Episode 5

ALICE IN SWAMPLAND

By Dakota Orlando

© 2019, 2020

Episode 5. The Great Kanaima

Continuing to climb down the Roman column, Sean turned his head slightly and pushed Alice back onto his thorax with an antenna. He began to grow, and his riding companions fit nicely again on top of him. They all continued to grow, and by the time they reached the bottom, Alice was sure that she had reached her full height of four feet nine inches—and Dinah stood over three feet tall standing on her hind legs.

Alice looked around the circular room. Twelve sets of curtains, spaced evenly apart, ran all around the perimeter. Each set hung open a foot or two and revealed closed doors behind them. She spied no other Roman columns save the one they descended. The three circus-like characters they saw from above stopped and turned toward them.

“Excuse us, Great Kanaima,” Sean said, “but I have brought you these guys. They’d like to meet you. It seems they fell down the same hole you did.”

The Great Kanaima straightened to his full height of nearly six feet. His arms, nearly two-thirds the length of his well-muscled legs, waved about slowly. Large claws protruded at the ends of his fingers and toes.

Alice curtseyed. “How nice of you to let me come.” She stood erect again. “My name is Alice.” She pointed to her kitten. “And this is a rather metamorphosed cat named Dinah.” She smiled. “If there is such a word.”

The Great Kanaima’s elongated, narrow head perching atop a short neck shot forward. He wore no clothing other than a long red tie that hung nearly to the floor. The Mosquito landed to one side of him, and the swamp rat pulled up to the other. The furry, fat creature wore not a stitch of clothing. Both nestled as close to the mighty lizard as they could.

“Alice and Dinah,” Sean said, “please meet Kellyanne the Mosquito and Sarah the Swamp Rat.”

One of the doors opened and out strolled a salamander walking upright on its short and stubby hind legs. It was not clothed, either, except for a bowl-shaped, metal helmet and a black armband. On it, the white initials SS shaped like lightning bolts appeared quite ominous.

“Don’t forget me, Sean. I am the Great Kanaima’s closest advisor.”

“No, you’re not,” spat Kellyanne. “I am his closest advisor.”

“No, I am.” The salamander strutted toward Kellyanne and, being the same height, glared straight into her eyes.

“I am.”

“You’re not.”

“Yes, I am!”

“No, you’re not!”

“Am, too!”

“Are not!”

Kellyanne stuck out her tongue. “Nnnnnn!”

The Great Kanaima threw up his arms. “All right. Shut up, will yous guys? There are important advisors on both sides. All right?”

Sean pointed an antenna at the salamander. “That is Stephen the Salamander, not to be confused with Steve the Alligator who you will meet another time.”

“Nice to meet you.” Stephen dipped his head. “I used to be a miller, until the Great Kanaima hired me, that is.”

The Great Kanaima laughed. “That’s right. I thought he would make a great advisor because … he had no experience for one thing.” He glanced between Sarah and Kellyanne. “He still is a miller … at heart.”

Alice smiled. “Well, I shan’t confuse him with Steve the Alligator. I think I saw him on the way down. He and a lady alligator were inspecting sheets of uncut banknotes.”

“Yes,” Sean said. “Besides going on expensive vacations on the taxpayer’s dime, he loves counting money almost as much … and his wife assists him on both counts.” He snorted. “No pun intended.”

“Funny,” the Great Kanaima said. “You’re one funny fire ant, Sean.”

“What, may I ask, are you doing down here?” Alice said. “You are all obviously American.”

The Great Kanaima shrugged. “I don’t know. I thought it was a good idea to visit London. After all, they love me so much here. They even honor me by flying a giant balloon in the shape of my image. But then, I forgot about that mutton-headed dolt of a London Mayor. He always gives me a hard time.”

He began pacing. “No one has better respect for intelligence than the Great Kanaima. I love the intelligent. But I think I love the uneducated a lot more.” He stopped pacing and winked at Alice. “They’re the ones who elected me, that I can tell you.”

“Yes,” said Alice, “but the Lord London Mayor is not uneducated.”

“Well, if the London Mayor were intelligent … I could respect him, but he isn’t. He’s just a low-IQ, low-grade moron, believe me.”

“I beg your pardon,” Alice said, “but I know the Lord London Mayor, and he’s a very nice, intelligent man.”

The Great Kanaima bent over her. “He’s an immigrant. And you know about immigrants, don’t you? They’re nothing but a bunch of murderers, thieves, and rapists.”

Alice shook her head. “A murderer or thief he’s not, but a rapist … heavens, I don’t even know what that is.”

He placed one clawed hand to his chin and nodded. “Maybe not now, but a pretty little girl like you … I mean one day you will be grabbable.”

“Grabbable?” Alice scratched her head. “What on earth are you talking about? Who, in their right mind, would want to go round grabbing young women?”

“Oh, it’s quite a nice and interesting pastime, believe me.” He placed a hand on Alice’s shoulder and offered a smile that looked like it belonged on a circus clown. “One day, my dear Alice, you may think otherwise.”

“But you said the Lord London Mayor was an immigrant. That simply is not so. Alderman Phillips is Jewish, yes, but he is also very much English.”

