaze and spoke to me like he would an adult.
“Would you believe me if I told you that the book you are holding is not in fact a story book, but a handbook?” I liked that he was never condescending, even to a seven year old. I frowned at the book in my hands, thinking maybe I had read the golden lettering incorrectly.
“But it says ‘ninja’ not ‘hand’. Why would you have a book about hands?” My father smiled at me. “A handbook is like a book that gives you pointers on how to do something.” He explained. “That ninja handbook is a book on how to be a ninja.”
I looked at him in disbelief. “When I was younger, Danny, I trained to be a ninja. I’m not making this up; my teacher gave me that book.” said my father as he reached for the book in my hands. He shifted beside me as he opened the book so we both could see the printed words and images.
“One of the first things I learned was to control my breathing” he began. I was puzzled once more by this comment. “I don’t need training to breathe. Does that mean I’m a ninja?” I asked innocently. My father laughed easily. “I knew how to breathe before the training. They just taught me to breathe in a way that would calm me and give me control over. . .” he trailed off as he looked at my blank expression.
“Maybe I should tell you this story when you are older. Let’s go find one of your picture books instead, OK?” he said getting to his feet and taking my hand. We started walking out of the office, my father picking his cane up from the floor on the way. The familiar soft thuds of his cane on the carpet made me realise something.
“Dad, how could you be a ninja if you can’t walk properly?” I asked. My father gave me one of his knowing smiles, the kind that made him look trustworthy and sneaky at the same time. “I can’t rightly be a ninja without being able to walk properly, can I son?”
“I knew you weren’t really a ninja.” I muttered. “Well I’m not a ninja now.” He said with that same mysterious tone in his voice. “Ever wonder why I can’t walk properly?” I was about to say something but I realised I didn’t know why.
“Being a ninja would be dangerous work, don’t you think?” he said.
Holding the book now in my hands, I realise that there is a lot more of my dad in me then one would think. I have his sly confidence, his eerie calm and his ability to make people believe even for a second the most unlikely things. I have no doubt that he put the book in the box to remind me of that day. It is as if he is saying “If I can be a ninja with a cane, then you can do this job better than anyone.”
I smile and put the book in the top draw of my desk. Just what every desk in every law firm needs: a ninja handbook. Something I learned from that book without actually reading the secrets bound within it is that all lawyers should have ninja fathers.
Well that was fun.