“Bozone’s been declared dangerous to our health. The Royal Court’s going to regulate it. All citizens now have to pay a tax to the Crown. The King said everyone will be treated firmly, but fairly. He said he’d never allow his Royal Decree – A Propos a Fair Go for All Warmerlanders Inconvenienced by Climate Strange - to slide out the back door.”
“The evidence, ‘Doom, the evidence!”
“Here it is,” trumpeted Tweedledoom, “the evidence!”
“Warmerland’s had a huge increase in acne, acronyms, acts of God, algae, alligator allergies, anthropogenic interference, antibody deficiencies, anxiety, argy-bargy, astrology, asylum seekers, atmospheric anomalies, barmy armies, bats, beatifications, bee stings, big steps forward, black dogs, blizzards, blue mussels, boredom, bozonorexia nervosa, brain-eating bacteria, broken jaws, bubble blowing, bubonic plague, bunnies…..”
“If you’re going to be too much longer,” Alice asked as politely as she could, “would you please tell me which path….?”
“…….and in camel deaths, carbon cowboys, caterpillars, causal pathways, chattering classes, cherry picking, climate conferences, closed shops, cold showers, conflicts, convulsions, computer models, coral preaching, crocodile tears and cougar attacks.”
“Is that so, ‘Doom?” interrupted Tweedledum. “You left out damsel fish aggression, dark horses, decadal oscillations, depression, dermatitis, desertification, diarrhoea, dog diseases, double dipping, drowning, dust bowls, eager beavers, earthquakes, eavesdropping, eco-evangelism, endangered species, erosion, executive salaries, extinctions, extreme events and so on and so forth.”
“If you know what you’re talking about, ‘Dum, then tell us. You can’t just say ‘and so on and so forth.’”
“You’ve also left out famine, feuding families, fudge factors, funny farms, fever, floods, frequent flyers, frosts and fungi; not to mention hanky-panky, hat tricks, hay fever, heat waves, hockey sticks, home invasions, honey traps, hot seats, hybrid hyenas, independent experts, invisible hands, irritable bowel syndrome, jibber-jabber, kangaroo courts, kidney stones, late-night meetings, little Gracie letters, locust plagues, magic potions, mammoth dung, melting moments, missing out, mission statements, moon madness, movers and shakers, mudslides, mumbo-jumbo, open books, orang-utans, pecking orders, peer reviews, polar picnics, popcorn, pregnant pauses, proper ganders and purposeful persuasion?”
“I was wondering,” asked Alice, again very politely, “if you know the best way out of this forest? It will be dark soon. I have to meet a Mad Hatter and a Magic Pudding for tea. Can you tell me, please?” The two fat boys, however, only looked blankly at each other.
Tweedledoom then smiled weakly and continued on. “There’s been a big increase too in quantitative easing, random fluctuations, scapegoats, sea shepherds, shark attacks, silly billies, sour grapes, sperm counts, spiders, spin doctors, squids, squirrels, stress tests, standing ovations, suicide, swordfish, take-home messages, taxes, thermo-maniacs, think-tanks, tipping points, toilet training, troubled assets, true believers, twitter traffic, volcanic vapours, white knights, wild goose chases, witchcraft, woolly notions and work choices.”
“That’s not evidence,” said Tweedledum. “It’s just a list. A list isn’t a proof of anything.”
“It is proof! It proves, it proves…”
“On the contrary, ‘Doom, your silly list proves only one thing – silliness,” said Tweedledum. “It has almost everything in Warmerland on it. You haven’t proved Bozone’s causing any of them.”
“The King says it’s true!”
“Just because someone says something – once, twice, three or n times, where n is a very large number – doesn’t mean it’s true.”
“Yes, it does!”
“Can you fit your size twelve feet into size six shoes; or put your socks on after you’ve put them into size twelve shoes?”
“Bozone’s bigger than the size of my feet, Dum! Warmerland has to be given the benefit of the doubt. It’s better to act and be wrong than not to act and be wrong. The clock’s ticking. Delay is denial!”
“What about the size of your ears? How can delay be denial? If we act and we’re wrong, it would have been smarter to delay. Warmerland won’t be saved by silliness.”
