The Toki Ponist on the Mountain main page

Piqued - A Toki Ponist Adventure
Chapter 4: Simply Put

You are reading a chapter of the novel Piqued - a Toki Ponist Adventure. The novel is part of a larger universe, explore the rest here.

nimi pi ijo wawa li pakala e wawa pi ijo ni.
Toki Ponist Pu

“I am wearing these,” Tipi said. “And I think I can pull them off, as a figure of speech. But I also assume in most people’s eyes I still look ridiculous in these -“

“Lederhosen, “ Alex said.

Tipi hopped up and down while observing himself in the wardrobe mirror. The cheerful chime of cowbells livened up the room. Ornamented suspenders on a clean, light blue shirt held up the leather shorts. Ford had cut Tipi’s hair with haphazard precision that morning, but a green felt hat covered up that mess. Socks pulled up to the knees masked his pale, hairy legs.

“So tell me again why I should go back into the mountains. Nobody has seen me up in any mountain, so where would I go?”

“Our hypothesis,” Alex said, “is that you find that out by the hand of fate once you get there.”

“From my viewpoint, that does not seem like a very hopeful hypothesis.”

“You have to,” Ford said.

“That also does nothing to convince me.”

“You can’t do this to us!” Ford paced up and down the hotel room. “You made me find my peace, marry my wife, and quit my job to follow my passion for collecting and trading stamps. This all happened while you were up in the mountains. If you stay here in your current state, you will ruin everything!”

“What Ford is saying is that the world needs you to be who you are meant to be.”

“But maybe I am meant to be like this. Maybe I should go back to living an ordinary life. I have been reset. I died a video game death and restarted the level with a new life.”

“Fine!” Alex said.

“Great.” said Tipi.

“But we’re not accepting that.” Alex uncovered a piece of paper from his jacket. “We had an emergency meeting yesterday with the club and we scraped together enough money to fly you to Austria. We believe you belong there. From how we see it, you have little choice. Without your status as a guru, how will you get your life together? You have no home, no job, no money and if things are going the way they are going, you will lose your following, your reputation, and people will treat you like they did yesterday, like trash. Think about it.”

Tipi walked to the window and clung to the left drape. He gazed outside into the quiet street below and the gray apartment building in front of him.

“But because we expected your reluctance, we constructed a list of people you should talk to. With any luck, they remind you your teachings, or convince you to go back into the mountains by choice.”

The moment Alex had said the word mountain, a whiff of exuberance entered Tipi’s body, as if the tiny cow bells had penetrated his heart.

“If this is how you treat your master, then so be it.”

“We will treat you like our master, when you act like our master.”

“I look forward to speaking to people other than you guys, and without being called names. So who are on your list?”

“First on the list is Kathy Minder. She is the only one who is willing and has time to spare on such brief notice. We will meet her at a local sports club. She’s about to publish a self-help book and found a lot of inspiration in you.”

Two hours later, Tipi found himself outside a colorful building.

“I thought we would meet at a sports club, “ Tipi said after they introduced him to Kathy.

“It is,” she said.

“It’s putt-putt.”

“It is,” she said. “Come, you’ll love it. Amazing outfit, by the way. Where did you find it?”

“Let’s just play, shall we? Alex told me you wrote a book?”

Kathy radiated even more than she had before. “I did. Not my first either, my last one was number one on the New York bestseller list.”


“Thanks, and this one will do even more amazing.”

They collected the miniature golf clubs and balls from a clown in a clown-shaped booth. Kathy returned the score card, because they would play for the fun of it.

“I love the great outdoors,” Kathy said.

Tipi looked around the mini-golf course. “I’m not sure this counts as great.”

“No, silly. I love to hike in nature. One day, in the spring of last year, the dawn rose on me. These mountains, they are, like, a metaphor to life.”

“You don’t say.”

“Think about it. Life poses us challenges rising up in front of us. At first we’re not up to the task, but then we pack our stuff in a rucksack and face the challenge. On our way up, the higher we get, the more skills we acquire to reach our goal.”

“I suppose, “ Tipi says. Then they play three holes of mini-golf in silence. “My friends seem to think I can find my old self again in the mountains.”

