Alice in Wonderland Interviews [1 of 3]
Surreal Fantasy / 3500 words
PREFACE: And now for something completely different… This is not, technically, part of the Xen’in Universe. These are fake (you think?) interviews with characters from “Alice in Wonderland,” which were included in a new edition of Lewis Carrol’s classic, published in 2012. These were my first attempt at writing something comedic… and they still make me laugh today, so I must have done something right! There are eleven interviews, overall, for a grand total of 10k words! So I’ll split these into three mails.
For your entertainment, Master Mangoose has conducted a number of interviews with some of the more emblematic characters in this book—with a few minor ones as well, for diversity’s sake.
We had initially planned to include a conversation with Tweedledee and Tweedledum... but the twins, alas, became unavailable. The Tweedle’s later twittered how they had been unexpectedly asked at the time to audition for HBO’s popular Game of Thrones—as a Walder Frey—though ultimately declined the part when they realized that the producers would not hire them both.
But let us begin with the most emblematic of them all...
Q: I am quite pleased, and very honored, to be given this opportunity today to speak with one of the world’s most popular icons: Alice!
A: Thank you. I’m happy to be here.
Q: In the first story, your character says: “When I used to read fairy-tales, I fancied that kind of thing never happened, and now here I am in the middle of one! There ought to be a book written about me, that there ought! And when I grow up, I’ll write one...” Would you say that this is, in effect, a biographical work, that Mr. Carroll wrote?
A: Oh, yes, very much. After I grew up—the more natural way, that is—it came to me that I was not much good at writing. I did not have this talent. It saddened me much. But, still, I did want my story to be told. I thought it might be of some use, especially to other children around the world. I wanted them to see that living in a fairy-tale is not necessarily all it’s cracked up to be...
Q: And yet, the book is very entertaining. It looks like you were having fun. Perhaps not all the time, but at least some of the time.
A: Of course. But the same could be said of my normal life as well—when I was a child, later as an adult, and now as a parent. There are tedious things to deal with, always, but there are also moments of pure bliss. I would not trade those for anything in the world.
Q: Do you encourage your children to go down the rabbit-hole, or to peer through the looking-glass?
A: Well, I’ve taken my eldest to visit Wonderland a couple of times. But I’d rather not let them go on their own. It’s not as safe as you might think, and I certainly wouldn’t want them making my mistakes. Besides, I had a few close calls, if you’ll remember. And I wouldn’t want to see my son drown in a pool of his own tears—how dreadful that would be!
Q: Now, there’s something I’ve been wondering about for a long time. When the rabbit drops his kid gloves and the white fan...
A: Actually, they were white kid gloves, and the fan was just a fan. No color.
Q: Right. So, when the rabbit dropped these, he then squeaked in fright and...
A: Rabbits don’t squeak.
Q: I beg your pardon?
A: I’m pretty sure they don’t squeak. In fact, in all the time I’ve known the white rabbit, I’ve never heard him make any inappropriate sounds.
Q: Squeaking is inappropriate?
A: Well, it would be, for a rabbit!
Q: Hmm. So, he didn’t squeak, but he scurried away and...
A: “Into the darkness.”
A: You forgot the “darkness” bit.
Q: Well, it’s not really vital information here... and could you please not interrupt me? or I’ll never get my question out...
A: Sorry. Please do go on.
Q: Now I’ve lost track. Where was I? Oh yes, so the rabbit ran off and you picked up the fan. You were fairly big at that point, how could you manipulate such a small object?
A: Really? That’s your question? (puzzled look)
Q: Yes, why?
A: It’s just... well... you’ve read the whole thing, right? And that’s the only bit that bothers you?
Q: Well, (frowning) it’s very confusing. Such a smallish instrument in such a humongous hand...
A: Now, now, I think you just need to relax and open your mind a bit... Here, have some treacle.
Q: Thanks (grumbling). Alright, moving on. Since these stories, you’ve been in many films and cartoons and comics, and even video games... You have become very popular. An icon, as I was saying at the beginning of this interview. How do you feel about that?
A: To be honest, it is overwhelming. And humbling.
Q: Humbling? That’s an odd way to look at it. I know many who’d likely grow infatuated with themselves...
A: That wouldn’t be very proper. Think of all those children who now look up to me. And even adults, now, as many of those children who have since grown still seem to, well, look at me like that. It’s a great responsibility.
Q: And with great responsibility comes great power...
