Wheel plays ping-pong with Piper. Street angles for action photos.

Just as the master starts to serve, Magpie says, “Sensei, I have a question.”

Wheel slices the ball into the net. Sigh. “Yes?”

“In all the histories, the ancient masters hear something and they’re suddenly enlightened. On the spot. Or it says something like they became enlightened in 1411.”

“On April 6, at 8:42 pm,” adds Piper.

“In the library, with a candlestick,” mutters Street. Click.

Wheel bounces his serve too high and Piper crushes a forehand that nearly pegs him in the face. “I always wondered about that,” she says, as the master retrieves the ball from behind a couch.

“Right,” Magpie says. “It’s like they passed their enlightenment final and a celestial gong sounded. What the heck?”

Wheel sits on the arm of the couch. “I hear you. Those stories seem a little too press release-y, don’t they?”

“So, how do you know when you become enlightened?” asks Magpie.

The master thinks. “You know when you have hiccups?”

The students look at each other. “Sure,” says Piper.

“So you try holding your breath or drinking a glass of water or whatever other remedy you’ve heard about and nothing works.”

“Ugh. I hate that,” Magpie says.

“So you just go back to whatever you’re doing and hope they’ll stop eventually. A half-hour later the hiccups are gone, but you didn’t notice when they stopped.”

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