When In Rome
Yvette sat down at the table and looked at her peculiar fellow diners. Some were tall, some stout, and there was one man at the head of the table with a tall emerald hat on. Eevee tucked her hair behind her ears and put her cap on her lap. She was more inclined to look at the china teacup and saucer in front of her, with it’s tiny painted roses. If she could avoid looking at her strange company, perhaps she could imagine she was at a practically normal tea party.
“Delightful, isn’t it?” Eric Cheshire slid into the cozy armchair beside her and slicked his hand back through his greasy blonde hair. The long day of travel had him slightly off his usual attractive appearance. Yvette sniffed disapprovingly at his optimism, and raised her hands, jigging the metal cuffs that Ches clasped on her in order to keep her her from “exploring”.
“Gonna take these things off, now?” she scowled, but before Ches had the chance (or inclination) to answer, the man in the green hat at the head of the table stood and tapped the sugar spoon against his teacup.
“Attention please!” the crowd silenced, but for good measure, he tapped his teacup harder and repeated “Attention please!” He smiled and dropped his teacup on the table, where it crashed, spilling tea and chips of china on the lacy tablecloth. “It is now four o clock, and the time is going tickity tockity!” he giggled and tugged one of his oversized earlobes. “Well, what are you waiting for? Have some tea!”
The hare went first, lifting his own ivory-coloured chica teacup and smashing it delightedly against his saucer. An echo of clattering followed, and all together, the rest of the company smashed their own teacups. Eevee looked down at her own teacup and considered how much money and how much it must have cost and how her mother never let her play with the china when she was having tea parties at as a child because it might break.
Suddenly she felt a hundred multi-coloured eyes fall upon her shoulders as the fifty guests, all still and silent, closed in on her. Their green-hatted host climbed on the long table and his big feet sunk into the shard. He left bloody footprints on the table, but nobody seemed to notice expect for Eevee. Ches nudged her, and she looked at him. He nodded his blue eyes toward the teacup and slowly Eevee reached her chained hands toward the china.
Well, she thought to herself, when in Rome….
She lifted her teacup and let it fall through her fingers on to the table. The handle broke off and fell to the side, but the rest of the teacup remained intact. Still, it seemed enough to please the host, but he stopped in front of her, his scuffed black shoes only a millimeter away from the bread and butter. “Delightful!” he chortled, and he jumped on the table. It groaned beneath his weight and china shuttered. Yvette forced a smile and the host raised his hands above his head and shouted “Move right!”
Yvette was nearly trampled by the guest moving seats, and as she struggled to move with the crowd, Ches whispered in her ear, “I hope you like him, peanut, he’s going to teach you his trade.”
As Eevee fell into a three-legged chair, she gasped, “You mean he’s…”
“The Mad Hatter? Mais oui.”
The shattering of the china resumed, and with wide brown eyes, Eevee looked at her host again and the reality of her situation sunk in. She would be spending the next twelve months with a madman.