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Piqued - A Toki Ponist Adventure
Chapter 15: Fleuron

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ilo kipisi li wile ala kipisi e ona.
mi insa li wile ala pilin e mi.
Toki Ponist Pu

Managing expectations is best done as an afterthought. Joakim and Julian waited behind the elderly couple. And they waited for the sliding doors to open so they could go back home or whatever their plans were. Joakim brushed off the dread creeping up his legs, but some of it still reached his stomach. There seemed to be an awful lot of uniformed men outside, and they took a disproportionate interest in their arrival. It struck Joakim as unlikely that they were there for the general wellbeing and protection of the people. The elderly woman before them could, in theory, be a cleptomaniac drugs-pusher. Maybe they found Julian’s parents, and they came to save him. But that was not really necessary, because Joakim had done all the saving already. Neurons fired in unison towards a single conclusion.

“Hands up!” one officer yelled when the elderly couple had made its way out of the cabin. They faked a run as best as their age allowed, which displayed most of the mimic but carried none of the speed.

“No, look,” Joakim said. He grabbed the two tickets from his pocket. “I have tickets for the ride down, I just forgot to use them.”

“Hands up. Now! Let the boy go.”

Let the boy go? Joakim looked down and noticed how he was holding Julian tight to protect him from the stressful situation. He loosened his grip, but Julian remained at his side. When three other officers approached, repeating their commands, Joakim raised his hands above his head.

One friendly looking police officer lured Julian away from Joakim’s side. After that things progressed quick. Five men in total closed in on him. They took wide stances as if to catch Joakim if he would try to run away. Joakim had no intention to run away. Joakim blinked and before he knew it, two officers grabbed him from behind and compressed him onto the floor like a folding chair. Four of them sat on his back, and Joakim found it hard to breathe. Blood trickled into his eye, harbingering the onset of pain from the fall on his face.

“Cuff him and get him up,” the only officer standing said. “Sofort!“ When Joakim stood on his feet again, he searched for Julian. “Filthy foitrottl,” a voice said behind him and a fist tried to enter his kidneys from behind. Joakim cried out.

He had to close his right eye because blood dripped into it. With his left, he could make out a familiar shape. It was one of the women meditating on the rock yesterday. Wilm…ula… or something.

Joakim mumbled, because he had nothing more to give. Nothing seemed to move ahead for a while. Two men held him or at least one strong man. One officer was chatting on his radio, while two others kept bystanders at bay who were now filming without shame on their smartphones.

The man on the radio walked up to Joakim and pushed up his chin to look at the wound near his eyebrow. When this satisfied him, he let go. “I saw you cavorting in the woods with this boy who has been reported as missing. Multiple witnesses saw you chase after him when he tried to flee from you.”

Joakim saw Wilmula point at him while talking to one police officer. “No, I…” he tried.

“We also have photographic material of you throwing rocks at the boy near water.” The officer then hissed at Joakim. “And you spent the night on that mountain with him. I don’t know what you were up to out there, but we’ll find out and you won’t enjoy the consequences. We looked you up, mister guru almighty. Y’all seem so wise and charming. But when the party ends, you are yet another sexually degenerate cult leader, manipulating innocent people into your deranged thought system.”

Joakim wanted to counter the accusations, but other than knowing he did nothing indecent to the boy, he had not much to say for himself as a guru, especially concerning the last few years.

“Take him away,” he said into Joakim’s face. The powerful man behind him now pushed him forwards towards the filming crowd. In the meantime, the mob had gotten air of the accusations.

“Pervert!” someone yelled. “We’ll dib you up good when we get the chance.” Joakim got hit by an egg in the neck. It exploded, and stickiness oozed down his shirt. “Sicko!” Another egg, this time against his chest and hard-boiled.

“Stop with the eggs,” said one officer, holding the crowd back. “If you stop protecting child molesters!” someone replied.

“New world order!”

Joakim got pushed into the back of a police car. They rubbed a towel over his face and neck. This was not an act of kindness, but to protect the upholstery from getting too much blood and egg wash over it.

When Joakim paced up and down the holding cell of the police station about an hour later, the peace accompanying solitude returned. Tiles decorated all the walls and floors, and an uncomfortable bench under a drafty small window lured Joakim to take a seat again.

Part of his plan had been getting Julian back home. He assumed that part of the plan had succeeded. The police figured out who he was, so that was also a good thing. But there were also a few less pleasant outcomes. He was being accused of several atrocities. Even though they’d not have any physical evidence, there was no way they’d take his word for it, and they would put the denial of Julian to the accusations as Stockholm syndrome or Joakim doing esoteric manipulations on him. And maybe Julian would parrot what the interrogators wanted him to say and then Joakim could behind bars for a long time.

