"It's a standard quest," said the blob. "Collect five items from the far corners of Wonderland--the White Rabbit's pocket watch, the Doormouse's tea kettle, a wicket from the Red Queen's croquet court, a Cheshire Cat whisker, and Tweedledum's propeller beanie."
"...propeller beanie," I said, finishing the note I was making for myself on the back of a cocktail napkin.
"Do make sure it's Tweedledum's beanie and not Tweedledee's," the blob added. "The spell will go horribly wrong otherwise."
"What spell?" I asked.
"The name spell. It's D-U-M as in dum, not D-E-E as in dee."
"Oh," I said, a little disappointed. "I had thought you meant magic, not vocabulary."
"Vocabulary is the only magic that matters, irregardless," the blob sniffed. "Now pay attention to this part because it gets tricky. When you have all five items, you must assemble them into a weapon."
"Oh dear. Must I?"
"You must. How did you think you were to kill the Red Queen without a weapon?"
"Well," I considered. "Perhaps the queen would just faint dead away at the sight of my random collection of objects. That would be most considerate of her."
"It would," the blob agreed. "But we are not dealing with a considerate queen. Now, you are to be assigned the standard allotment of companions to aid you on your quest--two of them, I believe. Choose wisely from among the creatures you meet along your journey."
"Can I choose you?" I asked.
"Me? A former soldier with enhanced strength and an endlessly flexible form?" asked the blob. "That would be a foolish choice."
"Because I no longer have the backbone for such things." The blob produced a paper from among the flotsam within its own form. "Right then. It all seems to be in order, but for your signature on this document."
I reached out and signed my name, Alice Liddell. "How's that?"
"Out of order, just as I said."
"What's wrong with my signature?"
"There is nothing wrong with your signature but that it is out of order. I should have received it before I gave you the quest instead of afterward. The whole mess is invalidated. It's a game changer."
"Then why didn't you have me sign it first?"
"Because without a game changer, I wouldn't have been able to change the game." The blob reared up menacingly. "Did I mention that I can change my shape and form?"
"I believe you may have," I said, reviewing our conversation in my mind.
"Oh," said the blob. "I was hoping it would come as somewhat of a surprise when I revealed that I am actually the Red Queen."
I laughed, because I so loved to be surprised. Then I spit out my tea as the blob grew in size and took the shape of a chess piece with an angry red face. "I have decided that I don't love surprises nearly as much as I had thought."
"Off with her head!" the Red Queen bellowed.