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Piqued - A Toki Ponist Adventure
Chapter 23: Management summary

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> ni li jan ale li pona: jan li toki wan li pali ante.
Toki Ponist Pu

Vere, something compelled me to buy your book,” Tipi said to Kathy on the phone, “and a book on dinosaurs too.”

“How have you been? Did you climb your mountain? As a figure of speech, of course.”

“I climbed one in the literal sense, and up there I found the hole where I kept the secret to enlightenment, or world domination, or communicating with interdimensional aliens. I don’t know anymore.”

“That’s marvelous,” Kathy said. Her tone betrayed she preferred the conversation to be more about her and her book.

“I have the illegitimate custody of a suicidal eight-year-old from abroad.” Tipi twirled the non-existing cord on the wireless phone receiver. “There was this chip in my toe.” He rubbed his neck. “Some think, I have to get to Antartica,” Tipi said.

When it remained silent on the other end of the line, Tipi continued. “I have no clue how to go about it, and I don’t want to insinuate that you could. But I need help.”

“I’m a bit at a loss for words and that is saying a lot for a chattermouth like myself,” she giggled. “But I do like the challenges you are setting yourself up against. Combining the extreme wilderness, lawlessness, sci-fi technology and child drama in the bitter cold is one hell of a mountain to conquer.”

The woman from the bookstore looked at Tipi with a mix of impatience and disbelief.

“Having said that,” Kathy continued. “I don’t think I can help you.”

“Do you have a way of contacting those three weirdos got us together?”

She laughed again. “The ones that made you wear the lovely lederhosen?”

“Yes, those three. Do you know them?”

“I haven’t heard from them since, but let me check my mail for the messages they sent me half a year ago. My publisher will get back to you about it. I have a PR gig now. It was nice talking to you, Tipi. I wish you all the fun you can have with the polar bears. Be the best you there is!”

After that, she hung up. The woman from the bookstore took the phone back. “And?” she asked.

“She mixed up the polar bear and penguin habitat.”

“Not that!”

“Oh, I mean, thank you very much for letting me use your phone, madam.”

“No, no, no. What did she say?”

“She said, she cannot help me, but her publisher will get back to me about a few old friends that might help me out.”

“And how will that publisher do that? Does he know where to find you?”

“I suppose he knows I am in this shop.”

“I’m also still here,” Julian said with a bored voice in the science section of the store.

This had all been a grand mistake. He had intended to never speak to Kathy after the mini-golf affaire, he would not receive any form of help, and he was taking care of Julian again.

“I heard you mentioning Antartica?” said the woman.

“I suppose you have a book on it that just burns from desire to befall into my hands at a very nice price.”

“I do not have a book on the matter, although there might be a book on the wildlife there in the nature section. What I wanted to say is that my son has been there, as a researcher at O’Killain Station.”

“Has he now? Did he like it?”

“He loved it. The people are very inhospitable, to strangers. You won’t get in without a good reason. They don’t do vagabond tourism.”

“You are right. I had closed that future path myself already.”

Tipi moved towards the door with the two purchased items in a plastic bag. “Are you coming, Julian? We have to make plans for the night.”

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