And then there was the social media. Footage of the arrest, including the wild accusations of the people’s tribunal would be all over the internet. Combined with the previous viral videos, it would add up to more misery. Public opinion would not be on his side, and he had already had a taste of lynching mobs.

Then Joakim realized two things. He was a guru, and he was a scientist. At least earlier in his life. Pacing up and down a room and sulking on a bench were not the approach of either archetype to solving an intricate situation like this one. He proposed to himself to meditate and come up with a rational, waterproof, reproducible solution for getting out of this mess sane and alive.

Joakim repositioned himself on the bench, and before clearing his mind put one last thought into his attention. What does it feel like to be a mountain?

After what felt less like a mountain but more like half an hour into the mediation, there were no fresh ideas and nothing was waterproof. He got up to eat the buttered bread and ham that a prison guard shoved into his cell while he was meditating. He had heard and ignored it. Life is having a beginner’s mind. Everything you do, you do at your level, which is always both lower and higher than it could be. He had been meditating like an absolute beginner. It would take him at least four more years of intense training to get even close to the required level. There was no vernacular for lazy meditation tourists to reach the peak of enlightenment.

But he had already been once on that mountaintop. He had tumbled down to the bottom, but he had seen the mountain for what it was. He tried again. What does it feel like to be a mountain? He stretched his arms like slopes. His legs turned into stone, his head an active volcano. His brain erupted and black smoke engulfed Joakim.

“You’re in the wrong domain though,” the voice of Kalisa said. “We need to reconnect to the fictional realm.”

“The what?”

“If you were part of a work of fiction, your life’s story would have a high level of sadness. Given the number of potential works of fiction, it is likely that you are in one. So grab that thread of sadness with both hands.”


“There is no how here, and there is no where, when and what. What remains is wile and wile ala.”

“Only the want and need, and the lack thereof, remains,” Joakim said and translated the toki pona words from deep within.

“Finish this sentence,” Kalisa said. “I wouldn’t be much of a guru if I..”

“I wouldn’t be much of a guru if I couldn’t will myself out of this mess.”

“Out of what, Tipi?” a man said across him. Tipi had found himself in a medieval library with limited historical accuracy. Large stones stacked up with mortar to form thick walls. Impressive wooden bookcases filled most of its surface area, though, and were brimming with books and manuscripts. A fireplace lit up the room with the help of candles scattered across the chamber on small side tables filled with books as well. Tipi was sitting on a comfortable recliner with a cup of hot tea in his hand.

The man sitting across from him reading a book called ‘The Smoky God’ was Gary The Storypolist. “Gary?” Tipi said to him.

“Yes, it is indeed I, and I am not fully insulted that you ask this question while we’ve been having tea for two hours already.”

“I don’t recall—“

“You splitting up into multiple space-times is very inconvenient, Tipi. Just will to recall everything and you will be fine.”

Tipi willed to recall everything. He had merged his memories of the Joakim of the last two days with the identity of The Toki Ponist on the Mountain. A nostalgia for cheerful walks around his cabin, the conversations with his imaginary pet cat, and many unlikely adventures enveloped his current experiences.

“Too bad you will have forgotten everything again in a short while,” Gary said.

“Gary. You were just telling me about the first time you taught me to do storypolation,” Tipi said.

“Yes, indeed. Also, say hi to our friend here.” Gary pointed to an empty chair to his left.

“Oh hey, Ferdinand Feeler of Interdimensia,” Tipi said to the stationary droplets of mist hanging suspended above the seat’s cushion.

“I think it’s time to try it again, Gary.”

“Then let’s do it! Ferdinand and I will keep you in check.”

Tipi yarned an initial plotline. He yanked it into three acts that broke up into twelve movements. This was the straightforward part. He proceeded to snowflake the central red thread until it was blue. He bended the character arc until it almost snapped and then knotted it to a motive on either side. What else could he have done? What else had he wanted to do? Nothing. He had been rather pleased with his approach to everything on the mountain, including mocking a stone balancer and provoking the fake meditating women who would all later snitch on him. To excavate the narrative fabric, he continued to dig a deeper theme. He unthreaded the fabric and started sowing together the plot holes that only increased in number. By proposing a leap of good faith, he introduced a deus ex machina of hopping bunnies that could spring into action. However, Tipi switched to the second perspective in the third voice to skip the beat. A rift in feature space opened up and Tipi dipped his finger into the rift until he felt a cold and dirty surface. He wrote a word on it.

“And now reconnect to the time rift or we all blow up into tiny fleurons,” Gary said.

Tipi could feel the mist that is Ferdinand in his neck cooling his thoughts into tranquility and giving him the focus he needed to finish the task. He zipped up the space rift in the sixth ortho-normal direction so that a slit in time fell open.

“Good luck,” Tipi heard Gary say.

Tipi let himself fall into the time rift. The slit closed without a pilcrow.

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