It was the Trolley, announcing it’s arrival and impending departure for the Neighborhood of Make Believe. Remnants of the theme song floated on the air…

Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won’t you be my neighbor?
Won’t you please,
Won’t you please?
Please won’t you be my neighbor?

Momentarily, I pause. What the hell? Why am I in Mr. Roger’s house???

It’s only a breath I take before, suddenly, being there seemed quite normal. Trolley scooted forward and back on the track, clanging with each sudden lurch. I rushed to slip on my canvas shoes and glanced down at my feet. They looked like Cardinals staring up at me. I slid my arms into the crimson cardigan, buttoning it haphazardly and without care that it was lopsided.

I approached Trolley and reach out my hand to it. Somehow I shrink to fit inside, or Trolley grows exponentially to allow me to board because I find myself sitting comfortably upon her stiff chairs, the only passenger aboard Trolley. The only person, actually. There was no engineer but that was less troublesome than the tunnel looming ahead.

As a child, that tunnel had held curiosities for me. Why don’t they let us go with them through the tunnel? What is in there? What does it look like?

I was now about to find out and I was none too pleased. With a Clang-Clang and a lurch, we were off with the happy tinkling sounds of Trolley’s music following along behind us. The tunnel was so dark I could not breathe and in a blink, I was spit out into the Neighborhood of Make Believe in a light so brilliant, I could not see.

Brushing myself off and attempting to right my crooked, crimson cardigan, I stood up and gazed about me. I was at the castle of King Friday and Queen Sara. With trumpets blaring, King Friday approached me and bleated something inconsequential and completely false. Rather than pointing out the obvious error and feeling fear of retribution, I lowered my eyes and followed protocol.

“Correct as usual, King Friday,” I muttered with as much regal decorum as I could muster.

I wanted to kick myself for having lied to myself and the world and for allowing his false prophesies to continue. Ashamed, I stared down at my cardinal canvas Keds and shuffled from foot to foot, as I tugged at my crooked crimson cardigan. I wanted to be gone, my shame was so intense.

As King Friday blathered on and on I sidled away from there, hoping with all my heart to avoid Lady Elaine Fairchilde because I was still horrified by her, a lingering childhood terror. I came to the Tree and, although I could not remember who dwelled there, I knew it was not Lady Elaine and I would be fairly safe. I lay down upon the prickly plastic grass and wrapped myself around the base of the tree, hoping for protection and wondering why my crooked crimson cardigan was suddenly sopping wet.

I opened my eyes, the mists fading away, to find myself protectively fetal, curled around myself and swimming in a pool of sweat. I sat up, dripping and disoriented, the words, “Correct as usual, King Friday,” ringing through my ears.

I wondered in my haze, how many times I had lowered my eyes to hide what I know to be true from those who speak falsely.

Thus are the ramblings of a feverish mind… hour upon hour upon hour… without relief… seemingly without end.

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