The Queen’s Court (Part 5)

The Cheshire Cat wandered along the path in search of the Dormouse’s hut. He passed the time by humming to himself as he studied his surroundings. The hut was very tiny and easy to miss. As is the case with everything in Wonderland, you have to pay attention or you might miss something.

There was a bend in the path up ahead where two giant oak trees stood next to each other. It is at this location that the Dormouse’s hut was squeezed in between. If you didn’t know any better you would think it was a mound of brown moss surrounded by leaves. At the very bottom of the oak tree was a wooden sign hanging which simply said “Dormouse” on it. The Queen must have requested it because the location is so hard to find at times. Altho, the Dormouse may have wanted to stay concealed.

So many creatures within Wonderland feared for their lives because of the Queen. They felt being hidden, especially if they were small enough, was a definite plus. The Dormouse was one such creature. He lived a simple life and enjoyed being out of the way. His known friendship with the Hatter gave him one strike against the Queen. This was another reason for staying as out if the way as possible.

The Cheshire Cat strolled up to the tiny door, “Oh Dormouse! Are you home?”

“Is that the Cat that I hear? If so, Nobody is home.” The Dormouse answered in a British accent.

“Come out here this instant please you silly little mouse. I am here representing your friend the Hatter. He needs a favor from you.” The Cat knew using the Hatter’s name would entice the dormouse.

The door cracked slightly open, “What would he need from me? Is he trying to cause problems again? That last stunt nearly got us all beheaded.”

“This time is different…” the Cat said and before he could finish, he noticed the Dormouse was asleep in the doorway. “WAKE UP! You’re friend is in need of help. This is no time to sleep.”

The Dormouse woke startled, “Sorry Mr. Cat, sir. I must not have gotten enough sleep.”

The Cat called the Dormouse out for his actions, “You always fall asleep. It’s what you do. Get yourself together. I have a flawless plan.”

The Dormouse replied with a bit of trepidation, “Ok, but if this doesn’t work, the Hatter isn’t the only one that will lose his head.”

The Cheshire Cat stood, leaning against the hut while the Dormouse ran back inside to get his things. A moment later he appeared once again with his bowler hat and cane (which looked like a toothpick to the human eye).

——————————–

Back at the Hatter’s house…

The Hatter was pacing back and forth, wearing a hole in his carpet, “What am I going to do? What am I going to do? Think, think, think. My playing is horrendous. The Queen will never be satisfied. Where is that lunatic Cat? I never should have trusted him.”

As he circled around the room for the millionth time, there was a knock on his door. “Well it’s about time Cat! Where have you been? Time is ticking. My life hangs in the balance here.”

The Hatter opened the door and was greeted by the Dodo, “Sorry Hatter, I’m not the Cheshire Cat. I heard the noises coming from your house and got concerned something bad was happening.”

“Oh, it’s just you Dodo. And to answer your question, yes, something bad IS happening. I’m going to be beheaded by the Queen because if a stupid piano that I can’t play.” The Hatter smacked his forehead against the keys of the piano and it made a jarring noise.

The Dodo scratched his head, “So, you were trying to play the piano? Those notes were really horrible. You should just give up. If you did that in front of the Queen she would have your head for sure.”

“Thank you for that. Do you have anything more helpful to add or is that everything?” The Hatter was losing his temper and his mind.

“Nope, nope, nope. I guess that’s it,” the Dodo said as he sauntered inside and started looking over the piano. “You know, I used to play the piano when I was younger. This is a wonderful piece of equipment if you know what you are doing.”

The Hatter stopped in his tracks and looked at the Dodo quizzically, “You played the piano? Why didn’t you say that to begin with?”

“Yes, way back when I was a young bird I learned how to play. That was so long ago I don’t think I can play anymore.”

The Dodo proceeded to sit at the piano and attempted a song. At first the notes were messy, but then it started to sound like an actual song. The Dodo continued playing at the delight of the Hatter.

Once the Dodo finished the Hatter exclaimed, “That was brilliant. Do you think you could do that for the Queen? It would save my life. ”

“No way… not a chance. That woman scares me. I’m not going anywhere near her or performing for her. One wrong note and my goose is cooked.” The Dodo looked frightened just thinking about playing the piano for the Queen.

The Hatter tried something else, “Will you teach me to play then? I will owe you my life, literally.”

The Dodo shook his head emphatically, “Not happening. I don’t want to be associated with anything. If the Queen heard that I helped you, she might come after me or send the guards to get me.”

“Fine! Don’t help a poor, innocent man who has found himself in a bit of trouble.” The Hatter’s said, trying to guilt the Dodo.

“I’m glad you understand Hatter. I wish you good luck. I must be going now.” And the Dodo waltzed out the back door. Once outside, he ran as fast as he could to get as far away as possible.

The Hatter on the other hand seemed even more depressed, “I finally find someone who can help me and he takes off. You can’t trust anyone around here to help.”

———————–

Moments away from the Hatter’s house…

The Dormouse was starting to get skittish, “Maybe this isn’t a good idea Cat. The Queen really dislikes the Hatter. If she finds out we are conspiring with him, then she may come after us as well.”

“Stop being so worrisome. The Queen has it out for Hatter, not for us. I am a trusted servant of the Queen. That gives me the authority to enlist the help of anyone I see fit” the Cheshire Cat said matter-of-factly.

” That doesn’t give you the authority to do anything. The Queen just wants to see what crazy stuff you will do next. She can’t catch you so it’s more of an entertainment thing. Plus, you are a good set of eyes for her to have since you move around so sneakily.” The Dormouse wasn’t mincing words.

“You see things your way, and I’ll see them the correct way. Now, we are almost there. Once inside I will outline my plan to you and the Hatter.” The Cat seemed more focused than ever.

The Dormouse sighed deeply and replied, “Well, it was a nice life while it lasted. Let’s get this over with.”

The Cheshire Cat grinned his trademark toothy grin as they walked up to the Hatter’s doorstep. Just as the Cat was about to knock, the Dormouse fell asleep against the wall of the house.

The Cheshire Cat thought you himself, “Yea, this is going to work out just fine.”

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