Alice in Wonderland Interviews [2 of 3]
Surreal Fantasy / 4000 words
PREFACE: And now for something completely different… This is not, technically, part of the Xen’in Universe. This is the second batch of fake interviews with characters from “Alice in Wonderland,” which were included in a new edition of Lewis Carrol’s classic, published in 2012. It includes my favorite of the lot: the interview with Humpty Dumpty!
5. Humpty Dumpty
Q: Everyone knows Humpty Dumpty—whether through the popular nursery rhyme or Carroll’s famous Alice in Wonderland stories. And he has appeared in numerous other places—be it films, novels or songs. And now, we have the honor and privilege of presenting you this exclusive interview with Humpty Dumpty himself! Thank you for being with us.
A: Don’t mention it.
Q: The first thing that I would like to ask, is how did it all start?
A: Well, arguably, there’s this theory about a Big Bang, though I have my doubts—
Q: No, no, I meant, how did your career get started?
A: With a riddle, a long time ago.
Q: Did you ever imagine that you’d end up this popular, to the point of becoming a cultural icon?
A: I did not imagine anything. I just knew it.
Q: You... knew?
A: Well of course! My talent was always obvious.
Q: I see (coughs). And how did you meet Carroll?
A: He knew of the nursery rhyme, of course—who doesn’t—and I guess he saw all that untapped potential in me.
Q: In a way, you owe him your career...
A: What? Are you crazy? If anything, he owes me. I was already famous before he came along. He was a nobody. Sure, his book was successful and has since become, well, near as famous as the nursery rhyme (frowns) but that’s because I was in it, you know? And if it hadn’t been Carroll, it would have been someone else.
A: That he wasn’t the only writer out there interested in using me. Had I accepted another offer, instead of his, that other author would have obtained just as much success.
Q: Just for having you?
A: Now you get it.
Q: Who else approached you?
A: I’m not at liberty to say. Actor-client privilege, you know?
Q: Actually, I don’t...
A: It’s in all the contracts I sign. No disclosure unless the book is released. Everything is sealed.
Q: Wait... You sign contracts even if the book doesn’t get made?
A: Of course. My time is valuable, you know.
A: It’s the first thing that I do when I get approached. Before we even start discussing anything, I’ll want a contract to be signed. Just to be safe.
Q: Wow. Well, I suppose your popularity warrants a bit of ecc... er, I mean, some measure of leeway.
A: Leeway, mayday.
Q: I don’t know what you mean by that...
A: Of course you don’t, as I haven’t explained it yet. I meant “leeway is a sham that only applies to those of little consequence.”
A: And, obviously, I am not “of little consequence,” so there is no matter of leeway to be considered. I am who I am, and it is how it is.
Q: Oookay. Hmm. Let’s talk about something else. You are often pictured sitting on thin walls, what’s up with that?
A: It’s very comfortable.
Q: Aren’t you afraid of falling and breaking?
A: Just because I’m an egg doesn’t mean I’m fragile! That’s just so... so... so discriminating! It’d be like saying that humans are stupid just because they look stupid—which, incidentally, they are... but that’s beside the point... and has little to do with how they look.
Q: I thought you didn’t like being called an “egg”?
A: My character, in the Alice stories, doesn’t. Please don’t offend me by confusing who I am with who I play.
Q: So... (coughs) Perhaps more to the point: do you feel like you have been typecast?
A: Yes! Absolutely. Not that I’d expect to play a duck, mind you, or even a human—God forbid! But you’d think writers out there would write us parts with a bit more substance. You can’t begin to imagine what we eggs have to endure. It can be so degrading, at times. So many women deplore how blondes are depicted in film—though me, I don’t see anything wrong with it, it’s all the other humans that are shown to be too intelligent, if you ask me... but anyway, for those who complain, well, they should walk in my shell and see how they like it.
Q: That’s a humbling perspective...
Q: Have you ever played characters other than yourself?
A: What do I look like, Brad Pitt? No, but seriously, Steven Spielberg did once ask me to play an egg in this big budget Easter movie he was planning to shoot. But I had no lines! And I was going to sit in the mud for most of the film, and I really hate dirt you know. It’s so... so... so dirty! See, this is a good example of what I was talking about just before. So I told Steve: “Look, buddy, I would love to work with you, honestly, but you gotta give me a real part. Like, you know, the Easter Bunny...”
