A. Wonderland
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A. Wonderland She once read about a man who led an art movement and demanded that his followers eat only green food because green was his favorite color. His followers complied. Alison imagines that at least these people must have gotten the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A. She has decided to name her first child, whether male or female, Andre after this man. She is glad that Andre's favorite color was not red. She thinks with a name like Andre, the child would be bound to excel under any circumstances . There was once a large all-star wrestler with sparse teeth 94 lison is blonde and thirteen and avoids eating red meat. A and layersof fatty skin that drooped over his trunks named Andre the Giant. Alison hopes others will not make this association. She tries not to think about it herself. When Alison first meets people, she sometimes tells them her last name is Wonderland. She has seen the movie Dreamchild four times and is disappointed each time that Lewis Carroll and young Alice do not marry in the end. She knows he's too old for Alice but feels sex with a much older man is a small price to pay for a good nonsense poem. Alison is in class. It is a class on the Salem witch trials and the McCarthy era. It isan advanced class team-taught by Mr. Potchad and Mrs. Collins. Mr. Potchad speaks slowly and quietly and sometimes chuckles for no apparent reason, and this has earned him the nickname Mr. Pothead. Mrs. Collins has long, straight, frosted blonde hair and eats avocados every day for lunch. The class is reading The Crucible aloud. Alison's friend Elva Jonquil Jenkins is reading the part of Elizabeth Proctor. Alison is reading the part of Tituba, which she also considers a very nice name. Alison watches her hands shake in her lap. Her heart palpitates. She feels it miss a beat and double up on the next. She imaginesa bullet of blood bouncing against her aorta. She tries to see calm pulses of blood, smooth as peeled almonds, pushing their way through her veins. She sees nothing but feels her body lifting as if she were being inhaled. Alison's father takes her to the biofeedback clinic once a month, where she works on her visualizationtechniques. Her father was attracted to the clinic by a glossybrochure with a picture of an illuminated glassbrain on the front. The brochure told the storyof a youngboy with an inoperable brain tumor. When conventional medicine gave him and his family no hope, they turned to the biofeedback clinic for guidance. It was the age of Star Wars, and 95 the boy decided to envision his tumor as a small, round, spongy planet—Planet Meatball. Each night for fifteen minutes before he went to sleep, the boyvisualized starships zooming in his brain as they destroyed Planet Meatball with their powerful lasers. One night the boy wasunable to visualizethis drama and could see in his mind only a tiny, white circle. The next day, the boy's doctor was thunderstruck to discover the tumor had completely disappeared , leaving behind only a small spot of calcification. Zeke, Alison's father, was very moved by this story and took Alison to the clinic the very day he received the brochure in the mail. Alison's father is in advertising, and she was surprised at how easily he was taken in by this emotional ploy. She suspects her father has been in advertising too long. Like the actor who begins to imagine he really is living life on a riverboat after his fiftieth performance as Samuel Clemens, her father, she fears, is a little too persuaded by his own shtick, his head too easily turned by his own myths. He works for a small agency with modest accounts , hawking such products as foot powder and electrolysis. She knowshe dreams of the day when he will be called on to come up with catchy lyrics like "hold the pickles, hold the lettuce." He waits for the day when he will hear people randomly humming an unshakable tune that underlies his words. Though Alison is not particularly taken with her father's line of work, she helps him with his campaigns. She came up with the tag line "Someday my prints will come" for a one-hour photomat. She has made a point, however, never to look up the word demographics. Alison would rather...



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