Author's Note:

Oh god, what possessed me to do this?

Chapter I. Down the Rabbit-Hole

Sir David Frederick Attenborough was beginning to get very tired of sitting by his film crew on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice he had peeped into the book the sound guy was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, ‘and what is the use of a book,’ thought Sir David, ‘without pictures or conversation?’ And on a second glance he noticed the name ‘Tom Clancy’ on the cover, and decided that he was right to pass on it.

So he was considering in his own mind (as well as he could, for the hot day made him feel very sleepy and as stupid as one of the world’s most renowned broadcasters could feel), whether the pleasure of filming a brief 6-part award-winning documentary about sea life would be worth the trouble of getting up and finding a camera, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by him.

There was nothing so VERY remarkable in that, rabbits being by far the least exciting wildlife that Sir David had filmed; nor did Sir David think it so VERY much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself, ‘Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!’ (when he thought it over afterwards, it occurred to him that he ought to have wondered at this, but at the time it all seemed quite natural); but when the Rabbit actually TOOK A WATCH OUT OF ITS WAISTCOAT-POCKET, and looked at it, and then hurried on, Sir David started to his feet, for it flashed across his mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and burning with the desire to enthral the licence-fee-paying public, he ran across the field after it, and fortunately was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge.

In another moment down went Sir David after it, never once considering how in the world he was to get out again, or how he would instruct the camera crew to follow him.

The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Sir David had not a moment to think about stopping himself before he found himself falling down a very deep well.

Either the well was very deep, or he fell very slowly, for he had plenty of time as he went down to look about him and to wonder whether some shots of the descent would make a good background to the title credits. First, he tried to look down and make out what he was coming to, but it was too dark to see anything; then he looked at the sides of the well, and noticed that they were filled with cupboards and book-shelves; here and there he saw maps and pictures hung upon pegs. He took down a jar from one of the shelves as he passed; it was labelled ‘ORANGE MARMALADE’, but to his great disappointment it was empty: he did not like to drop the jar for fear of injuring somebody and being held liable by the Board of Governors, so managed to put it into one of the cupboards as he fell past it.

‘Well!’ thought Sir David to himself, ‘after such a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling down stairs! How brave they’ll all think me at home!’ But then he paused for a moment, and considered his record of filming big cats, sharks, and other creatures that would consider human beings a delicacy. ‘Or perhaps their opinion won’t really change after all. (Which was perfectly true.)

Down, down, down. Would the fall NEVER come to an end! ‘I wonder how many miles I’ve fallen by this time?’ he said aloud. ‘I must be getting somewhere near the centre of the earth. Let me see: that would be four thousand miles down, I think—’ (for, you see, Sir David had learnt several things of this sort in his 80 years as a naturalist and broadcaster, and though this was not a VERY good opportunity for showing off his knowledge, as he had sadly left his radio microphone by the river, still it was good practice to say it over) ‘—yes, that’s about the right distance—but then I wonder what Latitude or Longitude I’ve got to?’ (Sir David was acutely aware of the definition of latitude and longitude, making this sentence utterly redundant.)

Presently he began again. ‘I wonder if I shall fall right THROUGH the earth!’ But, again, he stopped and considered his own excellent knowledge of physics, and gravity in particular–to say nothing of the anthropology of the peoples of Australia and New Zealand–which were they absent would no doubt have caused him to follow in the utterances of one Alice Liddell at this point and say something that contemporary audiences would probably find a little racist.

‘Where’s your fourth wall now, bitches?’ he muttered to the reader.

Down, down, down. There was nothing else to do, so Sir David soon began talking again. ‘Dinah’ll miss me very much to-night, I should think!’ (Dinah was the recording editor.) ‘I hope they’ll remember her saucer of milk at tea-time. Dinah my dear! I wish you were down here with me! I do despair that anyone will ever hear these insightful remarks.’ And here Sir David began to get rather sleepy, and went on saying to himself, in a dreamy sort of way, ‘Do cats eat bats? Do cats eat bats?’ and sometimes, ‘Do bats eat cats?’ for, you see, after the aforementioned 80 years of naturalism he was now so knowledgeable about the mating habits of the Yangtze River Dolphin and other such curiosities that he had forgotten things that others might consider to be blindingly obvious. He felt that he was dozing off, and had just begun to dream that he was walking hand in hand with Dinah, and saying to her very earnestly, ‘Now, Dinah, tell me the truth: did you land that deal with ITV?’ when suddenly, thump! thump! down he came upon a heap of sticks and dry leaves, and the fall was over.

Alright, no more. I can't stand another 10-and-a-half chapters of this.