A: I don’t understand? (looking confused)
Q: Never mind, it’s just a silly joke. And of all these other works you’ve done, which is your favorite?
A: Oh my, do I really have to answer this? Let’s see. They’ve all been wonderful experiences, to be sure. The Disney cartoon was great, as it really helped me reach out to a new generation. Likewise with the more recent Tim Burton movie... No, I couldn’t really say that I have a favorite, but these two at least have been most significant.
Q: The first story was published in late 1865, and you were just seven at the time... Which makes you, what, 154 now?
A: That’s very provoking! You shouldn’t ask a lady for her age...
Q: Sorry! I didn’t mean it like that (blushing) I just find it amazing how young you still look.
A: Well, that’s the greatest power of Wonderland...
Q: And with great power comes great responsibility!
A: What? (looking even more confused than before)
Q: You don’t read much comics, do you?
A: I’ve read a few, but I don’t really have time for them.
Q: What do you do with your time?
A: I spend most of it with my family. I have quite an extended one. Children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren...
Q: Well then, I shall let you go back to them. Thank you so much for doing this!
A: You’re very welcome.
2. The white rabbit
Q: And now, we shall have a chat with the white rabbit himself, who...
A: I hope this won’t take too long, (looks at his watch) I’m expected elsewhere.
Q: Oh, hmm, busy schedule?
A: You wouldn’t believe it! I have not one, not two, but three shoots to attend today. They’ll have my head if I’m late...
Q: I see (coughs). Let’s start with this, then... How did you get involved with Alice?
A: Involved with Alice? What is this, a tabloid?
Q: I meant “Alice” as in the book “Alice’s adventures in Wonderland.” How did you get involved in that?
A: Oh. Well, I met Alice when she first came to Wonderland. We became friends. When Carroll proposed to write her stories, Alice asked if I’d be willing to play myself. And, you know, who better than me to play me?
Q: That makes sense. So how did you get along with the March Hare?
A: He’s a fraud.
Q: How do you mean?
A: If he’s a hare, I’m a mouse. And if he’s mad, I’m sane.
Q: Uh... Okay. What about the Mad Hatter?
A: Now that one is really quite mad.
Q: What turned him mad?
A: I don’t know about turning...
Q: What made him mad, if you prefer?
A: I don’t prefer, but it does make more sense.
Q: That doesn’t answer the question, though...
A: Well you would have to ask him, wouldn’t you?
Q: Does it have something to do with Time?
A: We’re not friends. He doesn’t talk to me. I don’t talk to him. All for the better.
Q: And what of the Queen of Hearts?
A: What of her? (shudders at the name)
Q: Well, how do you get along with her?
A: Have you not read the stories?
Q: Yes, but how do you really get along with her?
A: You know, what people don’t realize is that these stories actually form a documentary. Because Wonderland is very real. As is the looking-glass world, which is in fact just another side of Wonderland—a backward side of it, in a sense (glances at his watch). But, in essence, what you read is how it is. So the Queen of Hearts... well, let’s just say it’s hard to keep your head fast on your shoulders. I even lost mine a few times.
Q: You lost your head?
A: Yes. But I found it again, thank you.
Q: And how do you feel about...
A: Do you still have a lot of these?
Q: A lot of what?
Q: A few.
A: Well, get on with it, already! I don’t have all day, you know.
Q: So, hmm, how do you feel about the second story?
A: What kind of a stupid question is that?
Q: Well, I mean, several characters from the first story were in it, but not you. And considering that the March Hare makes a cameo, I can’t imagine you must be too happy about that...
A: Tabloid mode, again?
Q: Excuse me?
A: Never mind. The “second story,” as you put it, is about the looking-glass world. I couldn’t possibly be in that, now, could I?
Q: Why not?
A: Do I look like a mirror image of myself?
A: I didn’t think so. Next question.
Q: You seem very much in demand, looking at all the stuff you’ve been in since...
A: Blah blah blah, yes. Question, please.
Q: Well (coughs) it seems Carroll wanted to picture you as an elderly rabbit, but that...
A: I’m me. You can’t take that away.
A: No but’s! I don’t care what Carroll wanted or not. I am who I am.
A: Listen, Carroll was a nice enough fellow, but I can’t pretend to not be me.
Q: That’s called acting.
A: Don’t be snappy with me!
Q: I just...
Q: Well... (looking a bit confused) So, you are who you are?
A: Of course!
Q: And you never stray from that, not for any role?
