Tiffany in Wonderland
Text ©2003 Roger E. Moore (email@example.com)
Daria and associated characters are ©2003 MTV Networks
Feedback (good, bad, indifferent, just want to bother me, whatever) is appreciated. Please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Synopsis: Tiffany Blum-Deckler goes to Wonderland, and Wonderland goes to heck.
Author’s Notes: This story began life in August 2003, when the first part was posted on PPMB for no particular reason. It was expanded considerably and published in much this same form in October, on the Sh33p's Fluff Message Board, in the “Story Time” topic.
Several other “Daria” fanfic stories have an Alice connection. The interested reader can look up “If You Only Walk Long Enough” and “Wonderlane” for some fun.
Acknowledgments: Thanks to Scarlett, who found an error in the original story. 8)
The Caterpillar and the seven-year-old girl with long black hair looked at each other for some time in silence. At long last, the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth—but before it could say anything, the little girl peering over the mushroom cap made a yuck face and said, “Ewww.”
The Caterpillar fixed the child with a stern look. “Who are you?” it said.
“Tiffany,” drawled the girl with an air of disgust. “Smoking is gross.”
“It is not gross,” said the Caterpillar, deeply offended. “It—”
“It is gross,” said Tiffany, looking him over. “It stinks. And you’re a bug.”
“I am a Caterpillar, not a bug!” snapped the Caterpillar.
“You have too many legs,” she pointed out, unperturbed. She pronounced the word “legs” so that it had two syllables.
“I would say that you had too few legs,” the Caterpillar retorted, “so perhaps you are a bug. And speaking of you—who are you?”
“Tiffany,” Tiffany repeated. She looked down at the mushroom cap over which she peered and sniffed it. “If I eat this truffle,” she said, “will it make me fat?”
The Caterpillar threw down his hookah pipe and crawled off the giant mushroom. “This must be the dreadful child who’s causing all the trouble for the royals,” he muttered as he left. “I must speak with the Duchess about the kind of people we allow in Wonderland these days.”
Tiffany Blum-Deckler sighed. The Caterpillar was the eighth strange creature to have walked away from a conversation with her since she fell down the rabbit hole in her parents’ backyard in Lawndale. “People here are so rude,” she said, her slow drawl giving “rude” two syllables as well. She shrugged and walked back in the direction of the White Rabbit’s home. She was sure if she only walked long enough, she would find a bottle of skin moisturizer or at least a decent all-purpose hand cream in one of the Rabbit’s drawers or closets. Assuming, of course, that dirty lizard in the coveralls didn’t come back again and yell at her to leave. So rude.
As Tiffany walked, however, she quickly discovered she wasn’t going in the direction she had thought. Ahead of her through the tall blades of grass—which had curiously turned into trees—she spied a rustic cottage with a thatched roof. It reminded her of a cottage she had seen in Disneyland that held seven gigantic bearded fellows and a moderately attractive woman in a very unfashionable blue-and-white dress who sang about whistling while you worked, as if anyone could possibly imagine doing actual work or even whistling. Work was something your parents hired other people to do. Whistling was both annoying and, oh, so low class.
As Tiffany drew nearer to the cottage, she noticed that the roof was actually made of brownish-gray rabbit fur. Tall rabbit ears stuck up from the roof at either end, from each of which a bit of smoke drifted out. That roof must have cost a fortune, she thought, thinking of her mother’s collection of furs, which Tiffany sometimes wore when no one was looking. The rain and sun have probably ruined it, though. Someone doesn’t know very much about fur care. Tiffany was secretly pleased that she knew so much about fur care when other people obviously didn’t. Curious to see if the owners had any un-ruined furs she could borrow and wear, she straightened her shoulders and made for the cottage.
Unnoticed in the boughs of the trees, a large Cheshire Cat looked down on the child and grinned.
A small table was set under a tree in front of the house, and around the table were three chairs. There was space for a fourth chair, but no chair was present. One chair was occupied by a very large bird that Tiffany thought might be an ugly chicken with a long, curved beak, and another chair by a creature that Tiffany thought might be a lion or possibly an eagle, as it seemed to have parts of each. Between the two sat a small mouselike creature that was fast asleep, using an empty saucer for pillow. The Dodo and the Gryphon—which is what the first two creatures were, respectively—were using the sleeping Dormouse—the third creature—as an armrest.
“Come on! Have a seat!” cried the Gryphon with a mild Cockney accent, upon spotting Tiffany. The Dodo solemnly stood up as Tiffany approached, clearing its throat to murmur, “Welcome, now! Welcome!” and gesturing in an officious manner at the empty space at the table.
“Thank you,” said Tiffany, and she took the Dodo’s overstuffed chair for herself. The Dodo didn’t notice this and tried to sit down, falling over backward instead.
“Here, now!” cried the Gryphon, ignoring the Dodo and pouring a cup of tea for Tiffany. “Have some treacle! Fresh from the well!”
Tiffany lifted her cup and sniffed it. “Is it good?” she asked with a slight frown.
“Of course!” snapped the Gryphon irritably. “It came from a well, so it ought to taste well, too!”
