ALICE IN SWAMPLAND
By Dakota Orlando
© 2019, 2020
Episode 7. The Donnie Club League
The Great Kanaima, Kellyanne, Sarah, Stephen, Dinah, and Alice stepped through a doorway.
“An auditorium,” Alice said. On the stage, standing abreast of one another, stood four, black army ants. They had interlocked one of their six legs with the other on either side. A figure rose from about the third row. Alice pointed to it. “I know that lizard. I saw it in a book once. It is a Newt.”
“Correct,” the Great Kanaima said. “It’s Newt the Newt.” He scratched his head and could barely reach it with his short forearms. “But this is not Swampland.” He waved. “Newt, sorry to interrupt. We were looking for our swamp.” He turned to go.
“Wait! Wait a minute!” Newt said. “The Grand Old Parasites’ congressional choir has been rehearsing something especially for you.”
The Great Kanaima turned around as Newt approached. “How did your book tour go back in 2012?”
“It went splendid. Running for President was the best promotional idea ever for advancing my book sales. Thanks for suggesting it.”
The Great Kanaima swept a forearm in front of him. “Yes, you and Mr. Plan 9-9-9, Herman the Capybara. And thanks for giving the Parasites the winning edge back in the 90s … antagonistic non-cooperation.” He nodded. “I just love it.”
“Yeah,” Newt said, “I sort of invented it. And look where it’s gotten us.”
“The most beautiful and effective swamp in the world,” Kellyanne chimed.
“Don’t forget, Newt,” Sarah said, “it was the Great Kanaima who added the serial lying and deceit to make it an even more effective swamp.”
Newt turned to the stage. “You boys ready to run through it for His Majesty?” They all nodded.
The Great Kanaima extended an arm toward Alice. “This will be beautiful, my little cherry blossom.” He looked at Newt. “This is Alice. She hails from England, and she is going to be my new S-A-D … Special Advisor to Donald.”
Alice curtseyed. “A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Newt.”
He smirked. “How nice.” He turned toward the stage. “Hit it, boys!”
“Hold on!” the Great Kanaima said. “Introduce them to my little cherry blossom.”
“All right. From left to right are Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice.”
“Wait one moment, please.” Alice pointed at herself. “I am Alice, and I happened to know that there is no such thing as a female army ant.”
Dinah spread her front paws out to either side. “Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice is a motion picture released in 1969 starring Natalie Wood, Robert Culp, Elliott Gould, and Dyan Cannon.”
“Dinah,” Alice said, “how do you know these things?”
“From the EO, the EverythingOpedia from the HeaviSide Layer, where everything past, present, and future is documented.” She pointed to her head. “And it is stored in every cat’s memory banks.”
“Sorry,” Newt said, “I must have slipped into Hollywood mode.” He performed a little dance step. “Let them introduce who they are.” He pointed to the stage.
The ant at the left end of the line stepped out. “My name is Jim the Army Ant. Does anyone think the Great Kanaima was serious when he said he wanted to investigate Joe and his son?” He bowed and stepped back.
The Great Kanaima pointed a finger at him. “Now, that’s my kind of distraction.”
“He’s suggesting that the Great Kanaima was joking?” Kellyanne whispered to Sarah. “Who’d believe that?”
“The base,” Sarah said. “They’ll believe anything.”
“That’s right.” KellyAnne nodded. “After all, they are a cult.”
The ant to the right of Jim stepped out. “My name is Devin the Army Ant. I don’t talk about intelligence.” He bowed and stepped back.
“He never talks about things he knows nothing about,” Kellyanne whispered to Sarah.
Sarah whispered back, “And that’s why he never talks.”
The ant to the right of Devin stepped out. “My name is Ted the Army Ant. I think President Obama is the most radical president this nation’s ever seen.”
The Great Kanaima applauded. “The best thing I ever did was to make Ted eat dirt.”
Kellyanne flew a few feet in the air. “You look good with that tail between your legs, Ted.”
“That is in honor of my wife … thank you.” Ted bowed and stepped back.
“She must be very proud of you,” said Alice.
“Yeah,” Sarah whispered as Kellyanne landed beside her. “She likes it like a slap in the face.”
The last ant stepped forward. “My name is Kevin the Army Ant. ‘I would like you to do us a favor, though?’ I think a word was added. He never said ‘though.’ You see, there’s no though, though.”
