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A Glorious Chapeau

Alicia Hilton is an author, law professor, actress, and former FBI Special Agent. She received her BA in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, and her JD and MA from the University of Chicago. Her recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Akashic Books, Bronzeville Books, ChiZine Publications, Demain Publishing UK, Dreams & Nightmares, