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state: first draft
last update: 1999 September 3

Killing Buddha


By Kevin Kelleher

"If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!" - Zen koan

Renzo used to work in marketing and advertising. He didn't make much money that way, because he never understood the work and wasn't any good at it. Still, he was well connected and knew how to cover his incompetence with aggression, so he managed to stay in the business and fake an adequate reputation. Now he doesn't work at all, has more money than he can comprehend, and women fall all over him. Everyone who knew him before the big change says that he now looks fifteen years younger than his age, which is forty-five. Even his hair has miraculously returned to a youthful shade that looks completely genuine.

He spends his time circling the globe, seducing women, spending money, and sunning himself. Occasionally he interrupts this life-long vacation to build some unlikely business that invariably succeeds and is sold for an immense profit.

As far as anyone can see, he is quite happy with his life. I believe that he is thoroughly happy, and that the only dark cloud in his life is a recurring nightmare from which he wakes stricken with panic and bathed in icy sweat. Yet, even that dream comes less and less often.

He has many friends and companions. He is generous with his money and belongings, but more from calculation than from generosity.

I've met Renzo and found him to be a disagreeable, inconsiderate, and impatient man. I've asked myself whether I dislike him because I'm jealous of his money, success, and lifestyle, but my answer is always an emphatic no.

Renzo came to me because I am a writer, because he wanted to tell the story of his transformation, and because he wanted, if possible, to exorcise his nightmare.

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