The magic mirror that Alice passed through long ago – recounted by author Lewis Carroll in his story of wrong-sided wonderment, “Alice Through The Looking Glass” – was sold recently on E-Bay. (Capital E as in Enchanting.)
It – golden frame and provenance – went for five times the final bid for the Mother Teresa cookie face; seven times that for Elvis Presley’s barber clippings; three times more than Queen Victoria’s sized XXL monogrammed silk bloomers.
Oddly enough, the high bidders were New Yorkers, a coalition of gay investors who claimed – perhaps more in jest than in actuality – they were descendants of the Red Queen of “Off with their heads!” fame.
They said Her Royal Personage once owned the mirror, amusing herself by pushing through its transparent surface anyone who annoyed her during Wimbledom croquet matches by winning with unlicensed, steroid-pumped, slightly giddy, pink lawn flamingos.
“It’s much more fun than lopping off heads or banishing the flummoxed creatures into exile,” chortled Her Majesty, one Whitsome Sunday to the stone deaf Archbishop of Canterbury.
The mansion on the outskirts of Dale-in-the-Dinkle, London, that housed the mirror, among many other quaint and randomly self-rearranging furnishings and objet d’arts, was razed two years ago.
Neighbors complained its premises were haunted. And not the right kind of ghosts for High Church Anglicans (or Low Scot Presbyterians) to be seen with socially.
Fittingly, Alice’s treasure floated across the Atlantic on the QE ll, arriving in harbor without fracture, fanfare, or incidence – although someone who name-tagged himself The Mad Hatter kept pestering returning Olympic Swim Team members to join him for afternoon Oolong tea and Alice B. Toklas crumpets.
The investors who met the arriving luxury ship at dockside – waving rainbow flags and blowing tin horns – planned to take the mirror for a festive and, to be sure, money making July unveiling at Fire Island.
They were certain the mirror had two-way possibilities undreamed of in Victorian times. The problem was where to place it. Near a B&B hot tub? During a White Rave dance? Or, by the much-traffic’d Meet Back Here Welcome Center in the Fire Island dunes?
It occurred out of the blue (as things do with gay men) that no one had given the mirror a trial run. No one had a clue as to what, if anything, might lie in wait on its other side. (How trustworthy was Lewis Carroll, who liked to photograph little girls naked?)
Unfortunately, not one of the investors wanted to be first to find out. They pondered long and hard, deciding to check in for Happy Hour, leaving the mirror temporarily unattended. And so it came to pass that a muscle-bound gym buff got curiouser and curiouser.
Enchanted with what he saw reflected, he looked both ways and kissed his suntanned image. And, just as suddenly, he zipped across.
As the investors drank themselves silly, others passed by the mirror. They too quickly found themselves sucked in. There was a playboy priest. Six Log Cabin Republicans. A TV evangelist out harassing sinners. A drag queen who non-stop lip-sync’d 500 Madonna songs. And, a wide-stance politician checking shoe sizes for high heels.
Over the next few days, little by little, it became apparent to the investors, now cold sober, that the mirror was collecting passersby willy-nilly and nobody was returning. A bad investment, they all agreed.
Moral: If you fall in love with your own image, don’t play croquet with giddy pink lawn flamingos while naked on the right/left, left/right side of a two-way mirror. (And don’t buy antique furniture sight unseen on E-bay. Enchanted or not.)