The Mason children weren’t like other children. They were quiet and well behaved, of course, but Gerald, Ethel, Pearl and William were theater kids and that put them into a different category entirely. They wrote songs and plays, danced, sang, played instruments and put on grand productions, making their own costumes and preforming their own stunts.
Harold and Jean Mason were busy parents and thought that anything that amused their children and kept them busy was something to be applauded. While they never missed show, they skipped their rehearsals and any number of other things in which their children were involved.
Pearl was a beauty and boys were starting to notice her. She shunned them unless they were interested in reading and the theater, which effectively eliminated ninety percent of the males who tried to speak to her. Harold and Jean were happy about that and, unlike other parents, they were in no rush to marry off their children, no matter their gender.
Harold was an acrobat and Jean was an artist, so the children came by their talent naturally. The children had been brought up in an extremely creative atmosphere. The house was always full of dancers, artists and writers. it was not unusual to see someone do a handspring over the dining room table after dinner or stand up and recite poetry while others were eating dessert. As you can imagine, after living with all of that excitement, normal everyday life seemed rather boring. All of the children were heavily invested in and dedicated to the arts.
Gerald was the serious child. He worried about details and made sure that everything was perfect. The other children knew a good thing when they saw it and let him do whatever he liked. They offered to help, now and then, just to be polite, but they knew that Gerald would quickly refuse any assistance they offered.
Ethel was a child star. She learned her lines and was quite a natural when on stage. Emotions poured out of her and audiences adored her. She never let her popularity go to her head, however, and everyone appreciated that very much.
Matthew was a bit shy and usually had cameos or walk on roles. His talent lay in staging. He was a wonder with lights and sets. Once again, the children saw his brilliance and left him alone to do his magic.
The Mason house was one of joy and laughter. The family followed their own path and were surrounded by creative people which made life a true delight. The adults were happy to answer questions or help the children with a line or a seam. The children never hesitated to ask for help, since they knew that asking questions was the only true way to improve their skills. Every night was filled with enchantment.
Harold lept from stairs, flew over banisters and swung from light fixtures. Jean painted on the walls and on the children themselves. Her canvases were everywhere and beauty and love was a constant.
And then one day something happened, as it usually does if one is paying attention. Harold walked down the stairs and Jean sat at the table reading a book, her brushes untouched. The children were horrified. The house was empty, except for the family. The children sat down and stared at their parents.
“Where is everyone?” asked William.
His mother shrugged. “I’m not sure,” she sighed.
“Dad?” he asked quietly, staring at him. “Do you know where everyone went.”
“Uh,” he said, looking around. “No, actually. I don’t,” and then he went back to eating his cereal.
This kind of dullness continued throughout the day and the children were starting to worry.
“What do you think happened?” asked Gerald. “What’s wrong with them?”
No one answered but Pearl looked up nervously.
“Pearl?” said Gerald. “Any thoughts?”
“One,” she whispered.
“And?” he asked.
“I might be wrong,” she said quickly, “but I think they’ve come down with…”
“With what,” asked Matthew.
The children gasped and Ethel buried her face in her hands. “No,” she cried. “Not that.”
Pearl pulled Ethel onto her lap and tried to comfort her. “I don’t want them to be ordinary,” sobbed Ethel, leaning into her sister’s shoulder. “I don’t want to live in an ordinary house.”
“None of us do,” said Matthew, his eyes wide and filled with tears.
So the children plotted the day away, only stopping for hot chocolate and lunch. Scheme after scheme was written and discarded. Gerald rode his bike to the theater, hoping to speak to the people he knew, but the theater was closed, due to ordinariness. Gerald felt sick, as he slowly made his way home.
The children were distraught. They tried everything they could think of, over the next few days. They dressed in bright colors, danced, sang and put on two shows a day, but their parents just wanted to nap and stroll in the garden. Just when they thought all was lost, when they had all but given up hope, a white rabbit appeared in the living room.
“Um,” said Ethel, “there’s a rabbit in the living room.”
“We know,” said the other children at once. “We can see him.”
“Good afternoon,” said the rabbit gravely.
“Good afternoon,” said the children.
“There seems to have been a mistake,” said the rabbit, clearing his throat.
“Whatever do you mean?” asked Pearl. “What kind of mistake?”
“Well, I’m the White Rabbit…”
“We can SEE that,” said the children, impatiently.
“No, I mean that I am, THE White Rabbit.”
“Oh,” said the children. “How do you do.”
“I’m quite well, thank you but we have other things to discuss. We, that is to say Alicia, Twinkle and I, were playing with ordinariness and, uh, we dropped the cube it was contained in and somehow ordinariness made it to the surface and into this town.”
“What!” shouted the children, half fearful and half overjoyed.
“I’m afraid some of the people who live here may have been infected,” sighed the rabbit.
“They have been,” cried Ethel.
“Sorry about that,” said the White Rabbit, “but if you just give them one of these elixirs to drink, they will be right as rain.”
“Did he just say it’s going to rain?” asked Matthew.
Gerald shook his head and motioned his brother to be silent.
Pearl took the two blue bottles and slipped them into the pocket of her skirt. “Will you make everyone in town well?”
The rabbit nodded, apologized and walked toward the door. “You know,” he said, “being ordinary isn’t all that bad.”
“It is for us,” shouted the children.
The rabbit nodded. “I’ll be on my way then. Be sure your parents drink the entire bottle,” he said wiggling his left ear. “Oh my, look at the time,” he said, staring at his wristwatch. He flicked the watch with his paw. “These digital things are fine but sometimes they just seems to stick. Of course, you don’t know anything about that, nor should you. Years away, years and years. So, good day my fine children. Be sure to read and tell stories.”
The children agreed that they would and as soon as the door was closed they ran to their parents and had them drink the liquid in the bottles. By nightfall the house was back to normal. People were singing and laughing, their father was walking on the back of the sofa with a green parakeet on his head and their mother had paint smeared on her cheek. The chidden were smiling and overjoyed that things were back to they way they were. After all, ordinariness may be okay for some, but it’s certainly not for everyone.