Tweedledoom suddenly seized Alice’s wrist. “Do you see that?” he said in a very distressed voice, pointing a trembling finger at a small white object under a bush.
Alice picked it up. “It’s only a rattle, an old and broken rattle. There’s some faded words on it….. made in Kyoto.”
“I knew it was mine!” cried Tweedledoom. He jumped about wildly and began to tear at his hair. “It’s spoilt now, of course!”
He looked fiercely in Tweedledum’s direction. He was sitting on the ground under a green umbrella with Hopenhagen written on it in big letters.
Alice put her hand on his arm and tried to comfort him. “You needn’t be so upset about an old rattle,” she said. “It’s not a rattle-snake.”
“But it isn’t that old!” Tweedledoom cried. “It’s still as good as new,” he said, his voice rising to a scream.
“‘I’ll loan you my rattle,” said Tweedledum. “It makes a lot more noise – and money.”
“No! No! I don’t want it.”
“‘Let’s kick yours into the long grass, like this!” Tweedledoom scurried after it, close to tears.
“He should’ve borrowed mine,” Tweedledee whispered to Alice. “This new COP-15 model’s magic.”
“There’s an awful lot of magic in Warmerland. What does your rattle do?”
“It’ll turn Bozone into gold.”
“That’s amazing! Wherever did you get it? “
In Copenhagen; where they struck an Accord
To avoid a catastrophe, one we apparently cannot afford:
Warmerland mustn’t warm more than two plus degrees.
The wizards there said: “We can prevent it with ease.
It’s a breeze; we’re only too happy to please.
Oh, could you bring lots of gold from your great hoard?
To stop Climate Strange we’ll need a reward
For services rendered and fences mended,
For this and that and rights surrendered.
To locate the world’s thermostat requires great skill,
It just can’t be done by any old (or young) dill.
The exercise, of course, will be all above board;
Wizards today never do any stuff untoward.
If you take our advice, you’ll be sure to succeed;
Reduce your emissions and the world will take heed.
But be warned: all pledges are binding;
Big penalties apply if there’s a finding
You’ve strayed from your goal, put things on hold,
Didn’t do what you promised or had to be told.
Expect rigorous, robust and transparent scrutiny,
There’s no other way to prevent the odd mutiny.
To encourage mitigation measures, there I was told,
All low emission pathways will be paved with gold.
To this end a High Level Panel has come into being.
To ensure all pull their weight and there’s no disagreeing.
“Here, try it. Shake it with both hands and say the magic words.”
“The magic words, ‘Dum, tell me the magic words!”
“Tell me, please!”
“Whether the weather is hot…..”
“’Whether the weather is hot; yes, go on, go on, please!”
“Whether the weather is cold…”
“Whether the weather is cold….”
Alice noticed it was growing dark quickly, so quickly it must be a thunderstorm. ”Look at that big black cloud. It’s coming so fast. It’s not a cloud!”
“It’s Blind Freddy’s crows,” Tweedledoom cried out in alarm. “They’re after us!” The two brothers dropped everything and took to their heels. They were out of sight before Alice could say – “The clock is ticking. Delay is denial!”
Alice ran a little way into the forest and crouched under a large bush. “They’ll never get at me here,” she thought. “I’ll hide under Tweedledum’s umbrella tonight and go back to the junction early tomorrow. I’ll put his rattle in my backpack in case he comes back for it. Thank goodness Albert gave me some slices of pudding. At least I won’t go hungry.”
But sleep did not come easily. The singing began about midnight and went on for a long time. It seemed to be coming from the direction of the Green Queen’s Grotto.
Alice, will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you join our Bozone dance?
Heaven knows, Hell knows, Warmerland knows, we’ve got only one more chance.
Alice, will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you join our Bozone dance?
Heaven knows, Hell knows, Barney Bull knows, his mob must go to France!
Alice Adventures in Warmerland Part 1 is here…
Alice Adventures in Warmerland Part 2 is here…
The episodes of Alice by Michael Kile, published in Quadrant Online, are part of a work in progress.