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Piqued - A Toki Ponist Adventure
Chapter 12: Coalescence

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soweli li pona ala tan mu ona.
jan li pona ala tan toki ona.
Toki Ponist Pu

They sat around a small campfire they had created using a small survival kit in Julian’s pocket. Was it very odd to Tipi so see in Kalisa as a person in the flesh? Or was it was weird that this woman who came to them from the cave had been in his dreams? After Julian’s near fatal jump, he had said next to nothing. Tipi had tried. Was it missing his parents, or being lonely or bullied in school? Julian had replied. “It’s life.” Tipi had given him a schnitzel lunch for dinner, and soon after the boy had fallen asleep again.

“You and I need to have a chat,” Kalisa said.

“You’re not as frivolous as the Kalisa spooking behind me in my dreams.”

“Dreams have their own color palette. I don’t have full control of how I sound in your noggin. You have a say in how things come across.”

She sat down on the other side of the campfire and warmed her hands. The mountain had become cooler since the heat of the day. “I could not get into contact with you for over two years,” she said. “What happened?”

“I don’t think asking me questions will get you any answers as I am a perfect void on how I ended up here, and also about how you ended up here. What were you doing in that cave? How did you find us out here?”

Kalisa did not respond.

“Tell me what you do know.” she said instead.

Tipi told Kalisa most of the story, starting from the coffee shop to running away from the crow men.

“You think you are The Toki Ponist on the Mountain? Is that why everyone is calling you Tipi?”

“That’s what I’m told. Wait. I’m not?”

“No!” Kalisa stood up and laughed. “You don’t know anymore, do you? You are just Joakim, nothing more. I can keep calling you lumpy-dump if that fancies you?”

“So, what the hell am I doing here then?” Joakim said.

“And why couldn’t I contact you?” Kalisa asked in return.

“They said I was enlightened.”


“My followers?”

“You don’t have followers.” She laughed again. “We would never have wanted any either.”

“What can I say. Sometimes you get served something you didn’t order.”

“If you were out of your mind for over two years, where on earth or beyond was your consciousness then?” Kalisa said. “Did you have an accident or a traumatic event or health issues you never told me about? No, right? There is no reason for you to just let yourself go poof.”

“I told you, I don’t know.” Joakim answered. “Other than the vague assurrance that I know you from somewhen, that’s about all the memories I have of you. Trusting you is my first instinct, but I don’t know if I should. You haunt around my back in my dreams and then you step out of Plato’s cave, telling me I am not the enlightened spirit everyone holds me for. But there you are, emerging from a goddamn cave like a Yogi Bodhidharma. So let me ask you a few questions. What have you been up to those two years? Were you stuck inside my head for all that time?”

Kalisa performed a small belly-dance. “You think I’m some sort of genie? Are you expecting me to grant you three wishes? You don’t have to worry about me, I have my ways of moving around as you will remember once you remember.”

Joakim rubbed his arms to warm them in the cool evening air.

“No straight answers from you then. You are casting serious doubts on the already dubious intentions of my so-called followers who drugged me and then brought me across the globe. I’m also being chased by crow fanatics. And you top if off by blaming me for disappearing on you. The most real thing is this boy asleep next to me, and he just tried to abandon me and the world by ending it. So if you would please from your elevated position tell me what has been going on with me, I’d be much obliged.”

Kalisa sat down again. “I don’t know what happened to you two years ago. We’ve ruled out the obvious things like psychosis, traumatic memory-loss, and you faking it. The only viable other option I see is that you were mind controlled by interdimensional beings.”

Joakim snorted.

Kalisa frowned. “Maybe not directly mind controlled. But a symbiotic bond with an alien lifeform. You could loose your consciousness if you were under the control of someone else or you were part of a larger one.”

“I’ll humor you. A larger what?”

“Consciousness. If you could extend your brain with a few extra cells like a memory stick, they’d become a part of you. Connecting with a rat, would eliminate the rat and you lose a bit of yourself. If you’d connect with another human, you’d both stop to exist and continue as a joint entity.”

“And that is your most sane theory? If I synced with anyone, it would have been with you,” Joakim said.

“Our brains never merged. Ours spin together like flywheels, keeping each other in motion. This is not the time to dive into my schizophrenic existence, I’m trying to figure out what has happened to you.”

“So, can you prove your theory?”

Kalisa stood up and reached out to Joakim. He swept her arm away in an automatic defensive response.

“Hold still. I just want to look,” she said while trying again to put her hands on Joakim’s head. She checked every bit of Joakim’s skull for any marks of a neural link. Then she checked his neck, shoulders, and arms.

“Nothing,” Kalisa said. “Can’t you remember anything about the skills we had when we were working together? Storypolation, rings a bell?”

“Story-what?” Joakim said. “No. Everything rings bells right now. My brain is one big one-man-orchestra of sounds cutting right through me. When do any of you get I am no longer who you think I was?”

“Relax. It will come back to you. It is in the best interest of space-time that you learn to fill the gaps and create fictional singularities again.”

“You don’t seem to understand that I am stranded on a mountain I’ve never seen, taking care of a boy who is way too young to be suicidal. And I am coaxed by people who think I have to find my way back to something that sounds like a terrible disposition. I mean, fictional singularities? Flying spinwheels?”

“Spinning flywheels,” Kalisa said.

“Cocking cogwheels, whatever, living alone for months in a hut on a mountain, having the burden of presenting myself once in a while to perform miracles like some geomancing prostitute. If that is the life I should go back to then, no thank you. I just choose not to believe it.”

Joakim threw a few sticks on the smoldering remains of the campfire and curled around it, next to Joakim. “If you say I am not The Toki Ponist anyway, I can just go home. Goodnight.”

“I thought you’d remember me,” Kalisa said, withdrawing into the shadows. “Keep an eye on the kid.”

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