Tokenism

Tokenism, they called it, when they gave Bligliglabb his weekly coupons. Bligliglabb was glad of them, very glad, but he did not understand why they called it tokenism. Was it not couponism? Once or twice they took him aside and tried to din into his head the difference between a token and a coupon, and their isms, but Bligliglabb was dense, very dense, and could not twig. So they parked him on a couch in a corridor and had him brought a cup of tea from time to time, while they arranged for somebody to come and take him away.

That somebody was Poumfrex, of the tea strainer Poumfrexes. With his big potato head and garrulous manner, Poumfrex held no hostages to fortune nor saw the mote in his own eye. Other motes, other eyes, oh certainly, it was one of the things he was known for, far and wide. That is why they called on him. He was sentimentally appreciative of Bligliglabb’s denseness. He held him by the hand and led him out along the corridor and through the exit into the bounteous fields.

Bligliglabb was naturally concerned about his coupons. Keep them stuffed in your pocket, was Poumfrex’s advice, and it was well-meant, very well-meant. But when they passed by a well, Bligliglabb took the coupons from his pocket and tossed them down the well. Poumfrex turned him about and took him back to the couch in the corridor and told him to sit tight. Never had he encountered such denseness. It left him in a lather. Once he was out of sight of Bligliglabb he biffed his fists against a wall.

That day there were no further coupons for Bligliglabb, but they did have one token left in the pot. It was a lovely little token, round and shiny and stamped with the head in profile of Tippi Hedren. We’ll give him that, they decided, and sew it into a cloth pochette and sew the pochette into his pocket and that way the token won’t follow the coupons down the well. Poumfrex nodded, he could see the beauty in the scheme.

But dense as he was, Bligliglabb twitted them all. When Poumfrex led him out into the bounteous fields again, with the token in the pochette sewn fast inside his pocket, he let go Poumfrex’s hand at a critical moment and ran towards the well and jumped into it.

When they eventually received the permissions, they sent a salvage team to recover the coupons and the token and whatever was left of Bligliglabb. His soul had fled. The soul of Poumfrex was still intact, but it was dented and battered beyond repair, and thereafter he was to be found in mountainous terrain, among goats, a shadow of his former tea strainer dynasty self.

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