So I have a writer-friend who thoroughly enjoys Lewis Carroll’s Alice tales. This smoking hedgehog, not to be confused with a hookah smoking caterpillar, looks like it could be right at home in that universe. Well, not there precisely, but somewhere in my imagination that is not very far from there.
Drawing a puff of the delectable seven-leaf Wonderland blend, Germaine clamped down lightly on her lucite pipe stem and smacked her lips around it. First drag in. Nodding appreciatively at the subtle larkspur undertones, she almost smiled at the tendrils of rainbow smoke braiding themselves.
Shortly after leaving Wonderland, she cultivated a sense of time. Never–in the decades since–had she missed the land more.
There were colors. Powerfully radiant colors that could almost reach out and poke you in the eye and, if you weren’t careful about it, would. …not that anything unwelcomed could ever get through her spectacles. There, Germaine’s glasses kept her from becoming lost in the aching beauty of everything.
Here in the silent Blandlands, color proved to be the most elusive of creatures. The wide prairies of crabgrass that ran out into the featureless horizon beneath the equally drab sky? Cold shades of light gray. The rare paperback maple trees peelings had the most range with their somber medium gradient deepening to charcoal in the pockets of shadow.
Germaine had search far and long to find a spot to place her home.
Eventually, when all of the color faded, the house just stopped walking and settled down among a patch of trees. She–for her part–took out her stool and simply sat to wait for the house to raise back up.
She puffed again. Had it really been decades?
The tendrils of rainbow smoke, in typical Wonderland fashion, curled and bent to form a cursive answer. Yes.
Thinking back on the fast-talking traveling salesman in his disheveled hundred dollar suit–the one who foisted this amazingly fine tobacco on her–Germaine caught a kiss of color. Where the smoke had ran across her snout, the pink and lavender of the fur there had returned.
© Ezekiel James Boston