“Totally agree, “ Kathy said, while scooping the small ball out of hole three with her middle and ring finger. “One hundred percent. All influential people were mountain people. You have the Greek gods who lived on Mount Olympus.”

“Gods are people too?”

“You can talk with Gods on top of mountains, because you are, like, so close to God. Moses received the commandments on Mount Sinai. Jesus, bless his soul, he had his sermons on the mountain.”

“Didn’t he die on a mountain too?”

“Exactly. Mohammed had his first revelations on Mount Hira. Shiva lived on a mountaintop. I totally did my research.”

The next hole was tricky because you had to hit the ball into a very narrow tunnel. But once you got it through the tunnel, the ball almost could not miss the hole at the other end of the tunnel. Tipi had to try six times before he got the ball across. Kathy did it in one go.

“Noah’s ark landed on a mountaintop when the water receded,” she continued. “But do you know why they all end up on mountaintops?”

Tipi had hoped Kathy’s story would resonate with him. Mountains are fun, but he could not help being bothered with how Kathy was talking about them.

Kathy took Tipi’s silence as piqued interest. “Because on top of a mountain, you get a whole new perspective on things. That’s a major thing in my book, and I just know you agree. Looking down, people are mere ants driving in their meaningless cars and living in their miniature houses. And you get to see new horizons. New mountain peaks which are new goals to achieve.”

“Oh, I see,” Tipi said. “You’re writing a productivity book.”

“Of course. I’ve developed a 16-step program based on my interviews with hikers, mountaineers, and rock climbers. Their stories show how anyone can get a clear focus, be more productive, and be more effective in their business.”

“And by doing so, succeed in life,” Tipi said.

“I knew you’d get it.”

“Oof, I hate this one.” Tipi investigated the next lane. It was a simple stretch of concrete with a half-cylinder concrete hill in the middle of it. At the top of this bump was the hole. Tipi hit the ball from the tee-off point but overshot by a teensy bit, causing the ball to roll down the hill on the other side. “I think this lane describes with greater accuracy how we try to achieve goals by climbing your type of mountains.”

“Silly you, it’s just putt-putt,” Kathy said. “Come sit with me.” They sat down on a bench and watched other people try their luck at the different lanes with various levels of success. “I would be more than happy to send you a copy of my manuscript. I think it just brims with the type of wisdom that you have so successfully tried to instill on us. I’m positive it will give you the motivation to be a successful guru again.”

In the background, two men burst out into a failed yodel concert. “Nice outfit, dude!” they yelled. Tipi grasped his suspenders and stood up. “I agreed to talk to you, but I have no intention to be sent to the Austrian Alps by blackmail. I just want my life back. Or the past of a different life. One where I can just be a happy citizen. And if the mountain is just a metaphor, I don’t need to go there in person at all. Just help me find a nice place to live and a meaningful job.”

“I don’t have my notes with me so I am not properly quoting right now, but someone once said that you don’t know what’s up the mountain when you are down below. But once you are at the top, you can look down on what was below. Then when you get down again, it’s like before, you can’t see what’s on top of the mountain. But now, you are still changed, because you have seen it.”

Kathy followed Tipi to the entrance. “You’ve been to the highest peak and now you’ve rolled down into a dark valley of insecurity. Even though you might have forgotten what it was like up there, you are a changed person. You can’t go back to where you were before, not even by climbing the mountain and going back the other side. What you can do is climb a new summit, set a new goal, be the best that you can be.”

“I can see how people buy into your stories.”

“Thank you!”

“It wasn’t a compliment,” he said, and then added: “What I mean is that I’m happy you’re doing so well but I just need to think things over.”

They returned the clubs and balls back to the clown in the clownish booth and headed into the parking lot where Lenny was waiting for them, leaning against his dirty minivan.

“You do that. It was an honor to meet you, Tipi, even though you don’t know how great you are.”

“Likewise, Kathy” Tipi said shaking her outstretched hand. “Fire up the van, “ he yelled to Lenny, who spit out his cigarette bud, trampled it and got in.

Read the next chapter