When Alice stepped down the stairs that morning, destination bathroom, dressed in an unexiting pyjama and a white robe, she noticed the bathroom was occupied.
Had she known what she was about to be confronted with, she might have opted to leave the house to a far away destination such as Siberia.
But there wasn’t a question of knowing. You don’t just know these things. It’s hard enough to deal with once it occurs, it’s not something you can prepare thoroughly for.
So she stepped in with her not yet awoken head, in search for her toothbrush and about to take a turn in the tub. She was confronted in the mirror with the following:
A huge giraffe was in the bath tub and controlled the shower which was placed exactly above its head. A massive amount of bathing foam was situated everywhere, from its head to its hoofs, on the floor, the showerhead and so on.
It did look rather cozy, Alice had to admit. Even the towels on the rack gave a cheery vibe. Like they were decorating on the wall, instead of just being drying accesoiries.
‘How ’bout you do my nails, love? I can’t reach ‘m very well’, the animal commanded cheekily.
Alice, who couldn’t think of anything better to do now the glorious moment of using the tub herself seemed gone, searched in the many drawers of her bathroom cupboards. Alice loved drawers, though not at this particular moment, in search of her nail file. She simply pulled open all the drawers, one by one.
While doing so, Alice stumbled upon a tiny assistant: a robin.
It isn’t every day you’re confronted with a robin that comes flying out of a drawer inside of your bathroom. Alice screamed for a brief moment. A reflex, so to speak. The robin appeared to be the assistant of the giraffe, that was apparently named Henny.
‘Yes, because you know’, the robin spoke, on a self demeaning tone, flying impossibly close to Alices’ face:
‘Henny had an incredibly good nail file’, a deep sigh followed, ‘but this stupid little bird Redhood (the robin pointed to itself) bloody dropped it into the sewer. Not on purpose by the way, I dropped it in one of those unfortunate incidents, you see. There was a huge sale at H&M y’know, dresses, gowns, blouses, trousers, accesories, it’s trouble I tell you! So many choices! I was running late, but I just had find a way inside there, but no, some stupid bumhole with an utterly nasty umbrella fights her way in. Was going for dresses she wouldn’t have fit in in a million years by the way! Believe me, I know these things. Anyway, she bashes me right into the sewer, oh the demeaning thought again!’
Alice didn’t know what fact shocked her more? The fact there was such a thing as a robin named Redhood being equipped with a giraffes’ nail file, the moment it wished to visit the H&M, the fact someone apparently had managed to make a bash-move into the sewer (how did the person aim for that? Alice now thought), or the fact Alice quite unwished still couldn’t step into the bathtub herself. She didn’t even dare to bring up the question, though it was her house, her tub, and frankly, she really wanted to get in there!
A quick peek onto the small showering cabine next to the bathtub -that had a door of glass- had shown her there was a beaver in there, learning how to juggle with the four plastic ornamental oranges that Alice kept in an equally fake fruitbowl on the closet with drawers.
Minor detail was that Alice was quite jealous of that. She’d always wanted to learn how to juggle, but never succeeded. He (or rather: it) was doing it with no less than five, too!
The fact there was a beaver in there surprised her less by this point. After all, if there’s a giraffe in your tub and a robin just flew out of your drawers, one would be a bit naieve to think that was all, no?
‘Hey, Redhood, where are you with that nail file of yours?!’ Henny’s voice awoke both Alice and Redhood from a minor daydream. The giraffe waved its paws demandingly. It had the allures of a bored popstar.
Alice took it out one of the many drawers (third one of the beneath drawers, she had forgotten, it had all the things she barely ever used) and Redhood flew with the file in its beak towards the demanding boss.
Something Alice didn’t count upon, was the fact Henny started singing when her nails were filed. Also the beaver coming out of the shower to mingle in with Henny’s hair. Apparently this particular giraffe was just surrounded by assistants. Alice looked around, but couldn’t seem to find more.
It was enough as it were, though.
The song was a rather sad one, a bit Adele-like.
‘Oh yes, let it out!’ Henny was encouraged her singing by the beaver and, apparently so, her pain.
‘Why did that bastard Tony leave me?’ Henny cried, then sang again.
‘He didn’t appreciate you enough anyway, honey, be glad you got rid of him’, she was soothed by Redhood.
‘A bit more massage with it there, Theo!’ Redhood commanded the beaver.
‘Aye, I’m trying! It’s not easy with all these knots and I hardly have enough bubbles to start with!’ it complained. His tail was still shimmering of the shower he had just taken. He used it to plunge the hairs of the giraffe.
‘Geez, what freaking kind of shampoo is this?!’ the beaver started complaining. On a tone like it wasn’t even shampoo to begin with.
