Mountain Qualia

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Summary

Tipi is a grand master guru who has recently lost his gift of enlightenment by stumping his big toe and now has to cope with not living in the present anymore. When his followers set him back on a path of reclaiming his position on his mountain top hut, he meets clever 6-year old Julian who has lost his parents during a hike. Now, while trying to get Julian home, Tipi has to figure out what The Mountain really means in his life.

Genre:
Adventure / Humor
Author:
NullElement
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
6
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
13+

Chapter 1 - Nov 1

“Thump!”

It was not a big sound. In fact, nobody noticed it in the rumbustical activity of the crowded village street. But for one man, this teensy sound was extremely significant. You could even say this was the most important event in his life, right on par with being born.

“Naaaa!” the man yelled out lifting up his arms to seek the aide of the ancients. But Their help was clearly not due soon. “The agony!”

The pavement was wide enough to dance on, and very new. The village council had been renovating the entire street last month. And except for the unsightly flower urns and the sudden appearance of surveillance camera’s at strategic positions, there wasn’t much to complain about. However, somewhere on the concrete plains, there was a disturbance in flat-land. An unsurmountable summit rose out of the desolation. And if you think this is a grotesque exaggeration, because that one tile only stuck out an inchling above the rest, you have clearly not read the rest of this story. In that case, please carry on.

And you are right; it is easy for a human foot to rise above this satanic summit. And the big toe of the left foot of this man, often addressed as Tipi, would agree if it had any consciousness on its own. But it was propelled forward by a long chain of bones connected to ligaments and muscles and nerves and what not. There were too many things involved to point to a single one for blame. The toe hit that concrete precipice.

There was immediately damage. The nail which had been due for maintenance for some time, tore just a tad too far to be acceptable. And from a small cut blood flowed. It took some time more for the nerve endings to come to terms with the current situation and gather enough confidence to send a distress signal to the powers that be. This signal resulted in the first yelp of Tipi.

Feeling powerless and clearly overreacting, the nerves sent out an all-out panic wave that in the brain translated into a feeling of having lost the nail entirely, crushed the bones in multiple places, and being skinned alive. It resulted in a disintegration where mind and body could no longer occupy the same region of space-time. It was in this instant that Tipi lost the gift of enlightenment.

A middle-aged woman had reacted to the outcries of Tipi, dropped her groceries and scuttled towards the agonizing male figure. Not sure what to do, she rubbed his back. This resulted in Tipi launching a series of coughs, to which the woman responded with more violent patting on the back.

“Stop it! Stop it, woman!” Tipi managed. “What the hell are you hitting my back for? As if I’m not in enough agony.”

“Are you alright, sir?” the woman said, undeterred.

“No, I am not alright!” He pointed to his left foot. “It’s my foot. It hurts. Who did this?”

Tipi looked around to see who could have committed this heinous act, but he saw only confused faces of simple business professionals, tourists, and giggling kids that should have been in school. Because everyone looked suspiciously innocent and the dawning of actually not even knowing where he was exactly scared him, he returned his attention to his podiatric problem.

“Why am I barefoot? Who doesn’t wear shoes in the middle of the street? What kind of person am I?” He looked around again knowing full well nobody would respond to his rhetorical questions.

The helpful woman, who also did not know the answer to all the questions posed, also could not help feeling ignored by Tipi and was seriously considering whether her help would reap the karma points she was hoping to get out of the interaction.

Tipi sensed the woman felt left out.

“And what are you still looking at? Shoo! Get lost! Or do you want to comb my hair with a fork or do something equally painful to some other unrelated body part?”

The woman let out some air, quickly took up fresh air, picked up her groceries and took off, leaving Tipi unattended. He hopped around on one leg and observed himself in a shopping window. He wore extremely loud yellow shorts and a shirt with a weird geometric pattern. He felt his chin to confirm that his reflection showed more beard than he had hoped.

“Tipi!” someone yelled across the street. He hopped to the side and saw three men dodging the slow traffic to come to his aid. Their faces looked very familiar. At least they would if he could remember them, which he couldn’t.

“Tipi, master, are you alright?”

“Yes, yes, fine, ” Tipi said while the word master sung around in his head, disabling the alarms that had made him respond like a jack-ass moments before.

Two of the three men lifted Tipi at the shoulders, while the third opened the door to a nearby coffee shop. They took him in and dropped him into a booth. The pale tall curly guy gestured to a server for coffee, while the even paler bearded, stocky one dropped to the floor to bandage Tipi’s foot and the dark-skinned man in glasses put things on the table in order insofar that was not already done so. This included sorting the condiments in alphabetical order.

