Alice was sitting up in her favorite tree watching the sheep graze up on the hillside. There was a little stone wall that separated her yard from the sheep fields. For the past few days Alice had been daydreaming about her birthday. She desperately wanted a doll from Butterfly Kisses. It was a famous store. It was run by the most talented doll maker in all of London. His dolls were so startlingly life-like that all of the girls had to have one. However, these dolls came with large price tags, so only the girls who had parents with heavy pockets were able to get them. No one knew where the doll maker got his skills or materials from. Some people think he learned the trade in India where he had spent four years hunting elephants and giraffes before he moved back to London and opened his store.
Alice climbed down the tree and walked through the garden to her house. The bees buzzed over the flowers and Alice stopped to listen to them.
“You yellow jackets are always singing the busy song, aren’t you? I guess that’s why they call our soldiers the red jackets, because they’re always so busy, like you.”
Alice opened the backdoor and walked through her father’s study. Not even two steps into the house, Alice stepped on a card. She bent down to pick it up and saw that it was a three of spades. Alice put the card onto the messy pile of strewn cards on her father’s desk. Her father had a rule about picking up his cards that he always left strewn about the house. It was that any card could be picked up and put away except the heart suited cards. When Alice was younger she had picked up a king of hearts and given it back to her father. He was furious and scolded her after he had smacked her. Even though you might find this appalling, but this is the way for mad people, and her father is quite mad.
Alice’s father used to be a reasonable gentleman. But then a few years after he had married Alice’s mother, and a few years before Alice was born, he caught brain fever and lost the more rational thoughts from his mind. He had unkempt brown hair which made his long ears stick out from underneath. He wore spectacles that often aided him in seeing fanciful visions instead of creating a clearer view. His past time was gambling about the house with some unseen person, strewing his cards about. Alice’s mother often spent the majority of her cleaning time picking up the numerous cards, for Father had twelve decks to ensure he always had enough cards.
Alice’s mother was quite a character herself. She would send her husband off to the ever popular Walrus Pub when she hosted tea parties with the mothers of Alice’s playmates. During these, Alice would be confined to her room, for fear of her mother’s wrath for any misconduct. During these parties that would last all afternoon, Alice would pretend to be her mother and host her own tea parties with her stuffed tortoise, stuffed hare, and her mischievous cat that would often knock over the teacups full of imaginary tea.
Alice walked into the drawing room and found her mother sitting on the couch reading a book. When she hears Alice’s shoes shuffle across the rug, she looked up from her book.
Now that Alice had her mother’s attention, she balled her hands into little fists and held her arms rigid at her sides, “Mum, I want my doll now! You said I could have it on my birthday! Where is my doll?”
Alice’s mother set down her book and smoothed her dress as she stood up. Alice was starting to get red in the face. Her mother gave her a sly look, “We’ll go as soon as your father thinks it is time to.”
Alice stomped her foot, which made little noise because she was standing on the rug, “But Papa never knows what time it is! That watch hasn’t said the right time since you bought it for him!”
Alice’s mother chuckled to herself, “I know.”
Alice glared at her mother as she went upstairs. Once she was completely out of sight, Alice threw herself upon the rug and started beating her fists and flailing her legs, “I want my doll! I want my doll! It’s my birthday! Give me my DOLL!”
Alice’s mother then came back down the stairs with Alice’s father in tow. He was clutching a golden pocket watch and twirling its dial. When he saw Alice throwing a fit on the floor he started muttering to himself, “Oh dear, oh dear. I’m late, I’m late indeed…”
Alice’s mother patted him on the arm, then walked up to Alice. Her face darkened and Alice stopped for the tiniest moment and looked up at her mother. Alice’s mother then clenched her teeth, “Don’t make me angry today, Alice. I am planning a party for Sunday and I don’t need you working my nerves more than Miss Smith.”
Alice knew not to push her mother too far and sat up, the blood draining from her face. Once she was calm, she took her mother’s hand and together the three left the house for Butterfly Kisses.
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Enjoy, and Viva La Toucan
Laura, Toucan Editrice
Enjoy, and Viva La Toucan
Laura, Toucan Editrice