“Or three,” murmured the Dormouse, slightly less than half awake.
“You mean, it ought to taste good,” said Tiffany, who had been corrected on this very point of grammar the day before in her second-grade class in Lawndale Elementary School. She was more than happy to set someone else straight on the issue.
“Tastes good? Oh, I like that!” sneered the Gryphon. “Treacle can’t taste nothing! Where’s its tongue, then?”
“It has a flavorful nose, so it can certainly smell,” said the Dodo, who had stood up again and was looking around for its chair.
“It has a bit of a bite,” said the Dormouse sleepily, “so it must have teeth.”
“Is that your house?” asked Tiffany in an effort to change the subject, pointing to the cottage with the fur-thatched roof. All this talk about tea having facial parts was extremely confusing.
“It’s as much mine as it is yours,” said the Gryphon airily, leaning back in its chair to sip its tea. “It’s as much yours as it is his! Hjckrrh!” This last part sounded like the Gryphon was clearing its throat, which made Tiffany glare because clearing your throat at the table was very rude.
“The fine gentlemen who live there,” interrupted the Dodo, who now stood at the table at the spot where it once sat, “have gone in search of a mythical being that has invaded our land and is terrorizing the citizens.”
“A what?” asked Tiffany, who had gotten stuck on the word “mythical.”
“Not a what,” said the Dodo. “A being.” It leaned close to Tiffany as if imparting a fabulous bit of gossip. “A human,” it whispered.
“Humans!” said the Gryphon with contempt, swishing the contents of its teacup. “I ain’t got no idea at all what they’re good for!”
“Or five,” said the Dormouse, almost asleep again.
“Is it okay if I look inside the house for a fur?” asked Tiffany, deciding it best to cut to the heart of the matter. “I love fur.”
“S’lovely,” slurred the Dormouse. “S’wunnerful.” It twitched its nose because one of the Gryphon’s wing feathers was tickling it.
“Well,” said the Dodo, looking around once more for its chair, “perhaps we should adjourn and reconvene inside the aforesaid abode to scrutinize its contents for the desired accoutrement.”
Tiffany and the Gryphon glanced up at the Dodo with blank expressions, waiting.
The Dodo sighed and cleared its throat. “I meant,” it said testily, “why don’t we go inside and look?”
“Whatever’s your fancy, guv,” said the Gryphon, putting down its teacup and rising from the table. It poked the Dormouse in the side with a foreclaw. “Our little friend here can have whatever’s left of the meal that we haven’t yet ate.”
“Or nine,” said the Dormouse, and it began to snore.
Tiffany, the Dodo, and the Gryphon had left the table and were making for the front door of the cottage when horrified cries went up from the forest nearby. Turning, Tiffany saw a man with an enormous hat standing next to a scruffy brown rabbit. They jumped up and down at the edge of the wood, pointing and shouting, “It’s her! It’s her!”
The Dodo and the Gryphon frowned at each other. “What the devil?” said the Dodo with a puzzled look.
“The human!” shouted the Mad Hatter, nearly losing his hat as he jumped about so frantically. “She’s it! It’s her!” With that, the Hatter and the March Hare fled back into the trees in indescribable panic.
“Her?” said the Dodo, and it looked at Tiffany with wide eyes. “They mean to tell us that—”
“Blimey!” shrieked the Gryphon, who had finally caught on. It stared at Tiffany in fright. “It is! Run for it, guvnah!”
In moments, Tiffany was alone outside the furry-roofed cottage—except for the Dormouse, which snored away at the table and muttered in its sleep. She shook her head, and then tried the cottage door. It was locked, of course. Being a polite and well-mannered sort, she cleaned up after the tea party by pouring all the tea remaining in the cups back into the pot, then carrying the empty cups to the cottage and throwing them through an open window. Her own tea set at home was made of unbreakable plastic. She expected that this set would be likewise, though the crashing sounds inside the cottage made her wonder.
Cleanup accomplished, Tiffany set off again in hopes of finding either a hand cream or a fur coat. It looked like her search would take longer than she’d originally expected, but she was patient. Perhaps, if she was lucky, she’d find a mall.
Tiffany reentered the forest and finally discovered a huge gate set between two trees. It opened with only a touch. On the other side of the gate was the most beautiful garden Tiffany had ever seen in all her seven years, which was saying something because her parents had taken her to some marvelous private gardens in their time, not to mention a few in Europe. All paled into insignificance compared to this one. Brilliant flowerbeds in spectacular hues of scarlet, gold, and purple ran riot around crystalline fountains that filled the air with a cool, refreshing spray. The grass was soft and emerald green, and the azure sky was bright and breezy warm.
No one was present at the moment, so Tiffany took her time to talk to the flowers (who had faces and spoke back in high, squeaky tones), run her fingers through the bright waters of the fountains, and play with the hedgehogs and pink flamingoes that wandered about everywhere.
Best of all, Tiffany could see herself perfectly in the mirrorlike pools scattered around the gardens. She had fallen into Paradise itself.
This idyllic life, alas, was interrupted when a large White Rabbit wearing a waistcoat ran past out of nowhere. “Mary Ann!” cried the Rabbit as it sped past Tiffany. “Take good care of the house while I’m away! I’ll send for my fan and gloves later!” And, just like that, it was gone.