Kellyanne whispered to Sarah, “There, there … there you have it. All this fuss over a simple, little, four-letter word.”
“Four letters?” Sarah whispered back.
“Yes … T-H-O-W. You know, like throw, only without the R.”
Sarah nodded. “Of course … you’re right.”
Newt bobbed his eyelids. “They’re going to perform a number for his Highness, the Great Kanaima. Take it away, boys!”
The Army Ants stayed interlocked as they quick-stepped one way and then the other while singing, “We represent the Donnie Club League, the Donnie Club League, the Donnie Club League. And as members of the Donnie Club League, we’d like to welcome you to Swampy Land.”
The Great Kanaima applauded. “What a perfect greeting for my S-A-D.” He stretched a hand toward Alice. “Over here, my little cherry blossom. Now, tell my chief detractors what a beautiful performance they gave us.”
“A stage!” Dinah stepped forward. “What a great place to shake my spear.” She looked at Newt. “May I perform a little something?”
“You act?” Newt raised his brow. “You must be a Grand Old Parasite member. He swung an arm toward the stage. “Be my guest.”
Dinah climbed onto it and strutted to center stage. She turned and placed her forepaws over her heart. “‘He that wants money, means, and content is without three good friends.’” She thrust herself on one knee. “‘Tis gold which buys admittance. What? Can it not do and undo?’” She stood and spread her forelimbs wide while looking up. “‘In the fatness of these pursy times, virtue itself of vice must pardon beg.’”
The Great Kanaima rested a hand on his stomach. “Is she calling me fat? And she said, ‘pursy.’ Did she mean puss—”
“Shhhhhh!” came a voice behind them.
The Great Kanaima turned around. Kellyanne and Sarah grinned.
Dinah continued, “‘I can get no remedy against the consumption of the purse. Borrowing only lingers and lingers it out, but the disease is incurable.’”
“What disease?” the Great Kanaima mumbled. “Does she think I have a disease?”
“I think it’s Narcissistic Fibrosis,” Stephen whispered.
“Don’t worry,” Kellyanne said. “It only affects the mind.”
The Great Kanaima nodded. “Oh. In that case, I agree … one-hundred percent.”
“‘How quickly nature falls into revolt when gold becomes her object.’”
The Great Kanaima shook his head. “What’s she got against money? It’s the root of all success.”
“‘Bell, book, and candle shall not drive me back when gold and silver becks me to come on.’”
“There’s that shall word,” the Great Kanaima said. “Adam and Nancy drove me wild with that evil, little, four-letter word.”
“Five,” Stephen said.
“No, it’s four. The two l’s act as one letter.”
“He doubles down on everything,” Kellyanne whispered to Sarah.
“He doubles down more than Doublemint Gum,” Sarah whispered back.
“I can hear you,” Alice whispered at them.
“Are you some kind of whisper-blower?” Sarah asked.
Kellyanne rolled her mosquitoey eyes. “That’s whistleblower, Sarah.”
Alice eased her hands on her hips. “The only whistle I ever blew was on my third birthday.”
Kellyanne giggled. “And when was that … a year ago?” She and Sarah high-fived and fell into fits of laughter.
Alice folded her arms and mashed her lips tighter.
“Silence!” The Great Kanaima said. “That is not funny.”
“But I am not finished,” Dinah replied.
He flipped an arm at her. “Not you!” He jerked a thumb at his two trusted aides. “Them! Now, continue, please, cat.”
“Please? He said please?” whispered Kellyanne to Sarah. “That’s the third time in three years.”
“One per year,” Sarah whispered back. “That’s the max.”
Dinah dropped to one knee again. “‘These moral laws of nature and of nations speak aloud.’”
“Huh?” The Great Kanaima shook his head. “It’s so sad. I waited all this time for that finale? What a total disaster!”
“But it was so dramatic,” Alice said. “I particularly liked the part at the end when she spread her forelegs apart and—”
The Great Kanaima stomped a foot. “She didn’t spread her four legs apart. If she had, she would have fallen right on her kisser, I can tell you that.”
Alice’s eyes flew open wider, but she thought she had better keep her first response to herself. “If you say so, Great Kanaima.”
He jammed a thumb onto his chest several times. “Yes, I say so, I am in charge, and therefore it is!” He turned and strutted toward the door. “Now, come on. Let’s go find the door back to Swampland.”
“May we escort you back there?” the four army ants asked in unison. The Great Kanaima nodded, and they scrambled off the stage.
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