Alice wasn’t pleased. It was one of her favourite shampoos. The beaver had just taken it without asking and now had the nerve to complain about it?!
‘It’s just the brand of the supermarket, I quite like it myself’, she defended her choice in cleanery.
‘Hun, Uncle Theo wants good shampoo’, the beaver tossed the bottle, with a degenerating gesture, back to Alice, tapping it foot, a hand on its side.
‘Oh, I think I might have something’, Alice stuttered, as if she were the butler instead of the resident of the house.
She pulled open another drawer (second of top, necessary belongings) and handed it over to ‘Uncle Theo’ the beaver.
‘Ah, see that, love? We found ourselves the right place, they know what ‘caring’ is all about!’ said Theo the beaver happily to Henny the giraffe, reading the label of the bottle as if it were a good wine and he wanted to check the year.
Henny the giraffe had descended her paw over the edge of the bathtub. The water was about to flood over the edge and make a terrible water ballet of the place, but Redhood had good access this way to file the paw and nourish all the surrounding assets of it.
‘Oi, be careful!’ Henny the giraffe complained, when Redhood the robin touched an apparant sensitive spot. Nearly kicking the robin away, Redhood rolled his eyes.
‘Oh yes, the sensitive spot’, Redhood sighed. The robin looked up to Alice, told her on distance:
‘Henny doesn’t have a sensitive spot, but she likes to dramatise the fact that Tony has broken up with her by complaining about a nerve he’s touched. He said something nice about her nails at their first date. Ever since he broke up, she pretends like that nail has been broken so deeply, it’s about to tear her heat apart’…the robin explained. The giraffe was about to kick Redhood the robin again.
‘Don’t be mean, it really hurts and you know that!’ Henny the giraffe said, sulkily.
‘Hmmm’ hummed Theo the beaver, giving Henny the giraffe an extra nice rub in the hairs, ‘don’t think of it, think of nice, long, white beaches, making a stroll, having a swim’.
It worked, for Henny started singing again. A far cheerier song this time.
‘Okay, if that’s all you need, I am going to the other bathroom. I think this one is quite occupied enough, altogether’, stuttered Alice, who had the feeling she needed a proper excuse to be able to leave this madness. Even though it was her house. She simply didn’t feel like having to fight for her place in these circumstances. There was no other bathroom, but nor did she want to stay in this one. Alice was rather private about her body. The shower having a door wasn’t enough, the only company she wanted was that of a bar of soap and her shampoo, thank you very much!
‘Huh, what’s she saying?’ asked Henny, her ears stuffed with soap because Theo the beaver really loved a fair and thorough scrub.
‘Nothing of any importance, Henny, we’re going to wash your hairs, file your nails and then we are off to the catwalk that is life’, Theo instructed. Then he remembered something.
‘Lady! Lady!’ he yelled. Alice came back.
‘You wanted something more?’ she asked, stunned and slightly annoyed by now. It wasn’t easy for her to be this polite to uninvited and, quite fairly, unwanted guests.
‘Yes, do you have some nail polish? Because, really, this can’t be happening’, Theo the beaver held up Henny’s paw.
Just the thought that her expensive nail polish was about to be smeared all over the paws of a giraffe that had the manners of your most annoying aunt, made Alice burst out in fury.
‘Only if you leave my house afterwards. Do you realise it’s not exactly common to have your house intervened with animals of your likings? Usually people have a pet dog or a pet cat or maybe a pet guinea pig. But a giraffe that hardly even fits the tub, or a demanding beaver or even a vane robin aren’t on those lists. And frankly, I don’t want you in my house. So get lost!’
And with those words, Alice finally woke up from her nightmare.
‘I will never again drink that much tequila on one night!’ she sighed, waking up deeply relieved. She ran down for the toilet, took a quick look at her bathroom.
A hollow silence. A clean tub. All the fake fruits still in the bowl.
Just to be certain, Alice checked all of the drawers. No robin.
Alice smiled. She had never been that happy seeing her own reflection and nothing but that in the mirror. She looked behind the door and was shocked by her own new satin robe. She had had it for some time now. It hung here as she always forgot to replace it with the oversized one.
It had the images of a giraffe, a juggling beaver and a robin, flying around the giraffes’ neck on it. Alice checked the label, as she had forgotten where she got the robe from. It said H&M. She took it from the door and threw it in the bin. Something stung her from the insides while she did that.
‘Ouch!’ she hastily searched the robe for the washing label, but that was nothing special, had no sharp edges of any kind. She squeezed the robe in her hands again, thoroughly searched it for stingy bits. And there it was, in one of the pockets. The nail file she had lost ages ago. In the left pocket.