CHAPTER 6 (REMIX / MYSTICAL STYLE)
Arious needed help deciphering the scroll. He thought that if he was able to decipher the cryptic writing, he’d be able to find me. The long wandering lines were very foreign to him.
The only person he could think of who might be able to help was the local calligrapher. He remembered that Yung hired him years ago. He wasn’t a friendly man, but his hand style was known and admired in Chinatown.
Arious flew through the Chinatown streets on his skateboard. As he maneuvered through the traffic en route to his destination, thoughts of skepticism raced through his mind. Should he share the scroll with a stranger? Why was Meng so distant?
Arious hopped a curb and stopped his board at the corner where the calligraphy shop was located. Although early evening, as was the case most winter nights, it appeared to be much later.
The shop’s sign was missing, a dull and faded area remained. Arious peered into the window which was intentionally fogged, but reasonably lit by several lights inside.
Arious picked up his skateboard and turned the knob of the stubborn door. There was a mildewy odor, combined with a familiar scent of incense which burnt in a small altar. Several soft lamps illuminated wooden desks.
Each desk was delicately covered with canvas and cloths, decorated by fine writing. As he walked, he briefly studied the form, admiring the precision and control.
He is watched by a man behind a large wooden desk towards the rear of the shop. After seeing the man’s face, he remembered the name of the calligrapher.
Ling sat cautiously, and gazed directly at Arious while holding a newspaper. As Arious walks towards him, he placed the newspaper on the desk. Ling was emotionless.
Arious stepped forward although he sensed that he was unwanted. “Sir, are you Ling? The calligrapher?”
“How can I help you, young man?”
I wanted to know if you could look at a document for me. I’m trying to read an old document.” replied Arious.
Ling sighed and looked at Arious with a sense of confusion.
“Well, I can look at it if you like” replied Ling.
Arious slowly revealed the “Scroll of the Masters” from his book bag and placed it on the counter. Ling’s eyes opened wide. He has never seen such writing. The tattered scroll looked ancient and most important — valuable. He looked intently and then stared at Arious. He thought to himself “What is he doing with this?”
He touched the scroll with his fingers. He had never felt anything like it. Delicate, but sturdy. Strange and beautiful. He knew that the scroll was authentic and rare. He wanted it.
“I have never seen the likes of this. How much do you want for it?” asked Ling.
“It isn’t for sale. I know that you specialize in calligraphy. I was hoping that you could help me read this writing” replied Arious.
“It will take some time to decipher. You leave the scroll with me for a few days. I need time to study it.”
Deception lingered in Ling’s voice and in the silence that followed his reply.
Arious studies Ling’s face closely, in his eyes, he sensed someone whom he could not trust and simultaneously realized how valuable the scroll was.
“No thanks. I appreciate your time sir” replied Arious, carefully returning the scroll to his bag.
Ling stood and called out “Wait. I’d like to help you!”
Arious walked to the entrance, he paused and could sense that Ling was trying to deceive him. He exited the shop and walked down the street. There was an odd and unfamiliar silence. The streets that he known all of his life suddenly looked and felt foreign. He paused. In the dark streets, he realized he was truly alone.
He turned his attention back towards the scroll. He thought for a few moments. Perhaps he should try another person. Since the characters on the scroll looked like graffiti writing, “Why not ask a writer?”
There was one knowledgeable person who knew everything there was to know about aerosol art. He would seek a legend of old.