Now Alice heard someone singing—it was a large round figure perched on a narrow fence a few yards away.
"Pay him no mind," Mad Hannity muttered. "That’s Humpty Gingrich. He’s a newt, you know."
"Really?" Alice said, frowning. "He looks like an egg."
"He’s a newt egg, you ignorant girl," Hannity sniffed.
"But he’s such a big, round egg," she said.
"He fancies himself an egghead," Mad Hannity rasped. "Always inviting himself to our tea parties, and trying to take over—take our issues! And our ratings!"
"He’s the Gingrich who stole Christmas!" Birdbill O’Really said. "That was my issue—the liberals against Christmas! That was my Christmas bonus for years, now he wants it all for himself!"
Rash Limberger woke up. "Oh really, O’Really?" he shouted. "I’m the Big Cheese around here! All these issues are my issues! I give the orders! More chaos! More ratings for me!"
All the tea partiers commenced to quarreling, throwing cups and plates at each other until Alice had to escape from the table.
"You girl," said Humpty Gingrich as she approached. "Have you learned your lessons?"
"I’m not sure," Alice admitted. "I am rather confused."
"Why are you confused?" Humpty said. " We are very simple and clear, are we not?"
"You call yourself patriotic, and then you criticize the President’s efforts in saving an American in captivity while that man’s life was still in danger. You protest higher taxes when President Obama has just lowered taxes. You call for an end to government spending while you profit from government spending, and lobby to get more of it. You criticize the President for deficits that you piled up, and for wanting to regulate the people whose unregulated actions caused this painful economy. You want stimulus to end the recession, but not spending, which is what stimulus is. I simply don’t understand you."
"Oh you silly girl," Humpty said. "It is just the same thing as when I say that coal is clean energy, stem cell research is murdering children, the world is cooling and not warming, and this is the biggest grassroots tea party in the history of the universe. When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean—-neither more nor less."
But Alice found her attention wandering, as she noticed the many small cracks in Humpty’s shell. Fearing that he would explode at any moment, she curtsied and took her leave.
But not before spotting the Cheshire Fox at the edge of the wood. Not the whole Fox—just his smile.
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