The Great Kanaima scratched his head. “Phillips? His name is Khan! What planet do you come from?”

Alice raised her eyebrows. “Why Earth, of course. Alderman Phillips became the Lord London Mayor only this year, in 1865.”

“Eighteen sixty-five? That was before cell phones. Honey, this is 2020.”

Alice shuddered. “How can that be? Did falling down that hole not only bring me here but take me into the future?”

“Well, don’t worry your pretty little head about anything. Just come along with us. We need to find our way back to the American Swamp.”

Alice pulled away and Dinah nestled next to her right leg. “But I live in England. I do not want to go to America … and surely not to a swamp.”

He bent toward her. “Well, my little cherry blossom, then you better start climbing. It’s a long way out, and I don’t think you’re up for it.”

“‘Up for it.’” Kellyanne unveiled her proboscis and scratched it. “That’s a good one, boss, seeing how she’d have to go up to get there.”

He smiled. “You liked that one?” He looked around hurriedly. “I said it on purpose.”

“Alice doesn’t have a mother or father,” Sean said. “Only a boring sister who reads boring books without illustrations.”

“Well,” Alice said, “even if there were illustrations, they would probably be boring as well.”

The Great Kanaima threw his arms out to either side, then pointed one at her. “Aha! You’re one of those sleezy, sneaky, slippery Mexicans who tried to slip across our southern border.” He slapped his knees. “Caught you, didn’t we? We separated you from your parents … and now you’re complaining that you don’t have any.” He laughed. “That’s rich … very, very rich.”

“I wonder how she got out of her cage,” Kellyanne said.

Sarah looked at Kellyanne. “Someone must have rattled it.” They laughed.

Alice shook her head. “I haven’t a clue what any of you are talking about.”

The Great Kanaima nodded continuously. “It’s all right. You got what you deserved, but I still like you.” He glanced around. “I like girls of all ages … as long as they’re drop-dead gorgeous. Your sister can just wait for your return. In the meanwhile, you can come along with me, and I’ll make you my Special Advisor to Donald, big league. Now, raise your right hand and repeat after me. I, Alice ….”

Alice raised her hand. “‘I, Alice ….’”

“Accept my propaganda that there was no collusion.”

“‘Accept your propaganda that there was no collusion.’”

“And definitely no quid pro quo of any kind.”

“‘And definitely no quid pro quo of any kind.’”

He pointed at her. “Just read the transcripts.”

Alice raised an eyebrow. “Your name is Donald?”

“That used to be my name before I changed it to something grander … more befitting my superior intellect. You see ….” He pointed to his head. “I have a very good brain. I’m such a very stable genius and the best leader there ever was.”

A man atop the column peeked over its edge. He wore a British Naval commander’s hat and a big smile. “Hi, there, gurl? Randy Rainbow here … and I say:”

“He is the very model of a very stable genius.

Of all the U.S. Presidents he is the Mussoliniest.

Although his brain is smaller than his tiny, little penius,

he is the very model of a very stable genius.”

The Great Kanaima shook himself and pointed to Randy. “Someone go up there and collar that loser!”

Randy laughed. “You’ll never catch me … unless it’s on YouTube, gurl!” He disappeared, and no one bothered to chase him.

“I hate that queer!”

Alice narrowed her eyes. “Sorry about the interruption, but how do you come to know things? Do you extensively research and seek out the minutest details of the factual evidence?”

“Hell no! That’s too much trouble.” He shrugged. “I just think them.” He curled his clawed digits on one forearm, blew on them, and rubbed them against his chest. “It’s my own invention. I call it ThinkTruth.”

“Some call it TrumpSpeak,” Kellyanne said.

He waved a forearm in front of her face. “Yes, but we won’t go into that. I left that behind in 1984.”

“So did George Orwell.” Sarah extended one of her little feet. “Until 2016, that is.”

“So, I am to be the Special Advisor to Donald.” Alice giggled. “That’s sad.”

He glared at me. “And what’s so sad about it?”

“Sad. S-A-D … Special Advisor to Donald?”

He turned to Sarah. “I don’t get it.”

“The initials … S-A-D,” she said.

The Great Kanaima frowned. “Well, there’s nothing sad about the position.”

Kellyanne looked at Sarah and distorted her mosquitoey face.

Sarah returned the distortion and whispered, “He still doesn’t get it.”

The Great Kanaima spun, grabbed one advisor in each hand and lifted them. “I heard that. Are you making fun of me? I will not tolerate anyone making fun of my massive intellect. I demand nothing less than total loyalty.” He pulled them away from one another. “Perhaps I should slam your heads together.” He started bringing them closer.

“No, please,” Kellyanne said. “You know I always kiss your right foot.”

“I’ll kiss your left one,” Sarah said, “just set me down safely.”

“I’ll go one better.” Kellyanne panted. “I’ll kiss your ass.”

Sarah threw out her front feet to either side. “I don’t think there’s any room down there. That’s where the GOP Senators keep their heads.”

“Enough!” the Great Kanaima snapped. “You’re both toast.”

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