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Alice in W-Land
June 5, 2001
by Art Bushwald

Alice in W-Land

Little Alice, bored with her lessons, decided to take a stroll through a nearby meadow. "Life is so dreadfully orderly and sensible," she sighed to herself. "I think I should like to go somewhere that is full of nonsense, a topsy-turvy world where things are not what you think they are, and they are what you think they aren't." Feeling a little drowsy, the young lass lay down on the soft grass to take a nap in the warm sun.

But no sooner had she become comfortable in her herbaceous bed when her eyes beheld a most amazing sight. A smartly dressed White Elephant, with a big "W" on its side and a huge watch dangling out of the pocket of his perfectly pressed trousers, was running through the meadow. And as he was running, he shouted:

I'm late, I'm late
Gotta hurry and legislate
I've only got a hundred days
I'm late, I'm late, I'm late, I'm late...

Such a spectacle naturally aroused the curiosity of Miss Alice, and she hurried after the raging pachyderm to find out what on earth could cause a talking elephant to be in such a rush. As she was about to catch up to him, the great beast disappeared through a small hole in a tree. Alice crawled in after him. Inside the tree, she cast her eyes upon a very strange and mysterious land.

The first creature she encountered in this odd world was a big, grinning animal sitting on the branch of a tree. At first, she thought it was a cat, but upon closer examination she saw that it was actually a chimpanzee.

"Who are you?" asked Alice.

"I am a Cheshire Chimp" replied the simpering primate. "But my friends call me 'Dubya'". With that, the great ape started to smirk from ear to ear. And as he smirked, something quite extraordinary happened - the Cheshire Chimp turned into the White Elephant! The bloated beast lost his balance and crashed to the ground with a thud. Then he looked at his watch, and started to scream

I'm late, I'm late
To carry out my mandate
The old man might go any day
I'm late, I'm late, I'm late, I'm late

"Mr. Dubya, why do you hurry so? And what on earth is this mandate thing you are talking about? " asked the ever inquisitive Alice.

"My mandate," he cried impatiently, "is what the people elected me to do! Gotta take from the poor and give to the rich! Gotta build missile umbrellas in the sky! Gotta make new enemies and lose old friends! And help the earth heat up and melt the glaciers so I can get beachfront property at my ranch!" Then he looked at his watch and let out another scream. "ARRRRRGH! I'm late!"

And with that, he took off running down the trail. And once again, little Alice followed after him. But he soon disappeared from sight.

A short distance down the path, she came upon two eccentric-looking men wearing cowboy hats. They were sitting at a huge table that was covered with hundreds of tea cups, teapots, and oil drums. All of these containers were filled to the brim with a dark liquid, but all of them were also leaking. And every time a container ran out of the liquid, one of the men would hold it under one of many spigots through which this liquid was continuously gushing. And all the while, the two were continuously raising their cups in a toast to one another, and singing

Here's a happy energy crisis for you (for me?) for you
Here's a happy energy crisis for me (for you?) for me
We'll drill and dig and drill all day
'Cause we can't change our blessed way
Here's a happy energy crisis for you!

Just then, one of the cowboys noticed Alice. "Hello, little girl," he called out. "Would you like to join us for some Texas tea?" Not being one to refuse an invitation to tea, Alice accepted. But she soon learned that this "tea" was not at all what she was used to. It had a horrible smell, and was too thick and oily to be of any use as a proper tea.

"Would you like some arsenic with your tea?" asked one of the zany men. "Or maybe some coal?" offered the other one. "It's very clean. We just washed it this morning."

Just then, one of the teapots ran dry. "Dag-nabbit!" shouted the men. "Now we're gonna have ta drill a new well!" So they put up an oil derrick right in the middle of their garden.

"What a stupid tea party!" cried Alice, as she ran away in disgust.

A little later, Alice came upon a group of men who looked like playing cards. They all had a big "W' on their fronts, and were splashing buckets of paint on chimneys that were belching out a thick black smoke. As they painted, they sang

We're painting the smokestacks green!
We're painting the smokestacks green!
We're saving the earth
It's the place of our birth
We're painting the smokestacks green!

Just then, a magnificent procession of other playing-card men, who all had heads that looked like ditto marks, came marching in lock step down the path. "Make way for the King!" they shouted. "All bow down in the presence of His Majesty, the compassionately honorable and dignified King Dubya!"

Alice gasped. King Dubya was the White Elephant! But at that very instant, he smirked back into the Cheshire Chimp! Suddenly, two guards dragged a woman before the king. "Sire, this tramp was caught driving without a seat belt!"

"Off with her head! Off with her head!" screamed the compassionate monarch.

The next prisoner brought before the king was a young boy. "Sire, this wretched delinquent was caught smoking a weed that was not tobacco!"

King Dubya took a long drag from his favorite Oriental bong, held the pungent vapor in his lungs for a moment, then yelled: "Off with his head!"

It was at that time that the king happened to notice Alice. "So, my pretty little girl, we meet again," said the regent in a not-so-charming tone. "Would you care to play a game of T-Ball?" Fearing that she might be next in line to lose her head if she declined, Alice hesitatingly accepted the offer.

Alice was put on the blue team. The king was on the red team. Although Alice had played the game in her familiar world, the rules in King Dubya's court were contradictory and confusing. If the members of her blue team swung and missed the ball, they were out. But if the members of the king's team did the same, they were allowed to go to first base. Once, Alice hit the ball hard, well into the outfield and away from any outfielder. But as she headed toward first, a swarm of red shirts surrounded her, preventing her from reaching base until the ball had beaten her there. "Yer-r-r-r-r out!" screamed the king.

And so it went throughout the game. Rules that applied to one team did not always apply to the other team. And it seemed like the rules always seemed to favor the red team.

Nevertheless, despite all the unfair advantages enjoyed by the red team, Alice's blue team still managed to have the most points at the end of the game - fifty-five for her team, and fifty for the king's team.

"Fifty to fifty-five, the king's team wins!" shouted the panel of nine judges who were overseeing the game. While not all of the judges had agreed that the king's team had actually won, there were just enough chimps and elephants on the panel to tip the decision in the king's favor.

"What a mad country this is!" cried the now distressed Alice. "I want to go back to my sensible world!"

"Too bad," sneered King Dubya. "Ya cain't just go back. You're stuck here fer four years. That's the rules!"

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