Warp Speed

Warp Speed by Travis S. Taylor Read Free Book Online

Book: Warp Speed by Travis S. Taylor Read Free Book Online
Authors: Travis S. Taylor
talked about the future of my research and how we might continue to finagle funding here and there. Neither of us had any bright ideas. I realized she really did believe in the BPP research and she had nothing to do with budget cuts. The last thing I remember talking about is my crazy lucid dreams and how I knew that we were close to something. I could taste it, I told her. I think she thought I was a little nuts.
    The next thing I knew I was waking up with the sun in my face and Friday licking my left middle finger. Somehow, I had been covered with an afghan from the screened porch sofa.
    I passed out on her again! Damn it. I got up and crawled to the bed and passed out again.
    Later in the day I finally got up and stirred around the house. I managed to wake Jim up as I shut the microwave for about the third time. Leftover cheeseburgers are great hangover medicine once heated up in the microwave. I looked around and noticed that someone had sort of cleaned up. My money was on 'Becca.
    "Lazarus has arisen!" I said as Jim came through the breakfast nook.
    "Arisen, hell!" He wasn't firing on all cylinders yet either or he would've had a snappier come back--he's usually pretty witty. "What time is it?" he asked.
    "Not sure, uh, about twelve-thirty," I replied.
    "We've gotta be at the studio at one!"
    "Dang! I've been forgetting a lot of stuff lately. I think these painkillers are bad on my short-term memory. I'm gonna quit taking them, if I can stand it. We better get our stuff and go."
    We had upper belt tests today at the karate studio. Jim and I, as black belts, had volunteered to help with the testing. The thing I regretted was that I wouldn't get to fight because of my ribs. I had entertained the idea of wearing the rib protector and fighting, but I just hadn't healed enough yet. Besides, it'd only been one week. The doctor said six, but what does that quack know?
    We got there and bowed in just in time. Our school is one of the more fighting oriented and not very traditional. Oh sure, we do the traditional stuff like katas, traditional stances, and an occasional bow, but we don't do all of the "Yes Sensei, No Sensei" junk you see in the movies. In fact, the head instructor Bob is actually a year younger than me and much less disciplined (if that is possible). Bob cuts up worse than most of his students. His wife Alisa keeps him in check, sometimes. But, I have never seen anybody do pushups because they neglected to say, "yes sir" or "no sir" or because they forgot to bow.
    I got my score sheet and began watching and scoring the students. Alisa came over to me.
    "How are you? The ribs?" she whispered and pointed at my side.
    "I'm okay; there's still a lot of pain, but nothing serious. I'll be out for a couple more weeks. I'm gonna try to do pushups by the end of the week. I figure it'll be another couple of weeks before I can do crunches. Might be able to do some katas next week." I was probably lying about any or all of that.
    "I'm sorry." She smiled and went about her business.
    Rebecca finally made it. She bowed and frantically tied her belt. "Why didn't she just stay and come in with us?" I nudged Jim.
    "She didn't have her gi or her pads with her," he replied.
    "'Becca you are late! Stretch real quick and get in line!"
    Bob seemed a little perturbed. I'm surprised she didn't have to do pushups, but test days are a little rushed and frantic. Bob is really just an old softy.
    Finally, after about three physically grueling hours they got to fight. The main goal of our tests is to get you to a point where you feel there's nothing left to do but give up. Then we ask even more of you. This would be the case if someone or some group of people were mugging, raping, or trying to kill you. You never quit. Never!
    Each student had burned at least eleven hundred calories. That is how grueling the test is. Now we were asking them to fight ninety-second rounds. One one-on-one round for each belt earned every three months (up to

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