The Queen’s Court (Part 4)

The Cheshire Cat obviously had something up his sleeve. He never did anything without having a reason. In this case, it was to keep the Queen happy and the Hatter’s head attached because there’s nothing worse than a headless Hatter.

The crows gathered around the Cat as he was perched on a tree branch in the woods. Altho his smile was constant, the birds still questioned why he was smiling. “Alright Cat, what have you got planned this time? You can’t fool use with that sheepish smile.”

“Whatever do you mean? I’m just sitting here enjoying the sunshine.” The cat replied with a toothy grin.

“Well, if we find out you’re up to something, the Queen isn’t going to be happy about it.” The birds threatened the Cheshire Cat.

Still grinning, “I would NEVER do anything to upset Her Majesty. I love to serve her”

The lead crow was getting agitated now, “Well, that’s a lie if I ever heard one. We all know that you serve yourself. You may have the Queen fooled, but not us.”

“Whatever you say. I must be going now. Things to do and people to see” the Cat said as he disappeared from his perch.

————————–

By late afternoon, the Hatter was sitting at his desk jotting down some notes about playing the piano that he thought would be important. Thinking to himself, “I should start practicing on the piano. If I can’t find someone to play then I have to do the best I can. It’s not feasible waiting around for that deranged Cat. It’s anyone’s guess as to what he will come up with.”

He proceeded to take a seat at the piano, open the book of sheet music and attempt to play. The Hatter wrecked his way through the song. Even to his own ears it sounds as tho some type of animal was dying. Even he knew that playing the piano was not possible.

The Hatter spent the next half hour attempting to play a short piece to no avail. Even Chopsticks was not an easy enough song for him to get through. The song started off sounding like a piece of music, but by the end it sounded like a train wreck.

There were still a few days before the performance in front of the Queen. It was still possible for a miracle to happen before that time.

“Ok, I just have to take a deep breath and relax. This is all going to turn out fine.” The Hatter was attempting to give himself a pep talk.

He took his place at the piano one last time and started playing once again. This time, he didn’t think about playing. Instead, he let his fingers do the thinking. They were gliding along the keys and the song actually sounded like a song for a moment. Then, the Hatter caught his finger between one of the black keys and a bite key. This was a complete disaster. “I may actually have to rely on the Cheshire Cat.” He thought to himself.

————————

The next morning the Queen’s Court convened as it did every day. She appeared to be in a good mood to start the day, although that could change drastically at any moment.

The sun was shining on the court and the Court was abuzz with gossip. Everyone seemed to be talking about the Hatter and his upcoming performance.

The Cheshire Cat appeared at the Queen’s feet and everything froze. Even the Queen stopped in mid sentence at the sight of the Cat.

“To what do I owe this visit so early in the day Cat? Has the Hatter decided to give up and accept his sentence?” The Queen was still very jovial as she spoke.

“I have not seen, nor spoken to the Hatter since I left his house early yesterday afternoon. For all I know he could be practicing til his fingertips are raw.” The Cat responded.

The Queen seemed amused at this, “Altho that image is disturbing, it pleases me to think he is attempting to accomplish something for once. Normally, that lazy man just tries to get by on the bare minimum.”

“I agree, your Majesty. This may be a good teaching lesson for the Hatter. He may finally take responsibility for his actions. He has to know this is punishment for that debacle several months ago at the party.” The Cat began to laugh as he remembered the disastrous scene.

“Yes, none of us will forget that moment. The Hatter and the Hare harboring that fugitive despite my harsh warnings.” The Queen was starting to lose her temper now. The royal court was also getting skittish knowing how the Queen’s temper could boil over.

The Cheshire Cat saw the Queen starting to boil and decided it was best to leave. “I’ll be on my way now. I have things to do and people to check on. Toodle-loo Queenie.” And he was gone at the blink of an eye.

That was her breaking point. The Queen completely lost control… “GUARDS!!! Clear the chess board.”

She pointed at a man standing to the side, “You! Get over here now. Unfortunately for you, it’s time to play a game of chess. You better lose otherwise it’s… Off with your head!!”

“Yes… yes, Your Majesty. Whatever pleases the Court.” The young man said as he graciously bowed in front of the Queen.

—————————-

Once the Cheshire Cat was a safe distance away from the Court, he reappeared and walked the dusty path in the woods. He shook his head and said, “That woman really must keep herself in check. I was simply stating that she was finally paying the Hatter back for his past injustices.”

“Set her on a rampage again did you Cat?” The voice came from a patch of flowers on the side of the path.

The Cheshire Cat squinted and looked towards the area the voice came from, “Who is speaking? And why are you listening in on my conversation?”

A leaf blew to the side to reveal a caterpillar sitting under a mushroom. “Conversation? Do you always make a point of conversing with yourself?”

The Cat spotted the Caterpillar, “Oh it’s you Caterpillar. Don’t you have anything better to do like smoke your pipe? Maybe even mind your own business.”

Perturbed, the Caterpillar responded, “Why must you ALWAYS bring my hookah pipe into this? Are you jealous of the craftsmanship of it? And, for your information, you were so loud it was difficult not to inject myself into your “conversation”.”

The Cheshire Cat ignored the first part of the caterpillar’s statement and replied, “Well then, do you have any suggestions on how we can “help” the Hatter? I’m open to anything because the poor man can’t play the piano for his life. Which, by the way, is on the line at the moment.” The Caterpillar and the Cheshire Cat both laughed at that thought.

The Caterpillar took a puff from his hookah, “Good point, Cat. If my head weren’t so high in the clouds right now I might be able to help you. Instead, why don’t you try asking the Dormouse.”

The Cat’s smile grew large, “Fantastic idea. I’ll head over there now. He is the Hatters friend so maybe he can think of something.”

“Don’t cause too much trouble now Cat.” The Caterpillar was swerving and moving his arms as tho he was listening to music while he smoked.

Without saying another word, the Cheshire Cat continued down the path towards the residence of the Dormouse.

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