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Entries in Alice in Wonderland (1)


Mandarin Duck, Cadiz, Spain

Omar remembered a daughter in Cadiz. Faith worked at Mandarin Duck selling paper and writing instruments. She practiced a calm stationary way.

“May I help you,” she said one morning greeting a bearded stranger. She knew he was a forcestero. His eyes linked their loneliness minus words. She averted her eyes. He was looking for quick painless intimacy and ink.

“I’d like a refill for this,” he said, unscrewing a purple cloud-writing instrument with a white peak.

Recognizing the Swiss rollerball writing tool she opened a cabinet and removed a boxes of thin and medium cartridges.

“One or many?” she said.

“Many. I don’t want to run dry in the middle of a simple true sentence.”

“I agree. There’s nothing more challenging than running empty while taking a line for a walk.”  

“Isn’t that the truth? Why run when you can walk? Are you a writer?”

“Isn’t everyone? I love watercolors, painting, drawing, sketching moistly.”


“I wet the paper first. It saturate colors with natural vibrancy.”

“With tears of joy or tears of sadness?”

“Depends on the sensation and the intensity of my feeling. What’s the difference? Tears are tears. The heart is a lonely courageous hunter.”

He twirled a peacock feather. Remembering Omar’s Mont Blanc 149 piston fountain pen, he said, “I also need a bottle of ink.”

“What color? We have black, blue, red. British racing green just came in.”

“Racing green! Cool. Hmm, let’s try it.” Omar would be pleased with this expedient color.

He switched subjects to seduce her with his silver tongue.

“Are you free after work? Perhaps we might share a drink and tapas? Perhaps a little mango tango?”

“I have other plans. I am not sexually repressed. I am liberated. I have a blind secret lover. Here you are,” she said handing him cartridges and inkbottle with a white mountain.

He paid with a handful of tears and a rose thorn. His ink stained fingers touched thin, fine and extra fine points of light. Faith and her extramarital merchandise were thin and beautiful. She was curious.

“If you don’t mind my asking,” she said. “How old are you?”

“Older than yesterday and younger than tomorrow.”

“I see.”

“It was nice meeting you. By the way, have you seen the film, Pan’s Labyrinth, written and directed by Guillermo Del Toro?”

“No, but I’ve heard about it. Something about our Civil War in 1944, repression and a young girl’s fantasy.”

“Yes, that’s right. It’s really a beautiful film on many levels. It reminded me of Alice in Wonderland.”

“Wow,” she said, “I loved that film, especially when Alice meets the Mad Hatter. Poor rabbit, always in a hurry, looking at his watch.”

“Funny you should mention time. A watch plays a small yet significant role in the Pan film.”

“Really? How ironic. I’ll have to see it.”

“Yes, it’ll be good for your spirit.”

He pulled out a Swizz Whizz Army stainless steel, water resistant Victoriabnoxious pocket watch.

“My, look at the time! Tick-tock. Gotta walk. Thanks for the ink. Create with passion.” He disappeared.

Faith sang a lonely echo. “Thanks. Enjoy your word pearls. Safe travels.”

Under the Banyan tree he sat on a park bench in weak sun, fed cartridges into a mirror and clicked off the safety. It was a rock n’ roll manifesto with a touch of razzmatazz jazz featuring Coltrane, Miles, Monk, Mingus and Getz to the verb.

A Century is Nothing