White rabbit had started one of his long lectures about the importance of being on time again. Alice nodded whenever it seemed appropriate to maintain the illusion that she was listening. In truth, she would rather be home, listening to Alanis Morissette on her iPod.
Suddenly, she remembered another girl who got stuck in another land called Oz or something to that effect, who got home by clicking her heels thrice.
And that’s exactly what Alice did.
But you, dear reader, would recall, that would only work if you had on ruby slippers and chanted, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”
So, instead, Alice ended up on Cloud Island.
Cloud Island didn’t look all that different from Wonderland.
“I knew it was too good to be true. Fairytales don’t exist,” Alice thought to herself.
Out of sheer boredom, Alice broke off a piece of a giant mushroom and ate it – she didn’t grow any bigger or smaller. A buzzard was sitting on a tree not far off, Alice asked her for a sip of water – she didn’t grow any bigger or smaller.
An osprey landed by the side of the buzzard, and the two started grooming each other.
After what seemed like an eternity to Alice, the osprey turned to her and stretched out his wing in salutation. Alice stretched out her hand, only to see instead she had wings.
Alice looked down at her feet, her favourite pair of shoes no longer fit her, for she now has two scaly toes on each foot. She cocked her neck towards the automatic glass door to catch her reflection and found that her neck was long enough to reach all the way to her white tail.
For two days, Alice the ostrich, under the tutelage of Osprey learnt the tricks of being a bird. Osprey had many students, and among Alice’s cohort were a couple of eagles and their hatchlings, a few seagulls and even a family of bats.
Alice learnt to listen more, how to listen more intently, and how to project her (bird) calls more effectively. She also realised her perspective used to be limited to whatever was on the ground, but now that her neck and legs have grown much longer, Alice was able to glimpse further into the horizon – though she longed to fly and gain the perspective of her cohort who were able to soar into the clouds.
Alice had a ball of a time on Cloud Island.
Alas, all good things must come to an end, and at the end of the second day, Osprey gave a great big flap with his wings and sent Alice flying, flying, flying back to Wonderland.
Thump. Alice landed on her bum on a sandy patch. And as luck would have it, White Rabbit was just beside her, tsk-tsking. He tapped his watch exactly six times, then motioned for Alice to follow him with a violent cock of his head towards the direction of the Red Queen’s palace.
White Rabbit prostrated himself at the Red Queen’s feet, apologising profusely for being late, but she ignored him, and continued to tip her chin regally at the courtiers and parliament of mice streaming in.
When the last mouse had taken his seat, and White Rabbit took his position at the stenographer’s desk, the queen asked Alice, “My child, what did you learn from the Osprey?”
“My queen, I learnt that content is king,” answered Alice.
“I will not have this blasphemy in my court. Off with her head!”
“My queen, if I may interject, the child is right. Content holds sway, and power, not only in your court, but quite simply everywhere. YouTube, Pinterest, radio, television – whether online or terrestrial,” Caterpillar said.
“But if I were to post a video on YouTube, don’t they own that video?” asked the queen.
“Precisely. Hence all aggregators of content seek to control as much content as they possibly can, thereby enforcing content is king,” replied Caterpillar.
“Off with their heads! Off with all your heads!”
White Rabbit rushed forward to placate the queen, leaving a trail of dust from his desk right up to the queen’s dais.
Taking advantage of the obscurity provided by the dust, a stampede exited the palace. Seven of Hearts tripped Five of Hearts in his haste, causing One through Ten of Hearts to fall down in an un-sequenced pile.
Stepping around the messy pile, a mouse shouted to Alice, “This way, child!”
Alice had quite enough of orders from mice and rabbits…
“Stand up straight, Alice.”
“Straighten your back, Alice.”
“Pass the salt.”
“I need that by 5pm.”
“Sit near me, Alice.”
“Have another macaroon, Alice.”
So even though everyone fled east, west and south, Alice alone went north.
She walked for miles, only to end up at Caterpillar’s mushroom.
“I’d like to get home. Can you help me, Caterpillar?”
“You have unfinished business in Wonderland.”
And so with that advice, Alice made nice with the Red Queen, White Rabbit and the mice and One through Ten of Hearts.
Alice continued to shuttle between home and Wonderland, and thought about Cloud Island often. She dreamed constantly of frolicking in the clouds, but Alice knew if she wanted to soar, she’d have to work really really hard, and take what the Osprey had said to heart.
Hence, it is with the final full-stop of this little tale that comes up in exactly eight words, Alice went back to her textbooks.