9th April 2020

Alice, I should explain was by nature a pious and responsible individual with just enough of a sprinkling of the pixie dust to be in constant trouble. An avid supplier of music and good cheer to whomever would listen she would spend her time empowering, interpreting, sharing and all those other new positives that are so necessary when shuffling cards from a well dog-eared pack. Tasty as a well iced Bakewell tart Alice but needed a cherry flourish to be quite undeniably sumptuous. Her favored venue for afternoon entertainment was the ‘Predictable Hall’, so named because everything that happened there was similar to everything else, except for a new suit of clothes and a slight adjustment of focus.  The musical renditions were largely slightly out of tune, not sufficiently to destroy tooth enamel but some listeners reported needing transfusions of fermented fruit juice to refrain from constantly grinding their teeth. The menu was always surprising, both in its presentation and flavor, never looking or tasting precisely as expected from the written description.

Lion and Unicorn delighted in dancing, enjoying both the elaborate cymbal-ism of the mazurka and the inane pomposity of the Lancers; Sir Gaffray being more the leaping and coupe sort of creature, Sir Michel favoring the grand promenading chain. Sometimes they would mix their rhythmic inspirations, perhaps a mazurka quadrille set to some wondrous czardas or even if prompted a tango set with the decided taste of Buenos Aires after a glass of fiery Mate.

The major cause of contention between the protagonists was those eternal conundrums, whether processed or untarnished wheat was best for bread and the correct number of raisons per bite for the perfect plum pudding. Such discussions would rapidly escalate to legend violence and cause their immediate banishment from any civilized society. The pair had been physically thrown from more towns than could be put easily on a map. Alice found these repetitive disagreements and quite pointless resorting to protagonist physicality absurd, much as with the Tweedle twins. Understandably neither of the sparing pairs would ever recognize her objections in any meaningful way.

“Living in the confines of an asylum does not require the adoption of a theatrical representation of the role of madman, it simply requires the understanding that normal rules don’t apply or can in actuality be totally juxtaposed. The taking of medication, however well recommended by the staff will not increase your chances of finding comfort in the biased surface of the cuckoo’s nest. Once you decide to follow the white rabbit anything and everything is both possible and impossible; reality has an endless number of faces and none of them wear expressions of anything beyond fleeting acknowledgement.”

As is prone to transpire in Wonderland a mere mention of the White Rabbit by Unicorn immediately resulted in him appearing before them. For a change he was dressed in the full regalia of a herald to the Red Queen. Both Sir Gaffray and Laird Michel bowed with due deference to such a prestigious rank amongst mortal beast.

Laird Michel was a horse of long and sometimes overly tedious insight, rather like a vicar’s view of the universe when sermonizing officiously in the pulpit. Alice found the thought of bedlam appealing but the texture of the inherent straitjacket irritating. The step from provocateur to player is somehow just a toddle to far, even given the helpful rake of the stage.

“I used to think I was mad you know, then I realized that sanity is simply an excuse for avoiding thinking or doing anything of consequence.”

Alices addendum was suitably informative and quite rightly totally ignored.

 Lion and Unicorn lingual performance like their balletic prowess were equisite displays of improvisation, wonderful to behold but impossibly difficult to notate in any recognizable form. The very hieroglyphs on the page would have changed shape even before the ink was dry.

“Sometimes sultanas cannot be substituted with raisons and raisons not replaced with currents. The Corinth grape might be perfect in spotted dick and Eccles cakes, flavorsome grit to painfully infiltrate the tooth, the fruit of the Muscatel vine wondrous when soaked in heady distillations and present in plum duff. Bread and butter pudding requires sultanas, plump luscious fruits fresh from the seraglio’s lurid depths.”

Alice decided she would never fully understand the complexities of these subtle yet vital differences so cleverly reflected in Lion’s Vitus eulogy and therefore decided to remain forever a little outside the vine.

A conversation with you is like walking on eggshells.”

“Well you are walking on eggshells silly girl. Every inch of Wonderland is covered in the stuff. How many times has that ungainly egg fallen now Unicorn?”

“Twenty-six at the last count!”

“Are you sure? Seems more to me.”

“I said twenty-six and that’s what I meant.”

“Your wrong you horned buffoon.”

“Don’t you be calling me names you moth eaten sassenach.”

Alice stamped her feet angrily, but the two combatants cared not a jot. Battle was overdue and neither felt inclined to wait any longer.

“Bannockburn!”

The Unicorn spat in Lions face.

“Culloden.”

The riposte from Lion was both heinous and final. A sense of impending doom had descended upon the field of conflict with alarming chill, Alice, White Rabbit, Lion and Unicorn were all momentarily frozen in the forebodings of some yet to be completed text as opposed to the scribbled reminiscences of a previously belabored tale.

“Past present, day night, breakfast tea, no real difference lassie apart from the tang of marmalade against fish paste.”

Alice decided that of all the wise existing between here and there, today and tomorrow, maybe and surely, Laird Michel of Ravensbeak was most decidedly the least.

“Adding champagne to quite ordinary cream stout might easily turn all heady beers to Bonaparte shandy.”

Sir Gaffray Crowfoots eyes misted as if he actually were the ultimate expression of acute dystopia.

“You fellows going to jaw away the whole of the day or is a fight imminent?”

The Red King had finally decided he really should make some sort of appearance as half of the cards that had fallen so valiantly in battle were his very own red numerical guards.

“You Majesty, you do us all such great honor.”

Laird Michel, Sir Gaffray, White Rabbit and Alice genuflected with unbridled depth and sublimation.

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