Alice knew she was running late when the March Hare overtook her, checking his watch and mumbling, “I am late..” to himself. Alice ran after the hare, she didn’t like being late for the tea party, but more importantly, she was hungry and would have loved some cake right about then.
She opened a door and walked into the courtyard where they always had their tea.
The Mad Hatter sat at the head of the table with the March Hare and the left and the dormouse to his right. The dormouse was busy typing away at his typewriter, though why a tea party needed its minutes recorded Alice did not really know. Alice noticed there were new guests at the tea table as she set her flamingo down and took her usual seat opposite the mad hatter.
The March Hare passed her a cup of tea and Alice thanked him as she took the cup. She snatched glances at the new guests at the table as she sat down again.
There was an angel with a halo around his head. And a bear who kept lifting his club up and down in one hand as he daintily held onto his teacup in the other. There was a large colourful parrot that was turning the pages of a book at a fast pace. Alice gave them all a smile and sipped her tea.
“Had a good round of your game, I hope.” The Mad Hatter said pointing to her flamingo.
“Yes, I did indeed. Managed my best score yet.” Alice smiled at the hatter.
“That’s my girl, the hatter smiled back.”
The March Hare checked his watch again, his ears twitched and his hips began to jerk in his chair, “it been an hour since I did it….could you help me out here…” he said.
The mad hatter swatted him with his hat and the bear threatened him with his club. The hatter sat down and began to pleasure himself. The tea party stared at him for a moment and decided to ignore him.
“You are all new recruits for the white Queen I assume,” Alice said.
“Yes. We are all her loyal servants. Long live the white Queen, may her glory spread to all the corners of the earth.” The angel said and his halo glowed brighter.
They all raised their cups in the air even the march hare.
“Yes, and death to the Red Queen.” The bear said
“Death to the Red Queen.” The table echoed.
“Miss Alice..” the parrot said looking at her and pausing in turning the pages of his book, “I am a big fan of yours.”
“Of mine…I don’t think we have met before.” Alice said.
“No, we have not met but we have all heard of your adventures. Of how you bravely killed the chief technology officer of the Red queen company.” The parrot said.
Alice put her cup down and looked at the parrot.
“I think young parrot here meant to say the Jabberwocky. Didn’t you Mr.Parrot?” the Mad Hatter said.
“Of course I meant the Jabberwocky,” the parrot said and began to flop through the pages of his book.
“But you said officer and company. Why would you say that?” Alice looked around herself.
“Great, thanks Mr.Parrot for saying all that and just close to tea time. Let me get the cake.” Mr Hatter and the March Hare went in to get the cake.
Alice looked around her. She couldn’t remember exactly where she was, she knew the courtyard and she had been here many times before, but where exactly was this? She looked at her dress and then at her flamingo which blinked back at her. What exactly did she do with her flamingo? Alice stood and stared at everyone.
The Mad Hatter and the March Hare returned, “cake is served” they announced.
A large cloud of acrid smoke billowed from the door, a white tea cake seemed to float out of the smoke. Alice blinked until she saw the caterpillar carrying the cake.
“Sit down Alice and have your cake, everything will be alright,” the Mad Hatter said.
Alice shook her head.
“Oh jeez, she is going to have a moment of clarity,” the caterpillar said as he placed the cake on the table.
“Oh hell no…” the Mad Hatter said as he quickly cut out a piece of the cake and placed it in front of Alice, “eat your cake, Alice.”
“I think I would rather not…” Alice dropped her chair as she backed away from the tea party. Everyone was standing now and staring at her. She picked up her flamingo and pointed it at them, they all raised their hands.
The Mad Hatter walked cautiously to her side, his arms raised, “come on Alice, don’t be a party pooper. Have your cake…it is delicious I promise.”
Alice was about to say something, but the Mad Hatter’s face began to melt and swirl. The whole place seemed to start melting. Alice shook her head and raised the flamingo. “Let me take that from you…” the Mad Hatter said as he took the flamingo from her, but it actually looked like an assault rifle.
“What is going on…” Alice said as she closed her eyes and shook her head.
“You are having a moment of clarity…calm down and breath.” She heard the Mad Hatter say. She took a few deep breaths and opened her eyes.
She was in a large tent, a desert wind made it bellow. Before her was a large table with several screens showing small villages in the desert. They were all soldiers, the March Hare who was staring at some porn on his screen, the parrot browsing through some manual, the bear hefting a dumbbell and the angel crossing his heart, all of them wore camouflage and sat sweating in the seats.
Alice looked at her own sweat-stained camouflage clothes.
“What are we?” She whispered
“We work for the White Queen corporation…” the Mad Hatter said as he helped her back into her seat. He seemed to be their captain, a leader of sorts.
“We are soldiers?”
“Well, not really…we operate machines for the corporation.” The Mad Hatter said.
“ But, these machines what do they do? They kill don’t they?” Alice said.
“They kill, we kill….innocent people…” Alice stared at the villages on her screen, “ I have wiped villages off the face of the earth…” she staggered back.
“Perhaps…” the Mad Hatter said holding onto her.
“Why am I doing this? I want out…” Alice said.
“You are doing this because you owe the corporation…”
“What do I owe them?
“Your life, your education, your job, basically everything…” the Mad Hatter said.
“I don’t want to do this anymore…I will escape…we will fight this…” Alice said.
“There she goes wanting to be a deserter again…” the March Hare said eating his cake.
“ We will find you and drag you back, Alice…just eat your cake and we can continue with things…”
“What kind of a reality is this?” Alice said staring at the cake.
“It’s a horrible reality, hence make your own…” the Mad Hatter said pushing the cake towards her.
“ It’s cake or court-martial Alice.” Said the March Hare.
A tear rolled down her cheek, “here come the waterworks again…” the caterpillar said as he ate his own cake.
“And what about them? Alice said pointing at the villages on the screen as another building was lit in a brilliant white light, “ do they have their own cake too?
“Don’t worry if they don’t have cake, they will eat bread…” the parrot said and nodded to the cake.
Alice ate the cake and gulped hard.
It took a few minutes, but she was back in the meadow with the tea party. She finished her cake, got up straightened her dress and picked up her flamingo, “ shall we have another game?” Alice said as she led the tea party out of the garden.