Q: You wanted to play a rabbit?
A: Don’t be silly. No. It would of course have required some adjustments. Logical ones, I beg to point out. I mean, seriously, Easter Bunny? Whoever came up with that? Easter is all about eggs. Everyone knows that. “So, come on,” I told Steve, “make this more realistic. Forget Roger Rabbit. Cast me as the Easter Egg. You’ll have a major hit on your hands, especially with me as the lead.”
Q: Er, what did he say?
A: He wouldn’t hear it! Can you believe that? So, I quit. Right there and then.
Q: You turned down Spielberg?
A: I have my pride! Besides, the movie never got made. I guess the producers got antsy once I walked out. I’m that good, you know. Or maybe I just helped open their eyes and they saw I was right when I said no one would go see a movie about a stupid Easter Bunny... People love eggs, you know!
Q: I love mine scrambled.
Q: Er (coughs), right... so... I didn’t realize you’d worked in film.
A: It’s very frustrating. I mean, they keep casting me in cartoons... Cartoons! Really! How am I supposed to make any lasting impact that way? Or a living, for that matter. And only the kids seem to recognize me in the streets. How annoying is that? I just get weird looks from everyone else. Adults just don’t take me seriously. It’s a crying shame. There is so much untapped potential in me. I would be absolutely stunning in a big budget Hollywood blockbuster... I mean, come on, do I look like a cartoon character? Give me some credit, for crying out loud!
Q: Let’s get back to Alice... How well did you get along with Mr. Carroll?
A: Lovely man. Though a bit pretentious, perhaps. And I wish he’d given me more lines. I mean, come on, at the time he wrote those stories I was the most famous character that he was working with. You’d think he’d use that and feature me more prominently. Well, no sirree. But hey, no skin off my bones... which, incidentally, I don’t have. I do feel sorry for the guy, though... cause, you know, he could have sold a lot more copies if I’d had a bigger part. Just hellinhumming, really.
A: Yes. And by that, I mean: “Just shows how stupid humans can be when they focus on their ego and let their pride direct their actions.”
Q: I see. And you think this a purely human trait?
A: Of course! No other living creature could possibly by that conceited.
Q: If you say so...
A: I do!
Q: I’m impressed.
A: Thank you.
Q: Right. So. What are your plans for the future?
A: I’m not at liberty to say.
Q: Oh. That actor-client thingy, again?
A: Yes. Suffice it to say, I am very much in demand, as ever. So expect to see much of me in the future. I’m not going anywhere.
Q: Have you ever considered doing anything else than acting?
A: I’ve done some accounting, on occasion. It helps to pay the bills during dry spells—not that it happens very often, mind you.
Q: Accounting? (blinks)
A: I’m good at it, so why not? (shrugs)
Q: Have you seen some of the other characters again, since the book was written?
A: Sure. We often get to work together again when someone writes or shoots a new version—most recently, with the Tim Burton movie. That was an interesting experience.
Q: You were complaining about not making big budget movies, that certainly was one...
A: But it’s Alice! Am I supposed to live off of that for the rest of my life? I do have my pride, you know—
Q: (mutters) I know.
A: —and I’d like to do a bit more diversity, anyway.
Q: You must travel a lot, in your line of work?
A: Some. Though not as much as I’d like.
Q: What are some of your favorite places?
A: The hanging gardens, Xanadu, Shangri-La... I’m not a tour guide, you know.
Q: And what would be the best place to hide an egg?
A: I beg your pardon?
Q: Well, I’m already thinking of next Easter, and figured who better to ask where to hide an egg, than an egg?
A: (grumbles) I suppose. Hmm. Let’s see... (pauses) I guess a well would be cozy and warm. Though it’d likely be too moist. Wouldn’t want to catch mildew, that wouldn’t do... Perhaps a cavern. Or in a mazzagadda, maybe.
A: A “magic garden,” of course. Like the one in Wonderland that Alice keeps trying to reach.
Q: That’s a magic garden?
A: Of course! Only a stupid person would think it’s a real one.
Q: There is some evidence though that Carroll used the Cathedral Garden, at Christ Church—
A: Are you stupid?
Q: —in Oxford, as a model (frowns). But let’s move on, then. Do you still go to Wonderland?
A: Only when we shoot these. I don’t live there, unlike most of the others.
Q: Where do you live?
