Ruminations of “Shaolin Monk #13,” Awaiting the Order to Attack Jet Li

By: Dan McArdle

How dare this arrogant warrior stroll uninvited into our monastery, and openly challenge our exalted Master Fu in front of his assembled acolytes. Let us teach him a painful lesson in humility, my brothers!

I am honored beyond measure that the Master has allowed me to stand by his side, despite my being shamefully knocked unconscious in training mere moments ago. I awoke dazed, with only hazy recollections of my enigmatic name, “Shaolin monk #13,” and my purpose, “extra for the battle scene at Shrouded Dragon Temple.”

But looking around at my assembled brothers and the majestic temple grounds, I now realize I truly am a Shaolin brother of the legendary shrine, chosen as extra protection for Master Fu himself! He must have foreseen this — truly his wisdom and cunning are unrivaled. And with the arrival of this grave threat, I have been given the perfect chance to redeem myself in his eyes! Despite this fighter’s obvious prowess, we shall overwhelm him soon enough.

Then why are we all standing around? Why won’t Master Fu order us to attack as one? No! One must never question the Master! Recall the gruesome fate of Hum Bao, when he dared speak out of turn, or when Chow Fan returned in shame after his unsuccessful assassination attempt. The fury and skill of Master Fu are boundless!

But what are we waiting for? This single enemy, skilled though he is, cannot possibly hope to block all of our weapons and blows simultaneously. Why are my brothers feinting uselessly as they encircle him, even allowing him to grasp a spear and sweep six of them off their feet? I saw that move coming a mile distant!

Outrageous! My brothers time their blows precisely so that our foe can seamlessly parry them! It is as if they are intentionally losing! Where is their pride? Where is their devotion to the Master?

Enough! I cannot abide this shameful display any longer! I must strike for Master Fu, even if he will not strike himself!

Yes! I have done it! The rogue warrior never saw my blow coming! See how he staggers about, holding his bleeding head and gaping at me in wonder! Strike now, my brothers — we have him!

Why are we stopping again?! Who is this crazed man screaming in my face, demanding to know what my problem is? Why is Master Fu kowtowing and referring to him as the “Director?” Why are several of my brothers actually aiding our injured foe, and reverently calling him “Jet” and “Mr. Li?” How do they know his name? And who are these men with badges and odd hats, holding tiny weapons crackling with electrical fire? Master, I don’t under–

I awake to find myself upon a strange wheeled pallet, surrounded by white garbed men who seek to strap me down upon it. They hope to imprison me in a white metal wagon, festooned with flashing red lanterns, and wailing like a demonic animal!

I cannot allow them to take me prisoner! I realize now that the man I so bravely defended is but a cowering impostor, no doubt planted by the insidious “Director.” And this “Jet” must have come to unmask the treacherous cur; no wonder my brothers were so reluctant to strike. They must have known Jet’s true mission, and were letting him win! I must return to Shrouded Dragon Temple, and help rescue the true Master Fu!

Yes! Again I have done it! By feigning unconsciousness, I have surprised my unwary foes. See how they stare dumbfounded as I leap from their pallet, easily escaping their feeble attempts to recapture me. See how I overpower their “security guard,” and use his own devilish lightning baton against him. How does it feel to be jerked about like a child’s puppet yourself, arrogant badged man?

Now to return to Shrouded Dragon Temple and aid the noble Jet in defeating the evil Director. I am coming, Master Fu. Vengeance is at hand!


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