My fists clenched and ached for the singular joy of knocking over a few cards. Instead, my weary, battered body slunk down into the vinyl booth seat. I wasn't in the mood for cards, and Caroline wasn't up to so much as a friendly game of Canaste.
The lead card, probably an 8 or a 9, flipped up the collar of his overcoat and sidled confidently up to counter. His old-style English stood out even more than my harsh, Americanized speech, though it got the same result. The waitress shrugged and handed him a menu with an expectant look. Thankfully, the dolt of a card didn't notice her glance in my direction.
Maybe he was only a 7.
Persistent if not observant, he flopped the menu and down and motioned for his compatriots to fan out and search. I knew for what they would look, same thing as I would, something that stands out, something that doesn't fit. They were looking for a trace, a trace of that place.
A smirk danced behind my raised coffee cup. Being born real-side and only later emigrated across the divide to Wonderland I knew how to fit in both places. A battered trenchcoat fit in here and there, once worn open to reveal the ornately embroidered vest of golds, greens, and something like purple. They'd never catch me, not these dolts.
The cup clinked down to saucer, and in an instant I knew were done. The poor kid's dress was a dead give-away, all checked and bright with squared top and little shoulder straps. They were all the rage in Wonderland, always had been, likely always would be. Unfortunately, the style was a bit out of date here.
Looked like my fists were going to get their way.