Written for brigidaubery for her support and the occasional kick up the back side. Thanks, luv!

The poem The Jabberwocky appears in Lewis Carroll's ThroughThe Looking Glass.

Kelly In Wonderland

John Kelly leisurely strolled through Central Park taking in the sights. He spotted a hotdog vendor near the western end of Conservatory Water and bought two with everything before finding a bench to sit on so he could enjoy his impromptu lunch.

It was rare for him to be in the Park at all. He always kept himself busy, especially since his marriage had fallen apart. This afternoon was a different story. It had been a slow day at the precinct, so he had decided to take the rest of the day off.

This had caused Andy to give him a look of concern, but he had told Andy that he felt the need for some fresh air. The desire to put things in his life in perspective had become pressing, especially with Janice ending their relationship like she had.

He knew that he needed to resolve a few issues. He still had feelings for his ex-wife, but as he studied the tiny sailboats on the little lake he realized that he was happy with the fact that they could still be friends.

His feelings for Janice were more complex, yet simple at the same time. He loved her, but wondered if that love could withstand him just watching her struggle with her demons since he didn't know how to help her; not that she wanted his help.

He sighed and shook his head. It was a too pretty a day to have such dark thoughts. He decided to enjoy his surroundings instead of wallowing in the quagmire his personal life had become.

He threw his trash away and made for the northern end of Conservatory Water. He always thought it was a funny name for a lake that had been stuck in the middle of a park that in and of itself was stuck in the middle of a large city.

A light breeze off the water ruffled his short cropped reddish gold hair and brought a hint of laughter from the kids clambering up and around the sculpture of Alice in Wonderland. His curiosity piqued he made his way toward the sculpture. He stood and watched the children play lost in their own worlds of make believe.

He felt a tug on his on his sleeve and looked down to see a carrot- topped little girl roughly the age of six. She wore a white t-shirt and dark green overalls. She gazed up at him in serious curiosity.

"Hey, mister?" she asked with a hint of awe in her little voice.

John crouched down so that he was at eye level with her. "Didn't your mother tell you not to talk to strangers?" he quietly asked while his eyes scanned their surroundings looking for the girl's mother.

"Yes," the little girl reluctantly admitted. "But she said it was okay to talk to a police officer."

"How do you know I'm a police officer?"

"'Cause you gots a badge," she replied, pointing toward the detective's shield hanging from his jacket's breast pocket.

John smiled. He had forgotten to slip his badge back into his lapel pocket where he normally kept it. For once being forgetful was a good thing. "Would you like to see it?" He knew he should admonish her for being so bold with a stranger, especially one with a badge, but his heart wasn't in it.

"Can I?" Her little, freckled face lit up like a tiny sun.

"Only if you tell me your name," he countered. He was surprised to discover that her happiness brightened his day.

"I'm B!" she exclaimed, holding out her tiny hand. "B for Bridgid!"

"Nice to meet you, B for Bridgid," he told her with a wry chuckle. He took her hand in his, noting how tiny her hand was to his, and gave it a gentle shake. "My name is John."

He pulled his badge from his pocket and handed it to Bridgid. She studied it and ran her tiny fingers over it with a tiny smile twisting her cupid lips.

"Do you wanna come play with me, John?" she asked after handing back to John his badge. She pointed to the Alice in Wonderland statue.

"I think I'm a little too big for that," John said, gently. He stood up and held out his hand. The practical part of his mind screamed at him to go look for the girl's parents, but the unpractical part wanted to spend more time with Bridgid, and it out won in the end. "But, I can go sit over there and watch you instead."

Bridgid tilted her head back and studied John as she thought about his proposal for a few seconds. She agreed, "Okay."

John let Bridgid lead him over to the benches near the sculpture. She made sure he was comfortable before running off to join the other children.

He watched her play feeling a mixture of sadness and relief that he and Laurie had never had any children. Deep inside, he believed that he would make a good father despite the odd hours and the inherent dangers of his job.

&/&/&

Bridgid had worn herself out after about thirty minutes of clambering over and running around the sculpture. She sat curled up next to John on the bench watching the other children continue in their play. Her hazel green eyes were dull with fatigue and John knew it was only a matter of time before she nodded off.

"What's a jabb…jabber…." she tried to ask.

"A jabberwocky?"

"Yeah."

"It's a big, mean monster."

"Really?" she asked in awe.

"Yes," John replied with a warm smile. "Would like me to tell you the story about it?'

"Would you?"

He laughed. Her joy was infectious.

&/&/&

John searched his memory for all the words to the Jabberwocky poem his mother had read to him when he was a little boy.

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

"Ooooo," Bridgid breathed, caught up in the tale. She was hypnotized by John's deep voice.

"More?" he inquired, stalling for time.

"Un huh!" Bridgid said with a vigorous shake of her tiny head.

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

"Does he kill it?" Bridgid said, interrupting John's train of thought.

"Just wait and see," John cautioned before continuing with the poem.

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
He chortled in his joy.

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"That jabberwocky wasn't such a mean old monster," Bridgid remarked.

"No, he wasn't," John admitted. When he was Bridgid's age he thought it a very scary monster since his mother had embellished the tale each time she told it. Since then, he had confronted scarier monsters.

&/&/&

"Bridgid! Bridgid!" called out a distressed looking woman in jeans and a green sweater. "Bridgid!"

"Oh no," Bridgid breathed. "I'm in trouble now."

"I would say so," John agreed.

&/&/&

Bridgid hopped off the bench and ran toward the woman. John followed discreetly behind her to make certain that Bridgid was in safe hands.

"Bridgid, why did you wander off?" John heard the woman ask.

"Jack wouldn't let me play with his boat," Bridgid explained. "I sail it better than he does!"

"That is no reason to go running off young lady," the woman explained in a patient tone. "You could have gotten lost or worse taken by a bad man."

"But, I wasn't, Mum!"

"Bridgid," the woman sighed.

"I did what you told me to do," Bridgid said in a petulant voice. "I found John and stayed with him."

"John?"

"That would be me, ma'am," John said, coming to Bridgid's rescue. "Detective John Kelly, 15th Precinct. Bridgid informed me that you had taught her to find a police officer when she was lost."

"I'm Stephanie Aubrey," the woman said in way of introduction. She held out her hand and John gently shook it like he had Bridgid's earlier. "And, yes, I did. Thank you for keeping an eye on my Bridgid."

"It was my pleasure, ma'am," John replied with a warm smile. "She was delightful company."

Bridgid beamed at John's praise. "See, Mum. I can be good."

"Anyway," Stephanie murmured. She didn't want to get into another discussion with her precocious daughter concerning appropriate behavior for young ladies. "We should be going. My husband will be looking for us."

"Daddy?" Bridgid inquired. "When did Daddy get here?"

"A little while ago, baby," Stephanie vaguely explained. "Now say good bye to Detective Kelly."

"Okay, Mum," Bridgid said with a tiny sigh.

John bent down and Bridgid threw her tiny arms around his neck and gave him a hug. She gave him a kiss on the cheek before letting him go. "Thank you for the story, John."

"And thank you for such a pleasant afternoon, Bridgid," he told her. He really had had a nice time with Bridgid. He would have to remember to share this experience with Mel. He knew she would get a kick out of it. "And remember be careful who you talk to."

"I promise," Bridgid vowed before walking back to her mother's side.

&/&/&

John watched Bridgid and her mother walk away feeling a little bit better than he had upon entering the Park. Life was a lot simpler than it appeared on the surface, and he thought it ironic that it took the awe of a little girl to show him that.

He laughed at himself as he quoted, "O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"

He turned away from the sculpture and made his way home.

The End

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