Tokyo Cowboy Novel

An as-yet unpublished mainstream novel by Jorian Clair.
"Tokyo Cowboy" is, at one level, a "fish out of water," East meets West action/adventure/love story. On another level, it is a character-driven, intricately plotted novel that explores the fine line between honor and pride, the looming extinction of the American cowboy and the small family-owned cattle ranch, and the confrontations that can be triggered when people of different cultures clash.


What now?

The thought intrudes. A pebble tossed into the pool of his consciousness. Disturbing the mindless calm with ever-expanding circles of awareness. Ending his meditation. Slowly, he opens his half-closed eyes and contemplates the undulating shadows cast by flickering candlelight on the wall before him. Seaweed in an aquatic dance. Beckoning.

His nostrils dilate like the gills of a fish. But it is waves of incense, not water, that flow through him. He lowers his eyes again, hoping to reenter the Void. But finds himself snared by consciousness. Hauled up by the world’s fishing net. Catch of the day. To be served as a participant in the unreal and all its distractions.

He concentrates on his breathing, longing to again banish the brain’s chatter and return to a state of mindlessness. Seeks enclosure within the ocean where all sense of self is washed away. But an interior time clock has sounded its alarm. He unfolds from the Burmese position of knees on the mat with legs crossed in front of each other, and rises effortlessly to his feet, surfacing from the sea of nothingness as quietly as a fish, and begins to swim away. Moving through the darkness as soundlessly as clouds of incense and candle smoke, creating no ripples that might disturb the other black-robed Zen Buddhists sitting at zazen, silent and still as apparitions.

Quietly, he closes the temple door on the open zendo inside, and blinks, pupils adjusting to the growing light of a dawning sun as he steps onto the temple porch.

He removes his black robe, revealing black sweats, and folds the garment before bending over to place it inside his backpack while retrieving his watch and a sweatband for his head. He dons the latter two, then sits down on the porch floor to pull on his socks and running shoes.

Standing again, he picks up the backpack and slips the straps over his shoulders, crosses to the edge of the temple porch and looks about him.

A monk tends a gravel path with a rake, engaged in a moving meditation. A carp breaks free of the temple pond to flash gold before rejoining the other koi. And the sight of the Zen garden is so seductive he starts toward it, only to be stopped by an alarm from his watch.

This summons to return to his worldly life must be obeyed. He must leave this sanctuary because he is only an acolyte, not a monk. With an exhalation of resignation, he whirls away and sprints across the temple grounds and out the gated wall.

Enjoy reading the prologue?
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Tokyo Cowboy is an action-adventure-love story. Karate master/Zen Buddhist Tokyo businessman, deep in the heart of Texas, locks horns with the widow who owns the cattle ranch he must have.

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Last Updated 06/01/14
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