• Jonathan Shuerger

Alex in Wonderland (Part One)

It had been a bad day. And it wasn't looking to get better.

My girlfriend had broken up with me the night before, and the relationship wasn't the only thing she broke. My parents were moving away from Riverside, California, where I'd lived all of my seventeen years. I'd hit the lip of my bowl of cereal and dumped it all over my lap. The cat started licking the spilled milk and promptly threw up on my Nikes. And to top it all off, I was late for the bus that would take me to school to say good-bye to my life, when it started raining.

Hi. Alexander James Wilcott III. Call me that to my face or anywhere else and bad things will happen. Just call me Alex. Since I am now single, attractive women may now call me whatever they want.

But enough about me. Let's talk about what happened Friday morning.

To this day, I still think I was on something. Maybe I was allergic to the pollution in our lovely California rain and hallucinated, but the fact remains: it couldn't have been real.

All I knew at the time is that I was standing at the bus stop, my hairstyle dying in the rain, when a voice with a Brooklyn accent changed my life.

" Hey, buddy, you got the time?"

I thought about saying no, sorry, my watch blew up when the light switch electrocuted me this morning; but, hey, the guy just needed the time.

"Yeah, sure, it's five to eight."

I decided to make friends with the guy. It's not like I had anything better to do. I turned and said, "So, where you from, man?"

There was nobody there.

I looked around.

Nobody else hallucinating in the rain.

Right around the time I thought I was losing my mind, I heard a little muttering around my feet. A distant voice in my brain screamed at me not to look down. But I looked down anyway, sap that I am.

There was a little white rabbit in a little red waistcoat sitting by my feet, peering through little gold-rimmed bifocles, for crying out loud, tapping at a little gold watch and calling it everything but white.

My brain was running a little slow that morning, possibly from the overload of electricity passed through my body recently, so I thought, Hey, just an average hard-working rabbit trying to get to work on time. He's got his rights, just like any other American.

That's when it registered.

The freaking rabbit was talking. In a little red waistcoat. Wearing glasses. Bifocles.

Man, I needed to check the sugar content of my cereal.

I looked down at the rabbit again. Maybe it had escaped from a circus or something. It looked up at me and snapped, "You gotta problem, Tiny?"

It was talking to me again.

I just shook my head kind of slowly and said, “Uh, no, I'm good."

It checked me out suspiciously, like I was the weirdo, and returned to squinting at its watch. Call me ignorant, but I’d never thought of rabbits having bad eyesight. The minute hand was stuck, but I guess he couldn't see it. I mean, come on, cut the guy a break. He's a rabbit, for Pete’s sake.

It looked up at me and said, “Hey, as long as you're standing there useless, how about helping me out here, eh?"

Not having anything else to do, I bent down and checked the watch out. I felt like I was in a dream, just doing stuff for no reason.

"Dude, I think your battery's dead."

It snatched the watch away from me and glared at me, as though I'd broken the stupid thing.

"Well, I'm not getting back without a watch."

It sighed, muttered something about being late, eyed me again, and said, “Nice watch.”

I saw evil in its eyes, and I should have known what was going to happen.

But before I could blink, it had jumped onto my foot and bitten my leg! I yelled with pain and reached down to pull the no-doubt-disease-ridden rodent off of my ankle, but just then it let go, and with surprising dexterity for a rabbit, bit through my watchband and started running off with it!

Reason gave way rather quickly to rage. Thinking logically, I would have concluded that I was dreaming and not wasted my energy running after a thieving rabbit with astigmatism. I would have written off the watch and gotten on the bus, happy with my miserable life.

But no. I didn't do that. I snarled and set out after the rabbit, lusting for blood.

It sprinted away from me, towards the trees.

Looking back, it was probably hilarious, if you were watching. Here goes this little white rabbit, running along with a watch hanging out of its mouth, followed by a teenager running at a limp, screaming with incoherent rage.

It dashed for a big tree, and vanished into a hole at its base.

Common sense would dictate not to follow biting creatures into a small hole, but I wasn't exactly thinking rationally at the moment. I was thinking of the pain in my leg and the forty- dollar watch disappearing into the dirt.

I didn't even hesitate, but fell to my knees and began crawling through this hole.

I yelled after the white bouncing bunny butt dancing beyond my reach, "If I get rabies from you or anything else in this thing, I'm putting your fluffy white head on my wall! You hear me? My wall!"

I expected any moment to grab that rodent by the leg while it was cornered, and drag it out screaming for mercy, mercy that would not be forthcoming. I contemplated the tortures that I would inflict upon it. This rodent had seen its last days!

I kept crawling. Man, this tree was big.

I saw a light at the end of the tunnel. Casually disregarding the omen this portended, I crawled faster.

My boy was having rabbit tonight!

I finally made it into the light and looked around. Off-guard did not exactly cover what I felt.

It was a room. In the middle of a tree. There was a table in the middle and a itty-bitty little door at the opposite side. Where my nemesis was now disappearing, every bit as itty-bitty as the door itself. I threw myself at the door, roaring like a woolly mammoth after its prey.

No, I don't know how woolly mammoths roar after their prey. This is my story. Shut up and read it. As my fingers reached for the rabbit, it slammed the door shut—on my fingers.

I howled like a...forget it. You people are completely incapable of understanding art in literature.

Suffice it to say that it hurt. I sucked on the abused appendage, swearing that I would wreak vengeance on the miserable little rodent.