A: In my shell, of course.
Q: Yes, but—
A: I know what you meant! I’m not an idiot. But I’d rather not answer. Too many fans, you know? Wouldn’t want to be stalked.
Q: Alright. Can you at least tell us where you come from? There’s very little information to be found about your origins...
A: As to that, I have only this to say: suoicodilaipxecitsiligarfilacrepus.
Q: Another of your invented words?
A: Not at all! (looks offended)
Q: Oh. Well, I’ve never heard of such a thing...
A: Where have you been living? Mars?
Q: There’s no life on Mars...
A: So you think! There’s actually a large community of eggs up there... But I guess that doesn’t count, right? Because eggs don’t have souls, right? Because eggs are not living creatures, right?... Pwah! See, that’s the sort of discrimination we eggs have to put up with on a daily basis. We’re a minor minority.
Q: I didn’t mean—
A: Of course you didn’t! No one ever means anything anymore. What a world we live in!
A: I would hope so!
Q: One last question?
Q: Do you like omelettes?
Here, we are forced to censor the very violent scene which ensued.
Please accept our deepest apologies for the inconvenience...
It was really quite brutal.
Though we have it on good authority that no one was hurt.
6. The Queen of Hearts
Q: Today, we are pleased to welcome the Queen of Hearts herself in the Mazzagadda press room.
A: Hello, dear.
Q: (blinks) Uhm, hello. Your Majesty plays...
A: Call me Miss Ice. Please.
Q: How... informal.
A: I prefer it that way, when outside Wonderland (smiles).
Q: Alright. Miss Ice, then. I was going to say... that... (pauses) You know, you look... how can I put this... you look, well... I don’t mean to offend you, but you look a lot older than I expected.
A: I am nearly 600 years old, you know.
Q: And yet, in the movies, you look a lot younger.
A: Of course. They always pick the young and pretty ones to picture me on screen.
Q: Oh. I thought... I mean, all the other characters seem to play themselves...
A: I’m too old for that. Hollywood doesn’t like my looks (smiles).
Q: Well, the character that Alice met also looked younger than what you must have been at the time.
A: An astute remark, that. You’re very intelligent (winks). And you are correct. In fact, it was not I who was portrayed but one of my daughters, Crayeela.
Q: That would account for the differences...
A: Yes. She was a sweet girl.
Q: I don’t know if I’d say “sweet”—but why “was”?
A: Oh, she lost her head soon after the book was published, poor child.
Q: That’s terrible! What happened?
A: We’re not entirely sure... but from gathered testimonies, we have surmised that she was walking in the garden—well on her way to see the Duchess—when her head very suddenly rolled off. And what with her no longer having a mouth, we were unable to obtain a more satisfactory description of the events, you understand? She has been sleeping ever since, but we still have some hope to recover her head someday, and clear this wearisome business after all.
A: And that, by the way, is why she had to decline playing the Red Queen. It would not have been proper, without a head.
Q: Uh... I guess not. But then, who was the Red Queen? Surely, not you?
A: My no! What an idea! It was her twin sister, Creeyala. I love children so much. It’s a real shame that my husband is sterile.
Q: (blinks) Hmm, yes... twins. So that’s why the two characters are both so similar and so different?
A: Why yes, I suppose it is.
Q: I take it you have named her your heir?
A: My what?
Q: Your heir... you know, the next to be Queen, after you.
A: After me? What do you mean?
Q: Er, when you’re no longer Queen.
A: Why would I no longer be Queen?
Q: You... well, you could... get ill, for instance...
A: Nonsense! I’ve never been ill longer than a few minutes.
Q: Well surely, you must think of the succession?
A: (chuckles) I’ve been a Queen for near 600 years, no one expects that to change.
Q: But you never know what may happen...
A: Oh, don’t be silly.
Q: (coughs) Alright. You obviously have a very different temper from your daughters. Wasn’t that odd, seeing them act like that in those stories?
A: I don’t know.
Q: You... don’t?
A: To be honest, I’ve never read the books.
A: I couldn’t bear seeing my babies acting all silly.
A: It’s just not very important, anyway. It’s not real, you know.
Q: Interesting perspective. What about the other characters?
A: What about them?
Q: Well, I mean, except for Humpty Dumpty (grimaces) they’re all from Wonderland and, I guess—for the most part at least—still live there. How do you get along with them?
