Alice in deGroote-land (Part 1)

By Beatrice Preti, Class of 2017

‘Twas two weeks before Christmas, and Alice the Pre-Med student (or ‘Practically a Doctor,’ as she preferred to say) was poring diligently over her Organic Biomolecular Chemistry notes – specifically, Chapter 289 on Novel Halogenation Techniques for Molecule 4387028u0DFGDFG3985209, Serotype P.

“Oh, woe is me!” cried Alice. “I’m so terribly tired, and all of this mumbo-jumbo is simply bouncing ’round-and-’round inside my head. Whatever shall I do?”

Alice’s faithful cat, Dinah, mewed pathetically from her cozy spot on the kitchen counter.

“Good heavens, Dinah!” said Alice. “You mean to say there is a small, white rabbit just outside the window! Now? In this weather?” Alice rose from her chair, scattering pages of notes on the floor.
Dinah mewed again, extending a casual paw towards the window.

“Dear me!” cried Alice. “So there is a rabbit outside!” Alice rapped on the window, trying to get the rabbit’s attention. “Poor dear isn’t moving! I wonder if it’s dead!”

Dinah mewed.

“Well, yes, of course I should go and help it,” Alice said uncertainly. “But my Organic Biomolecular Chemistry test is in five days. If I go, I might lose some valuable studying time. And then I might not get a 110% on the test. And that will ruin my 4.2 GPA and leave me out of the running for med school!”

Dinah mewed pointedly.

“Well, I suppose you’re right.” Alice folded her hands fretfully. “If I can’t take the time to help one little lost rabbit, I suppose I’ll never be a good doctor!”

Grabbing her school logo-embroidered hoodie, Alice walked out the back door, looking for the rabbit. “Hello! Hello, Mr Rabbit, are you — oh, heavens!”

Because beneath Alice’s window stood, not a small, white bunny, but a rather large, human-like being with wild hair and huge bags under its eyes. In its hands rested a large carton, the type juices usually come in. But, from the way the being was clutching it, the carton held a warm liquid. Alice’s suspicions were confirmed when smoke began to swirl from an opening near to the being’s mouth.

“Coffee,” it said in a gravely tone, noticing Alice’s glance. “Can’t live without it.”

“Have…” Alice began. “Have you happened to see a small, white rabbit around here?”

“A rabbit?” said the being. “Nah, it’s just me.”

Alice scratched her head. “But I could have sworn I saw a rabbit here! Dinah saw it, too.”

The being took a swig from the carton. “No rabbit. Just me.”

“No rabbit?” Alice stomped on the ground impatiently. “But it was right here! I saw it!”

“No rabbit.”

“Are you saying I’ve gone mad, then?”

The being smiled. “We’re all mad here.”

“Here? How horridly vague! Do you mean to say my neighbourhood? My house?”

“Nope.” Another swig. “deGroote-land.”

“deGroote-land? That’s preposterous! I’ve never heard of such a place!”

“It’s where you want to go, isn’t it? You want to be a doctor, don’t you?”

“Well, yes, of course!” Alice answered with a bright smile. “But I want to go to medical school, not the Grootland.”

The being rolled its red-rimmed eyes. “God, the only ones who smile are the pre-meds and the anaesthesiologists.”

“Come again?” said Alice.

“Nothing,” said the being, taking another swig from the carton, only to find it empty. “Damn, it’s all gone. Well, come on, then, kid. Places to go. Things to do.”

“Go?” said Alice, uncertainly. “But I have to review my notes! Not to mention all of the practice questions!”

“Practice q-questions?” said the being, tripping over the foreign word.

Alice nodded. “Yes, you see, in five day I have a test in organic biomolecular…”

“Stop,” said the being, holding out its hand. “You want to be a doctor?”

Alice nodded.

“Then remember this. Lesson number one: Your best lessons don’t come from books. They come from within you.”

“Within me?” cried Alice. “Why that’s preposterous! How can I learn something that’s already inside of me?”

“It’s because you never knew it was there,” said the being. “Give me your hand.”

“Wh — AAAAAAAHHHHH!”

The ground opened beneath Alice’s feet, and she found herself falling underground.

“Oh, dear me, I’m falling!” said Alice. “Goodbye, world! Goodbye, Dinah! Goodbye, my beautiful GPA!”

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