Q: And yet, some of these interpretations...
A: I don’t do “interpretations.”
Q: ... have been very different...
A: I’m just showing different sides of myself, that is all. But it’s all me.
A: Now you know. And... (looking at his watch) Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!
Q: Well, I...
A: This was fun, but I really should go! (quickly hops out of his chair, then through the window, and down a rabbit-hole)
Q: Oh! (stunned by the sudden departure) And so goes the white rabbit...
3. The Cheshire cat
Q: This is quite embarrassing... We are expecting the Cheshire cat to arrive any minute now. He warned that he might be late, and said that we should start without him... But, hmm, I’m not sure how to start an interview without the interviewee being present...
A: Just ask your question.
Q: Uh, what? Who said that? (looks around, not finding anything—let alone a cat)
A: I’ll be here shortly. Please begin.
Q: Well, alright (coughs). So, first off, Mr. Cat, you...
A: Call me Chess (a smile has now begun to appear, floating above a chair).
Q: Surely, you jest?
A: No (grins).
Q: Well... Chess, then, you’ve been called the “grinning cat”—and I can see why. How do you feel about that?
A: I’ve also been called the Cheshire cat (eyes and whiskers are now visible, highlighting the creature’s round face).
Q: That’s true...
A: You should ask me how I feel about that.
Q: And how do you feel about it?
A: I don’t like it one bit (grins).
Q: Hmm. Why not?
A: I grin. It’s a fact. I can’t help it. It’s a part of me. So, calling me a “grinning cat” is descriptive (his entire body has now taken shape, resting in the chair). It’s also perfectly natural and acceptable. However, I’m from Wonderland. Not Cheshire.
Q: One might think it was meant as some subliminal message from Mr. Carroll to make you some sort of symbol—perhaps a representation of Dinah, Alice’s cat...
A: One might think what one might want, but I am not Dinah. Now that’s a fact.
Q: Of course, but...
A: The thing is, now, everyone thinks I’m from Cheshire. And yet, I’ve never been there.
A: Not a once, not a paw.
Q: Right. So in the book... or, rather, in the first story, you come off looking like Alice’s sole ally in Wonderland...
A: Now if he had called me a Wonderland cat, that I would have agreed with.
Q: Uh, could we move on?
A: It’s not that I don’t like Cheshire, mind you, it’s just that I’m in no position to say whether I do like it or not.
Q: Absolutely. Now, about Alice...
A: Not that that has anything to do with anything. I mean, if I were from Cheshire, I’d be okay with being called that, even if I’d never set a paw there.
A: It’s just that I’m not from there.
Q: I get the idea.
A: So what’s the next question? (grins)
Q: How do you feel about Alice?
Q: Uh, do you want me to repeat the question?
Q: Ah. And what is your answer?
A: Well, I would say... that... I feel happy... but that does not sound like the right answer. Or rather, and more to the point, it’s not the right question.
Q: Let me rephrase that...
Q: Why did you help her?
A: I don’t know that I did. I just answered her questions. As others have.
Q: True. But you were not contemptuous. And, later, you went to her, at the croquet game... you seem the only one to have shown any concern for her at all.
A: She looked confused (grins).
Q: Hmm. Alright, let’s try something else. You told Alice that you were mad, but you don’t seem to be...
A: It’s an act.
Q: What, when you met her, or now?
Q: Uh... that’s not very clear. Are you, or are you not mad?
A: As much as anyone is.
Q: Okay (looks frustrated). What pushed you to accept the job?
A: If I had been pushed, I would have fallen.
Q: God! Why did you accept the job?
A: Why not?
Q: So you were just bored? (now seems annoyed)
A: I never get bored.
Q: You’re just messing with me, aren’t you?
A: No. I’m answering your questions... I thought that was the point?
Q: Alright, then answer this one: why are there only Hearts in Wonderland?
A: Oh, that’s a good question.
A: I’m gonna need a minute for this.
A: Go on, ask more questions, I’ll get back to you on that one.
Q: (sighs) Fine. Do you have any role models?
A: I only roll with the best.
Q: Hmm, that’s not... Never mind. Are there many other Chesh... er, I mean, other cats like you in Wonderland?
A: Of course. We live in the Courts. It’s very chaotic, but we put up with it.
Q: How is it chaotic?
A: Humans, you know.
Q: I’m not sure that I do...
A: That’s alright.
Q: Where do you go, when you disappear?
A: Wherever I’m not.
Q: What’s the use in that?