A: Well enough. So long as they don’t disobey me, all is fine.
Q: Do you say “Off with his head!” like your daughter did?
A: She said that?
Q: Yes. A lot.
A: (laughs) What a silly girl. No. I say “Roll his head off.” But, you’ll note, we keep it safe and always return it to its owner. And we only do this to deal with the vilest of crimes. Which are extremely rare in Wonderland.
Q: Oh (blinks a couple of times). Uh, and—
A: You really shouldn’t say “uh” so much, dear. It’s not becoming.
Q: (swallows) Sorry. And what would you consider a “vilest of crimes”?
A: Oh, I don’t know. Losing a pig, painting flowers the wrong color, things like that.
Q: I see. And what about—
A: You have beautiful eyes.
A: You were saying?
Q: (coughs) I, er, I was going to ask about breaking eggs... Would that be considered a capital offense?
A: My no! Though there would have to be a trial, regardless. But the worse sentence you could get would be having to glue all the pieces back together while listening to the Mock Turtle telling stories about tortoises, lobsters, and turtle soup.
Q: Well, I’m just glad we’re not in Wonderland...
A: Why, dear?
Q: Oh, hmm, nothing. Just a silly thought.
Q: You know, I wasn’t expecting this, but you’re proving quite a relief!
A: Haven’t had much luck with the others, I take it?
Q: That’s putting it mildly!
A: Well, you’re a very nice man. And very cute.
Q: Why, er, thank you... I think.
A: Did you have any other questions?
Q: Well, I think I’ve—
A: Good. Do you like pudding, by the way?
Q: Pudding? I guess so.
A: I’ll bake you some, if you like. You’re too skinny. You need to eat more, dear. How do you like mushrooms?
Q: I’m not sure about that...
A: They’re good for your health. I’ll toss some in the pudding.
Q: In... the pudding?
A: How about strawberries?
Q: Not with the mushrooms, I hope...
A: Of course! They mix very well, you’ll see. You don’t have any strange diseases, do you?
Q: (shifts uncomfortably in his chair) No.
A: I didn’t think so, but one can never be too careful. And how old are you?
Q: (stands) I’m sorry, but I hear my name being called. Thank you for your time, your Maj... I mean, Miss Ice.
A: My pleasure. Oh! Here, dear... (holds out a playing card) I wrote my number on the back. Call me! (winks)
7. The caterpillar
Q: We are pleased to present the hookah-smoking caterpillar... though today without his apparatus!
A: Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not here.
Q: Oh. Is it here, then?
Q: (coughs) So, I was wondering—
A: I am the most intelligent creature in the stories.
Q: Excuse me?
Q: Why what?
A: Why should I excuse you?
Q: Oh, no, I meant, why are you telling me that you are the most—
A: Then that’s what you should say.
Q: Right. Well, I am doing that now.
A: Doing what?
Q: Asking you. Why are you telling me that?
A: I’m not telling.
Q: Gah. You said you were the most intelligent creature in the stories.
A: Indeed I did.
Q: Why did you say that?
A: Because it’s true. And I knew you were going to ask.
Q: Er, no, I was going to ask something entirely different.
A: If you say so.
Q: My question is you see about—
A: Is I see? That doesn’t make any sense.
Q: I mean—
A: You really should start saying what you mean.
Q: Right. So, I’ve always wondered—
A: Who cares?
A: I mean it. I don’t care what you wonder.
Q: (clears his throat) What were you doing on that mushroom?
A: I am the most intelligent creature in the stories. I told you you’d ask.
Q: (blinks) That was not my question.
A: Yes it was.
Q: No it wasn’t.
A: Yes it was.
Q: No it... Ack. Alright. Then could you please explain to me just how your statement comes even close to answering my question?
A: Of course. You ask what I was doing on the mushroom. I was there to smoke my hookah. Smoking my hookah expands my mind. By expanding my mind, I expand my intelligence. I have expanded it so much that I have become the most intelligent creature in the stories. QED. You, on the other hand, must be really stupid if you needed so many words to understand the obvious.
Q: That’s preposterous! With thinking like that, you could give the same answer to any question!
A: Have I ever claimed otherwise?
Q: But you—
A: I don’t know, but I can tell you now that you will not like it.
A: That was your answer.
A: You are wasting my time, young man!
Q: So you are just—
Q: —going to answer... all my questions before I ask them?
