Renowned Parliament member Margaret Kent was sent on behalf of the Queen, excited to watch the game.
The watching spectators didn't care about the Queen, her dog, or the pretentious Parliament woman. The crowd's only concern was the long-awaited game. They looked as enthusiastic as Wonderland rabbits, checking their watches and knuckling their fingers, ready for an afternoon of a brilliant football match—soccer game, if you're American.
After a hard-working week, licking dust off their bosses' shoes, and paying their taxes, all they wanted was pure, mindless entertainment. They watched the players in the field kick-start the match, frantically chasing after the helpless ball as if their lives depended on it. Some would wonder why they kicked the ball away if they liked it that much, but that was a nonsensical argument for another time.
"I can't see anything, Mummy." A chubby kid among the spectators pulled his mother's coat. The kid didn't really like football. He was here because his mother had promised him an
"Shhh," the mother said. The woman wore an absurd red fur coat and big black glasses. "Patience, my dear," she said. "Madness comes to those who wait."
The boy rubbed his eyes with his fatty hands, and then sighed. He rummaged through his snack box and contemplated whether he should eat one of those Snicker Snackers twin-bars, or maybe have a fizzy Tumtum drink. He settled for a rainbow-colored Lollipop Lane as he waited for the insane surprise.
Down in the field, a player kicked the ball so high it landed atop the banks of the opponent's fans. A man with a silver front tooth, wearing the club's shirt, hugged the ball as if it were his newborn baby. A few other fans went bonkers and began kicking him to give the ball back and resume the game.
In such cases, the chubby kid was told, another ball was provided to continue the game.
And so it happened.
One of Manchester's players was given a substitute ball, which they kicked and chased again. That was when the Wonderland madness began...
A few kicks in, the players felt something unordinary about the new ball. The game was halted as the referee approached to check it himself.
"The ball is a bit heavy," player number fourteen said.
"Yes, it is!" another agreed. "That's unusual."
"What's wrong with this bloody ball?" a sweating player asked impatiently.
The referee weighed the ball upon his hand. It certainly was significantly heavier than the standard ball.
Which was impossible.
All balls had to be previously inspected by FIFA, the international federation of football. Each ball's design followed a set of standard manufacturing rules.
"I think there is something
"It's pregnant," a player chuckled before another snatched the ball from him.
"Get me a knife!" the referee’s curiosity ruled over any logic. "I have to slice it open. It could be a bomb!"
Back in the crowd, the chubby kid had his eyes glazed to the scene, licking his lollipop at a faster pace. A surge of excitement ran through his veins as the soundtrack of the movie
Mommy, looking like a widow in a funeral with her dark glasses, said nothing.
"What's in the ball, Mommy!" the boy insisted.
She only squeezed her son's chubby hands for assurance, and continued watching the incident in the field.
Somehow, right after slicing the ball in two, players began to run away in all directions. The referee who had the ball cut open was the first to run. He ran like a mad chicken, panicked by the egg it had just laid. Then the players followed. They couldn't stand witnessing the horrible
Shivers of panic waved like a storm through the stadium—more excitement for the lollipop-licking boy
"This is the surprise, right?" The boy was about to faint from excitement.
Mommy nodded. A thin, almost unnoticeable, hint of a smile curved on her lips.
There was one last standing player in the field. Player number fourteen. The player seemed paralyzed by fear. He bent down and picked up the thing that had been bouncing inside the ball. Holding it, he had to stare at it for a while. He craned his head back and forth, inspecting what he was really looking at. It didn't make sense to him why such a thing was stuffed inside a ball. Who would do such a horrible thing?
The cameraman, although scared, approached the player slowly, trying to broadcast this terrible incident that would cling to the memory of the world later. Player number fourteen held up the thing to the camera.
"It's a..." the player said.
Whatever it was, it was trickling fresh blood.
The chubby boy in the crowd couldn’t hear what the player said. His mother handed him a binocular. The boy focused the binoculars at the player with the horrible thing in his hands.
Finally, he saw it. He saw what was in the ball.
A human head which had been stuffed inside the ball a few minutes ago.
"It's a kid's head!" the boy hailed.
Some of the crowd began to faint. The rest ran away like ducks, stepping on each other toward the exit door.
"Good boy." His mother patted him as she stood fixed in her place. It seemed as if people avoided them while they panicked and ran around them. "Now be an even goody-dooder and tell the crowd what's written on the head's forehead," she instructed her boy.
Shifting his angle, the boy saw the player, now shivering with his hands glued to the ball, showing it to the camera, eyes shaded with terror.
At this moment, the panic had reached an apocalyptic level, where the crowd stepped over each other out of fear and need to escape the stadium. Still, the player held the ball with trembling hands, showing the world on camera the written words on the head.
The boy smiled from ear to ear as he read it. To him, the scene was all beauty, and he was glad. After witnessing the dead girl with a grin in Oxford University last week, this was starting to become exciting. The boy's eyes glittered as they met his mother's nodding glasses. He hurled the binocular away, licked the lollipop one last time, and screamed from the top his fatty lungs, "You want to know what’s written on the forehead of the dead kid’s head?” he shouted while everyone was already escaping the place. “'Off with their heads!'”
When Waltraud asks me about Wonderland, I raise an eyebrow and tell her I don't know what she is talking about. When she mentions I wanted to save lives in the world outside, I reply, "How can I save lives when my own life needs saving?"