A: To be there, of course. Oh, and by the way...
The Knave of Diamonds danced with stars,
The Queen of Clubs chased after lights,
The King of Spades tried to start wars,
While the Ace of Hearts would abide.
Q: I beg your pardon?
A: That’s my answer to your smart question.
Q: What does it mean?
A: That’s not for me to say.
Q: Then how is it an answer?
A: Well, it exists. Which is better than if it did not. So, it is.
Q: You lost me...
A: How can you be lost if you have not moved while we talked? Or were you lost from the beginning?
Q: I’m getting a headache.
A: You should do something about that.
Q: I should, shouldn’t I? And the worse part is that it’s my birthday, today! And here I am, talking with a grinning cat...
A: You turned 42.
Q: Why 42?
A: That’s not a question, that’s an answer.
Q: So what would be the question?
A: I think you’re not the only one wondering.
Q: That’s not an answer!
A: So we’re even.
Q: I think I need to go rest... Thank you for your time, Chess.
A: (begins to fade, until only a grin remains) Feel free to call on me, next time you visit Wonderland. You amuse me (then, even the grin vanishes).
4. The Mad Hatter
Q: We are pleased to have you with us here today, Mr. Mad Hatter. Could you...
Q: I beg your pardon?
A: I’m not offended. Well, not much, anyway.
Q: I’m not following you...
A: I hope not! I’d get a restraining order against you, if you were.
Q: No, I mean... gah! Never mind. I was going to ask if you could tell us a bit about your experience working with Mr. Carroll?
A: Never knew him.
Q: Excuse me?
A: I don’t know.
A: Well, say something! I hope you don’t expect me to ask all the questions AND answer them as well, do you? Though to be frank, your questions so far have been somewhat lacking...
Q: I... hmm... You said you never knew Mr. Carroll, yet you did appear in his book, did you not?
A: Did I?
Q: Well, you are the Mad Hatter, are you not?
Q: Am I talking to the wrong person?
A: Are you?
Q: Could you please stop doing that?
A: I could if I knew what the hell you were talking about.
A: Silence won’t get you anywhere, you know.
Q: For the record, we are here to discuss Alice’s adventures in Wonderland.
Q: So you did have a role in that?
A: Of course.
Q: Alright! (looking relieved) Now we’re getting somewhere. So, I was asking, how did you get along with Mr. Carroll?
A: Who’s he?
Q: Uh... (blinks) You don’t know Lewis Carroll?
A: Hey, here’s a thought! How about I ask the questions and you do the answers? Maybe that’d work out better...
Q: I don’t think that’d fly... (suddenly gets a bright idea) Oh! I bet you must know him under his real name: Charles Dodgson... you know, the author of the book.
A: Oh! Dodo. Yeah, sure, why didn’t you say so from the start? It would have saved us lots of time, you know.
Q: Right. So. What was it like playing the Mad Hatter?
Q: I beg your pardon?
A: I’m not offended. Though I might be if you keep this up...
Q: I don’t understand, what am I saying?
A: You don’t know what you are saying? That can’t be good.
Q: Let’s try this another way... Why do you keep saying “Hatta”?
A: Because that’s my name. And I’m not mad.
A: The character was a bit mad, I’ll grant you... but not I, not the real me.
Q: Uh huh...
A: And I dare you to find “the Mad Hatter” written anywhere within the original text. I am only referred to as “a” or “the” hatter. Which, I am.
Q: That’s... interesting. And, er, I think you also appeared in the second story, “Through the looking-glass”?
A: Why do you always want me to “appear”?
Q: It just means “to have a role”...
A: Then you should say what you mean—and don’t you pull a “Humpty Dumpty” on me, now!
Q: A what?
A: As for having a role in the sequel, yes, of course. And this time I used my proper name, too. I insisted. It was truly quite provoking, this lack of identity in the first book. I couldn’t possibly bear it a second time! (looking at his watch) Good grief! It’s already six o’clock! Gotta run...
Q: Er, okay, well, this has been... fascinating... exhausting, but fascinating! Thank you for your time, Mr. Mad... er, I mean, Mr. Hatta.
A: Where did I put my cup? (standing and looking around as he leaves the room, muttering) I hope the dormouse didn’t drown himself in it again...
You can read more fake Alice interviews here:
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Text (c) 2012 by Alex S. Garcia.
Image by Guillaume Delacour, from the 2012 edition of “Alice in Wonderland”, edited by me.
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