“How rude!” grumbled Tiffany, quite irked that she had been mistaken for a housekeeper. She looked down at herself and saw nothing in her outfit that would have indicated she was a common laborer. The Rabbit obviously suffered from bad breeding.
Before she could meditate on the Rabbit’s upbringing any further, a large assortment of soldiers ran by, their eyes glazed with terror. The soldiers would have looked like oversized playing cards except for their heads, arms, and feet. The few soldiers carrying spears and swords flung these aside in order to speed their flight through the garden. None of them bumped into Tiffany, though they cried “Your pardon, miss!” and “Clumsy of me!” and “Good day!” as they flew by in panic.
“Must be a marathon somewhere,” said Tiffany, more to herself than to anyone else. The playing cards had numbers printed on them, of course, so a marathon was the perfect answer—until the royalty ran past. First was the Knave, carrying a mound of strawberry tarts clutched to his chest. He had been in the act of eating them, judging from the smears of jelly on his face, when he fled for his life. “Lovely weather!” the Knave panted to Tiffany, but he did not stop to offer her any tarts. It was just as well because, from the looks of them, the tarts were not the fat-free sort.
Following the Knave a few moments later was a Duchess clutching a squalling baby. The Duchess’s feet pounded the ground as she huffed and puffed on her way. At the last possible moment, she flung her baby at Tiffany, the better to speed her departure. Tiffany caught the baby despite her surprise. “Better you than me!” the Duchess cried without stopping for a moment. “And the moral of that is—”
“Off with your head!” shrieked a high, feminine voice some distance behind the Duchess. The Duchess vanished in a second, her moral unfinished.
Tiffany lifted the infant to her face, hoping that it was not one of those ugly babies that one is forever forced to praise as beautiful. To her horror, she discovered it was not a baby after all, but a small pig. “Ewww!” she cried, and she immediately let it go. It galloped away after the Duchess, squealing madly.
A perspiring King ran through the garden next, followed close on his heels by an Executioner (the Ace of Spades, of course). The King was clearly not in shape for such strenuous exertion. The Executioner tossed his heavy beheading axe into a fountain and overtook the King as they went out of sight.
Nothing more happened for several seconds. Tiffany was just about to leave for a less trafficked part of the garden when the thumping of heavy feet attracted her attention. She glanced up just in time to see a Queen whiz past. The Queen’s face was red from running and her eyes big with fear. “Offwithyourheadlater!” gasped the Queen before she, too, disappeared along the path everyone else had taken.
This was too much, even for Tiffany. She immediately set off in the direction from which everyone had come, to find out why they were running and to see if anyone else was heading her way.
And someone was.
“Off with your head!” came a young girl’s shrill cry not far ahead. Tiffany kept walking, the idea never once occurring to her that she should be running away like all the other folk. In moments, she rounded a shrubbery and came face to face with—another young girl, about her own height, wearing the most marvelous soft-red-velvet, white-fur-trimmed royal robe imaginable. Tiffany thought she knew the girl from her class in Lawndale Elementary. She must have fallen down a rabbit hole, too. Perhaps she was friendly and would let someone borrow her furs.
“You!” yelled the brown-haired girl at Tiffany. “Off with your head!”
“It doesn’t come off,” Tiffany responded after a moment.
“Where’s that Executioner?” shouted the girl imperiously. She raised a jeweled scepter and shook it in the air. “Why isn’t he following my orders? Off with his head!”
“He went that way,” Tiffany said helpfully, pointing behind her. She looked at the fur-trimmed robe the girl wore. “That’s beautiful,” she said with a sigh. “Can I wear it?”
“No!” shouted the girl. “It’s mine! Sandi Griffin does not share her furs!”
“Oh,” said Tiffany. She looked so downcast that Sandi—the other little girl—felt a stirring of pity inside her.
“Very well,” said Sandi. She pointed the jeweled scepter at Tiffany’s stomach. “If you will be my loyal handmaiden, you may have the next fur I find. Unless it’s nicer than this one, of course, in which case you may have this one for your own.”
Tiffany’s face brightened. “Thanks!”
she said with a shy smile. “I’m Tiffany.”
“Tiffany,” said Sandi. The scepter lowered and bumped into the grass. “Are you in Lawndale Elementary? Second grade?”
“How old are you?” asked Sandi with a glare.
Sandi’s face cleared. “Ah!” she said in a friendlier tone. “I’m eight, so I’ll be in charge. I was held back a year. I took all this stuff away from the noisy lady.”
“Cool,” said Tiffany.
“Let’s go find some more furs!” said Sandi. She pointed with the scepter in a random direction. “I think there’s a palace over that way. We’ll break down the doors and get some crowns and necklaces and gold rings, too!”
“Super!” said Tiffany. She couldn’t believe her luck. Finally, she knew someone who could get the ultimate in dress-up attire and accessories!
And so the two girls wandered off together through the garden, talking of fashion and furs, and Wonderland was never quite the same again.
Fantasy, crossover (Alice in Wonderland)