Episode 8

ALICE IN SWAMPLAND

By Dakota Orlando

© 2019, 2020

Episode 8. A Family Affair

Walking back into the Roman column room, the Great Kanaima turned left and stopped in front of the next door. He stared at it, then turned three-hundred-sixty-five degrees examining every other entry.

“So,” he said, “how many doors are there?”

“Looks to be an even dozen,” Stephen the Salamander answered. He pointed. “If the Wolf News war room studio is at the twelve-o’clock position,” he pointed to the door to its right, “and the rehearsal hall is at one o’clock … that means the London double-decker bus entered from three o’clock, squished Rick the Fly, and exited at nine o’clock.”

“Does that mean Swampland lies behind one of the others?” the Great Kanaima asked.

Stephen nodded. “Two, four, five, six, seven, eight, ten, or eleven o’clock.”

“Hey,” Kellyanne whispered to Sarah, “we’re going to rock around the clock.”

“It’s better than a jailhouse rock,” Sarah whispered back.

Dinah placed a paw on each of their shoulders. “That’s coming, by the way.”

The Great Kanaima jammed his fists onto his hips. “So, which one should we try?”

“How about the opposite of twelve?” Devin the Army Ant asked. Ted, Kevin, and Jim nodded simultaneously.

“Five?” The Great Kanaima dropped his arms. “Let’s do it.” He walked toward door number five.

“Wait,” Stephen called, hesitated, and looked at Kellyanne.

The mosquito shook her head. “I’m not going to tell him.”

Stephen shifted his gaze to Sarah.

She stepped back and shook her forelimbs. “Don’t look at me.”

They followed as the Great Kanaima reached the door and opened it.

Peering inside, Alice saw more creatures—all insects this time: a blowfly, a killer bee, a horsefly, and a damselfly, and all the same height as the other swamp creatures. They were seated at one end of a long table elaborately set up for tea. A yellow tablecloth covered the twenty-foot long table.

“Tea and crumpets.” Alice turned to the Great Kanaima. “Oh, I just love a tea party! Shall we go?”

“As long as you quit using that foul word.”

“Shall?”

“Yes.” He extended a forearm toward the table. “Especially in front of my family.”

Alice stared at the insects. The killer bee sat at the head wearing a stovepipe hat with a large letter D pinned to the front—and it perched a little askew. To the right of the bee sat the horsefly, then the blowfly. The damselfly sat to the left closest to the killer bee.

Two normal-looking, middle-aged men sat on either side of the table, one next to the blowfly, and the other next to the damselfly. The only strange thing about them was their height. They, like the rest of the creatures, stood around three-feet tall.

The Great Kanaima and his entourage stepped into the room.

“This is your family?” Alice asked.

They walked to the left side of the table.

“We’re in my Scottish resort.” He stopped. “Alice, my little cherry blossom, please meet Jared the Killer Bee and his wife, Ivanka the Damselfly, my daughter.”

Jared raised his teacup and sang, “Give my regards to six six six, remember it as debt gone bye.” He waved. “Tell all the gang at Pennsylvania Av that I am satisfied.”

Dinah whispered in Alice’s ear, “That was sung to the tune of ‘Give My Regards to Broadway,’ a song by George M. Cohan presented in the 1942 musical Yankee Doodle Dandee starring James Cagney.”

“You are a wealth of information, Dinah,” Alice whispered back. “However, I know nothing of it.” She grinned. “But thank you at any rate.”

The blowfly set his teacup down on its saucer. “You’d better be careful, Alice. Strange things happen to little girls when my father starts calling them ‘his little cherry blossom.’”

“Oh, stop it, Donnie. She’s too young, yet.” The Great Kanaima turned to me. “That was my eldest son, Donnie the Blowfly.”

Alice shrugged and gawked at Donnie. “Whatever are you talking about?”

“He’s infatuated with your innocence,” the horsefly said.

“Of course I am innocent,” Alice replied. “If you examine the facts and check my history, you will find that I have not been found guilty of anything.”

Sarah gawked at Kellyanne. “Facts?”

Kellyanne smirked. “Alternative facts.”

The horsefly waved a leg back and forth. “No, no, no, Alice. Nothing to do with the courts.”

“Quarts?” Ivanka looked at Alice. “Does she drink?”

Jared eased a wing on Ivanka’s. “Not the liquid kind. The kind your daddy always loses in.”

The Great Kanaima pointed at the horsefly. “All right, already … it’s time to meet my other son, Eric the Horsefly.”

“Where is your wife, Great Kanaima?” Alice asked.

“She was an immigrant, you know. I finally had to have her deported. For consistency’s sake, mind you.”

“As all immigrants should be,” Stephen the Salamander said with a single nod.

Alice scratched her head. “But I was under the presumption that all Americans were immigrants … except for the natives.”

