From Jeff: Write a short piece containing a recipe for happiness.

My swipe:

A recipe for happiness

For a moment he thought the situation was hopeless, but then he saw an outcrop just off to the side. He threw his rope up, and nailed it the first try. He drove a piton into the rock, and hoisted himself up. It took all his upper body strength, but a wave of euphoria swept over him as he felt the balance of his weight win out, and his head rose above the ledge. And he was greeted with a smile.

He couldn’t suppress his grin as he finally pulled his knees and feet onto the ledge. “Well, hello there. I have so many questions. I don’t know where to start…”

The orange-robed woman politely but firmly raised her finger.

“The guru is waiting for you…so let’s take the first step on your spiritual journey: will it be credit card, PayPal or Venmo?”

He took out his phone and pulled up his Venmo account, and waved it at the woman. She glanced down at her tablet, and after a moment, looked up.

“The sensible spender plan, then. Very well. Follow me.”

She turned and headed into the cave. As he took his first steps, his innards were swirling with excitement, but just then he felt something vibrating in his pocket. He picked up his phone, and saw it was his wife.

“She knows I’m doing this today!” he snarled. He pushed the “busy” button, and continued inside.

Beyond the entrance they passed through a series of curtains, each intricately decorated with ancient themes.

Once again he felt his phone vibrate, but he ignored it. Finally, they arrived at a large, maroon curtain. After a dramatic momentary pause, the curtain was pulled back.

Admittedly, he was a bit disappointed. After a moment, he realized he was being perhaps a bit racist, but he had expected an old, Asian guy with a beard – not a young black woman in a smart business suit.

“Hello. My name is Gail. I’ll be your guru tonight. How can I help you?”
At first, his mind just went blank, in part out of embarrassment, but then the sense of wonderment returned and he found his voice.

“Oh Guru Gail, I have come so far! Please tell me, what is the meaning of….”

Just then, his pocket began vibrating again, and his face turned red.

Guru Gail glanced up effortlessly, and said simply, “Answer your phone, Dave.”

The attendant in the orange robe bowed, closed the curtain, and shouted, “Next!”