Author’s note: I write short stories for fun. Recently, a collection of my short stories titled “Imaginary Friends: 26 Fables for the Kid in Us” got picked up by a publisher to become an illustrated e-book, which I’m extremely excited about. Of course, as a tea lover, one of my stories had to feature a teabag, whom I named Timmy the Tenacious Teabag. My idea for this character came about from this Eleanor Roosevelt quotation:

“A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.”

I’ve always had issues with this saying. For one, I prefer loose-leaf tea. Also, why must a tea bag be female? And yes, for certain types of tea, the water cannot be too hot or the tea will just be burnt and bitter.

So of course, with my teabag imaginary friend – I made him male. And also, he doesn’t have a very happy ending. But don’t let me give away too much. Here’s my tea story from Imaginary Friends, which I’m delighted to share with T Ching readers. Enjoy!  

Timmy the Tenacious Teabag 


The morale was low in the snacks pantry – after all, if you weren’t going to get eaten, you were going to get scorched in boiling water. The teabags and instant coffee sachets would often huddle together in the darkest corner of the pantry and bemoan their impending death sentence.

Timmy the Tenacious Teabag, however, refused to get looped into their circle of despair and plotted his escape. Some of the potato chip packets had told him how some of their predecessors had managed to hitch a ride from revolutionary rats who felt sorry for their captivity and ultimate persecution. They had managed to set up a meeting between Timmy and the revolutionary rat leader.

“Teabags seldom survive for more than a day in the outside world,” the revolutionary rat leader warned. “Why do you long for your freedom so much?”

“Please Sir Rat, I miss the mountains. I miss the smell of dew in the morning. Most of all, I miss being a plant again, spreading my leaves out in the sunlight. I really need to go back to the tea plantation again to restore my soul,” Timmy replied earnestly.

The rat nodded his head approvingly, and said, “I admire your dreams, Timmy. Very well, two of my men will help you to get out tonight.”

That night, Timmy was whisked away from the snacks pantry and brought to the revolutionary rats’ hideout in the storeroom. He expected to meet revolutionary rat leader to receive more instructions on how he was going to be transported to the tea plantation. But instead, he saw a horde of rats gathered around a broken teacup filled with hot, steaming water.

He had been duped! The rats wanted to drink him and had only pretended to offer him an escape plan. Maybe they’d devoured the packets of potato chips too! The revolutionary rat leader came out in a black silk robe as Timmy was being carried towards the teacup by two muscular rats.

“Thank you,” said the revolutionary rat leader, as he bowed respectfully at Timmy.

“How could you do this? You tricked me, you evil pest!” Timmy yelled.

“We need you, Timmy. You’ll provide us with the energy and focus to plan for our attacks tonight, and you’ll give us the antioxidants for strength to kill those cat terrorists who have been attacking us for far too long. Don’t take it as a betrayal. I’d hate for you to see it like that. You are now a heroic martyr in the much-needed liberation of repressed rodents.”

Before Timmy could say “rubbish”, he was thrown into the teacup with hot water. The rats clapped and cheered.

Moral of the story: You can never go back to your past again.  

Illustrations courtesy of Sheryl Khor.

If you’d like to read more of such stories, you can buy the e-book, Imaginary Friends: 26 Fables for the Kid in Us (US$4.99), on Kobo. Do join the Imaginary Friends Facebook Page as well!