ˈpʌf(ə)ri/ noun
noun: puffery
  1. exaggerated or false praise.
    “his puffery actually was not far from the truth”

The Hippo gnawed out a long, gestating breath which fell heavy across the room. In tall towers gilded silver did such beasts puff themselves into ruinous tribal effigies, towered like totems matched foot to shoulder with those below. Heaving like some beached beast of the sea he stretched and strained in his confinements, his weight a great and gruesome millstone dragging like gravity, as though his meaty form were some leg of flesh set to the centre of an overburdened table where it slipped between the seams, dragging the cloth and all that was set down with it.

I matched shut my leaded lids and let between my lips slip a sigh as soft as silt, which drifted like a cloud between unknowing ears. To care, to care was a hatred I harboured within myself. For in all the wide world there is not a segment set with more care and delicacy than any other, and none less so than this beleaguered Hippo.

But, lo, in such moments the mercenary hearts of mutinous men glow shimmering beneath a reckless light. And with breath did the glowering Hippo push, in arrogance, a cursing life into effigies of clay which clung to that aberrance, and, lo, such did they applaud. With renegade puffery whose cacophony was as  a multitude of falling hooves hammering against stone, pulped to dust.

The Hippo leant back, a slack and sickening smiles stretching taut between his cheeks, his bulging body a wrecking ball that strained and settled and strained again like the shifting form of antique stonework carved into the living earth. And he smiled as they adored and simpered and sought favour and fortune and dug into the folds of him like men of the mines gnawing for gems of amethyst or jet. And he boasted again of the simplicity of things and spoke, drawn out, like spilling honey, on the worth and want and value of plaudits, even as lift him they did to their crippled, broken shoulders, no worth or want in a word, only empty flattery dragging down, down, down.



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