The Queen’s Court (Part 6)

As the Dodo went out the back entrance, the Hatter went to answer the front door. Upon opening the door, he found the Dormouse leaning against the doorframe sleeping. Next to the sleeping figure was that disturbingly large smile. “Hello Cat, it’s about time you show up. I’ve been losing my mind trying to learn the piano so I don’t lose my head.”

The teeth started to chuckle, “Have no fear, the Cat is here. I told you I would help and here it is.” The Cheshire Cat nudged the Dormouse awake.

“How is he going to help me? Look,” the Hatter pointed at the Dormouse, “he can’t even stay awake for more than half a minute.”

The Cat laughed again, “Relax, once we give him something to do, everything with be alright.”

“My best chance at pulling this off just went running out the back door because he’s afraid of the Queen. It’s a shame too because the Dodo actually knew how to play the piano.” The Hatter said glumly.

“The Dodo was just here? What did he want? And why is he so afraid of Her Majesty?” Because it was just the smile, the Hatter could not tell if the Cheshire Cat was joking or being serious.

Smacking himself in the head, the Hatter replied, “He heard me playing the piano as he passed by and wanted to make sure I was alright. I guess my playing is so bad is sounded horrific. Then, the Dodo proceeded to take a seat at the piano and play it wonderfully.”

The Cat’s eyebrows appeared and arched up, ” You mean the Dodo was good? And he refused to help? Oh, one more question… how did he play it?”

“What do you mean how did he play it? He sat down and struck the keys with his feathered fingers.” The Hatter’s started to get red in the face.

The Cheshire Cat shook his head in approval, ” I would have thought he would use his beak. The feathered, to me, would seem like they’d be in the way.”

“Enough about the Dodo that won’t help. Can we get on with this? Time is ticking, even though I don’t have a watch because that damn Hare stole it.” The Hatter’s was absolutely livid now.

“Calm yourself Hatter. You’ve got me here helping you. What more could you need, besides a friend indeed.” The Cat flashed this pearly whites once again.

The Hatter took a deep breath and said, “Fine, what’s the plan?”

The Cat finally took a physical form on the porch, “Let’s have a seat at the piano and get started.”

——————————-

The Dodo was speeding along the dirt path away from the Hatter’s house when he ran, literally, into the Queen’s head guard, The Ace of Spades (otherwise known as Lemmy).

The Dodo shook his head and refocused on the guard standing in front of him. There were several other guards there as well. ” I’m sorry to bump into you gentlemen. I’m kind of in a hurry and wasn’t paying attention to where I was going.”

Looking down at the Dodo, the Ace responded, “Where were you coming from peasant? It looks like you came from behind the Hatter’s house.”

Trying his best to stay calm and not cause any trouble, “Well, I, ummmmm, well… I heard some noise and went to check on things. That’s all I did. I swear. Please don’t hurt me.”

“Why so nervous Dodo? If you’re innocent then there’s nothing to worry about. I believe you, I really do. That’s not what matters tho. The only thing that matters…” the guard paused and pointed behind him, “… is that SHE believes you.” The guards split and the Queen appeared from the within the deck of guards.

The Queen addressed the Dodo with a hint of sarcasm, “Dear, sweet Dodo. Why is it that you always seem to be caught in these extreme predicaments? Hmmmmm? I will let you continue on your way if you tell me what is going on at that house.”

The Dodo just about soiled himself at this point, he was so nervous, “From what I heard and saw, nothing extraordinary. The Hatter is absolutely atrocious when it comes to playing the piano. He even tried to get me to help him. I refused of course because I live to serve my Queen.”

Her Majesty seemed to approve of this statement, “Dodo, I can tell I make you nervous and I will not apologize for that. However, I can also tell that you are being truthful. In the future, PLEASE try to keep clear of these unfathomable circumstances.

“Yes… yes, your Majesty. I will do my best to stay away from all bad happenings. Thank you, your Majesty.” The Dodo was practically in tears.

“Now go! I have things to do and you’re wasting my time.” The Queen commanded.

The Dodo wasted no time in getting up off the ground and sprinting away. He was hoping that was the last time he would see the Queen for awhile.

——————————

The Hatter looked a bit worried while talking to the Cat, “What is your plan Cat? Time is of the essence and it’s starting to run out.”

“That is why I brought the Dormouse with me. He is going to climb into the piano and play for you while you pretend to stroke the keys.” The Cat said cheerily.

The Hatter looked over at the Dormouse, who was asleep again, then turned back towards the Cheshire Cat, “That’s your plan? Are you joking? I’m doomed. The Dormouse can’t stay awake for more than a minute. How is he going to play an entire song from inside the piano? It will be dark in there and he will definitely fall asleep!!”

“Calm down, calm down. Once inside and playing, Dormouse will be wide awake. It’s only when there’s nothing to do that he constantly falls asleep.” The Cat was chuckling to himself all along.

The Hatter nudged the Dormouse awake, “Dormouse, can you really play the strings inside the piano?”

The Dormouse answers sleepily, “Yes, sure… no problem. I’ll crawl inside and play just as well as that darned Dodo. He and I used to play concerts together all of the time.”

The Cat’s grin went from ear to ear, “See, nothing to worry about. The Dodo is a dodo, the Dormouse is your savior. Let’s practice a bit shall we?!”

Still unsure of this whole scheme, the Hatter agreed, “Yes, let’s get started. I’ve lost track of time and fear we are cutting things close.”

The Cheshire Cat held the top of the piano open for the Dormouse. As soon as he was in, the Cat closed the top and laid down. The Hatter took his place on the piano bench and told the Cat and Dormouse what song they would do.

The sound that came out of the piano as they both “played” surprised the Hatter, “This is ten times better than that Dodo. My life may be saved yet.

Little did the Hatter, Cheshire Cat and Dormouse know that there was a surprise approaching the front door.

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