The great Kanaima swished a hand around wildly. “Hey, now let’s not go about parsing concepts.”

“Oh, Daddy … parsing,” Ivanka said. “You’re showing off your huge vocabulary again.”

The Great Kanaima shuffled one foot and looked down. “Aw, shucks. Well, I am President, after all.”

Ivanka fluttered her wings to one side, then re-folded them along her thorax. “Oh, Daddy, I just got ten thousand more trademarks from China. That makes a ca-jillion, now. What do you think of that?”

“A chip, my little cherry pulp.” The Great Kanaima winked at her.

Alice scrunched up her face. “Cherry pulp?”

Donnie laughed. “Don’t ask.”

“That’s what happens when the blossom turns into a cherry, and it pops,” Stephen said.

Kellyanne whispered to Sarah. “That’s disgusting.”

“Yes,” she whispered back, “but that’s the way God made us. Just ask Papa, when you can get him away from his online business, that is.”

“What is it with him and his online business?” Kellyanne grinned. “God never did nothing online.”

“Shhhhhhh!” Alice looked around to discover Dinah holding a paw to her lips.

Alice pointed to the two men. “Are they part of your family?”

“You’ve met Rudy the Dragonfly, right?” The Great Kanaima asked. “He’s my personal attorney. I hired him to do State Department work.” He bent over and talked in a softer voice. “I’m not supposed to, but I do it anyway. There’s a lot of things I’m supposed to do that I don’t and that I do that I’m not supposed to.”

“I see,” said Alice. “Everything is the opposite. Rudy was the first creature I met from your Swampland. Where was he off to in such a hurry?”

“I sent him to The Ukraine.” He pointed to the two men. “Those are two of his East European friends. They’re involved with this Ukraine thing and … that woman … along with Rudy.”

“How’s the impeachment going, Pop?” Eric asked.

He smacked his hands together. “There was no quid pro quo! Now, everyone, repeat after me.” He started conducting his family the way a conductor does an orchestra. “No quid pro quo! No quid pro quo! No quid pro quo!” They joined in his chant, and when he stopped, they all looked delighted.

The Great Kanaima smiled at Alice. “You see … all anyone has to do is read the transcript.” He turned to his advisors. “Only twenty-one percent of people want me impeached. Go suck on that, CNN.”

Eric lowered his teacup. “I’ll pass on that.” The cup landed on the edge of its saucer and tipped over.

Ivanka waved her two front legs around. “Now you’ve done it, Eric.”

“Twenty-one percent?” Kellyanne whispered to Sarah. “That’s an obscure poll for sure.”

“Most of the real polls put him just over fifty percent,” Sarah whispered back. “Even FNN, the Fake News Network.”

“Yeah,” Kellyanne said. “Whenever he doesn’t like the polls, especially on his state-run propaganda network, he goes for the outlier and quotes it like it’s the only source.”

The Great Kanaima addressed everyone. “Well, we’ll be off now to try to find our way back to Swampland.”

Alice touched his arm. “But I want to stay for the tea and crumpets.”

He brushed her hand away. “You’re not going to get any.”

She rocked back on her heels. “Then, as your special advisor, I am advising you to give your Special Advisor to Donald crumpets and tea.”

“It’s so sad,” he said. “I have advisors … yes. But I never listen to them. See how it works now?” He whispered to Sarah and Kellyanne. “That’s why I pick totally unqualified ones. There’s less to turn a deaf ear to.”

“But what about the American dream?” Dinah asked. “Everyone in your country still clings to that concept.”

He laughed. “The American dream is dead. Stop resisting.” He looked at his family, and they burst out laughing.

Jared held up his teacup. “The American dream is for Americans.”

Donnie held up his cup. “The top one percent….”

Eric held up his. “…of the one percent.”

Ivanka held hers up. “A toast to the wealthy … the privileged … the real power brokers.”

They clinked their cups together and drank.

“You kids have a great time lording it over everyone, don’t you?”

“Thanks for becoming President,” Jared said. “Our bank accounts really grew exponentially.”

Kellyanne whispered to Sarah. “Uh, oh … he’s not going to know that one.”

Sarah whispered back, “Well, neither do we.”

“Exponentially?” She squinted her many mosquitoey eyes. “I suppose you’re right.”

The Great Kanaima swung an arm toward the door. “Yeah, but I’m the one that had to do the real work. It was really tough inheriting all that wealth from my father.” He wiped his brow. “Whew! I had so many forms to sign.”

“Poor, poor Daddy,” Ivanka said.

“Well,” the Great Kanaima replied, “we’re off to find the door into Swampland.”

He walked toward the exit, and everyone left his family toasting and drinking.

Stephen, being the last to exit, closed the door behind him. “Where to now, my great and powerful Kanaima?”

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