Q: Then why—
A: Because you asked and that I thought it might be an interesting experience. I am beginning to reconsider.
Q: Alright (frowns). How did—
A: He sent me a message through Alice. Of course, I already knew what he was going to ask and what I was going to say, as I’d had time to consider it. So my reply was ready before his proposal reached me.
Q: That does not explain—
A: Of course it doesn’t. You hadn’t yet asked why, had you? As to that, well, I was bored. As I am now. I don’t suppose you want to write a sequel to Alice’s adventures? Wait, forget I asked, you don’t strike me as a Lewis Carroll.
A: Oh, please! (rolls eyes) I am so tired of that question. No, I don’t do drugs. No, Carroll did not intend to make his story look or sound like some drug-crazed or drug-induced trip. And I know what you’re going to ask next! My hookah is for smoking kannah, the juice of the kannah tree. And yes, it expands my mind. And no, it doesn’t work on humans. And yes, you can try some if you like. And no, it really won’t work on you. And yes, it’ll taste sweet—a bit like a peach with a truckload of sugar. And no, you—
Q: (looking annoyed) Where are my clouds?
A: (blinks) What?
Q: Aha! You never saw that one coming, did you?
A: It’s not like it made any kind of sense...
Q: In any case, the point of an interview is to have an exchange. You can’t just do all the talking yourself.
A: I can if I want to.
Q: Then we’ll just stop now and you can return to being bored...
A: Are you blackmailing me?
Q: No. I’m making a promise.
A: Hmph. I’m bored now anyway (mutters). Fine, ask your stupid questions.
Q: Do you have a name?
A: (stares in disbelief) Are you really that dumb? Of course I have a name!
Q: Can we hear it?
A: I don’t know. Depends how loudly I say it and how keen your hearing is.
Q: (sighs) Could you tell us what it is?
A: I could.
Q: Would you?
A: There’s something missing...
A: Wow. Your mother really did not teach you manners, did she?
Q: Would you tell us, please?
A: Now that’s better! My name is Mexinallingarevakallendorekhyn. And who are you?
Q: You did not say please!
A: I’m a caterpillar. I’m not meant to have manners.
Q: That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard!
A: Oh, because you know many caterpillars, I’ll bet? You have a lot of experience on the matter, don’t you?
Q: Well, no, but—
A: Of course you don’t! So who’s silly now?
Q: (groans) What I don’t get is how you can still be a caterpillar so long after the story was written?
A: Are you suggesting I should be dead? That’s very offending.
Q: No, uh, I meant, shouldn’t you at the very least be a butterfly by now?
A: I changed back. I didn’t like being a butterfly.
Q: You can do that?
A: Of course. I’m the most intelligent, remember?
Q: Ah yes, hmm. Well, I—
A: Already? This is a scam! I want my money back!
Q: Er, what money?
A: Okay, okay, you didn’t give me any, but still! I thought we’d be talking for days, here.
A: At least a week, surely. I bet you haven’t even asked half the questions you’d intended...
Q: There’s some truth to that. However...
Q: Let’s just say you are not an easy person to interview.
A: That makes sense.
Q: It does?
A: Of course. I’m not a person.
Q: Right. Let me rephrase that: you’re not an easy caterpillar to interview.
A: Why not?
Q: You’re just too much of a grouch.
Q: Yes, you.
A: I refute that. Next question.
A: Well, go on!
Q: You can’t just say “I refute that” and make it go away.
A: Of course I can.
Q: No you can’t!
A: Of course I can.
Q: No you... Gah! Stop it!
A: You started it.
Q: No I didn’t.
A: Yes you did.
Q: No I... Oh geez. I’m starting to have a headache. I really need to get some rest...
A: Can I come with you?
A: Alright, no need to scream. Chill, man. I’ll just wait here. We can pick up where we left off, no sweat.
Q: I don’t think so.
A: That’s okay, you don’t have to think. I’ll do all the thinking, if you like.
Q: I wouldn’t like that at all.
A: That’s okay, it’s not required.
A: Go rest. We’ll talk later.
A: (shoos him away) Go, go...
Q: (heads off, mumbling and shaking head, while planning his escape...)
[More character interviews coming in June!]
Missed the first batch of Alice interviews? No problem. You can find it here.
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Want to buy the book that contains all of these interviews, and more original material? You can get it 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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