Pampered, bandaged and caffeinated, Tipi gazed into the blank stares of his three rescuers.

“Who are you again?”

The three exchanged eye contact. “You know us, Tipi. mi mute li jan Powe li jan Sikejo li jan Palisame.”

Tipi looked at them in wonder.

“Why are you talking funny? What are your names? And I don’t mean that jan this jan that business.”

“I’m Lenny,” the bearded man said. “And these are Alex and Ford.” He pointed at the curly man and his spectacled companion.

“Great. Lenny, Alex, Ford. Who are you?” Tipi said while taking a sip of his coffee. And while the caffeine switched some tracks in his brain, he added: “And who am I?”

“We’re your devout followers, ” Alex said.

“Followers?”

“Disciples if you want. You are our guru, grand master, enlightened soul and guiding compass on the path of light.”

“I’m enlightened? Is this how that feels? Because my foot hurts and I am not happy about that. I feel irritated and this strong coffee is only making that worse. I’m not afraid to admit that I am in fact terrified because I do not know who I am and, ” Tipi squinted. “I am particularly peeved about that stupid beard of yours, Benny.”

“Lenny, ” Lenny said. “And I modeled my beard after yours.”

“Exactly, ” Tipi fondled his chin again, “I have to get rid of this as well.” He searched for reflective surfaces and grimaced in annoyance at his own doppel-image whenever he found one. “Everyone is looking at me funnily too, ” Tipi said when he found many faces in the coffee places had turned to him.

Alex turned to Ford and whispered in his ear. “He’s off his rockers. What are we gonna do?”

“I dunno man, ” Ford answered. “We have to get him off the street before he embarrasses us all.”

“We’re gonna take you to a place where you can rest, master,” Alex said out loud to Tipi. “Lenny, pay for the coffee while we help Tipi into a taxi.”

“Why am I always the one taking the bill?” Lenny said but took out his wallet.

“Money isn’t important, Lenny. Like Tipi didn’t teach you anything. And what about compassion and gratitude?”

Lenny snorted right before radiating a smile to the waitress who grasped a handful of bills from Lenny’s hands. “Now let’s go, go, go,” Ford said. He pushed both Alex and Tipi out of the booth using the vigorous gesticulations of a stressful man without any physical contact.

“Now hold on, all of you,” Tipi said. “I’m not going anywhere with a bunch of strangers just like that.” He did get up from his seat, not in compliance, but to strike a defensive tai chi pose. “And why all men? Don’t I have any female followers?”

Tipi looked at a large framed picture at the end of the coffee shop that he had not noticed before. There was something strange with that picture, he was sure.

Alex sighed. “You have plenty of those, half the world knows you. And we’re not kidnapping you to anywhere. We’re just going to drop you into a taxi and get you to a pleasant hotel where you can get back into your senses at peace.”

“Wouldn’t a hospital be a better place for me?” Tipi said. “I don’t feel particularly sane at the moment, and I would hate to get hurt without having been properly introduced to my soul.”

The three turned to each other and shook their heads.

“No,” they said in unison. “Meditation will do you some good, I am sure, ” Alex said.

“Fine then,” Tipi said and he walked out of the coffee shop being gently pushed along by Ford. “Bye!” said the framed picture of the mountain as Tipi left the premises and Lenny closed the door behind them.

About half an hour and an awkwardly silent and crowded taxi ride later, Tipi found himself left alone in a double room of The Kucha Hotel. He wondered whether it was the memory loss or that this was a rather quaint hotel. It occupied only the sixth floor of an otherwise ordinary apartment building.

“They only speak Russian here, ” Alex had said. “But that is ok.”

“How is that ok?” Tipi had interjected while being pushed by Ford into the elevator. “Are we in Russia?”

“No, Canada.”

He had pressed the button six next to which was a red plaque with gold plated letters which probably said something like “The Kucha Hotel” in Cyrillic. “Now don’t you worry Tipi, you just take your time in your room and we’ll visit you tomorrow morning after breakfast.” Lenny had said.

“Don’t go anywhere, ” Ford had added.

“Do some meditation, let your foot heal, that sort of thing.” Alex had said.

So there he was. Alone in his room with two beds to choose from. He first let himself fall backwards on the bed closes to the window. Immediately the sun punished him by sending a glorious ray of light straight into his pupils. Tipi squinted, got up, closed the curtains and tried the other bed. He looked right into the small bathroom. There was carpet everywhere, including the bathroom.

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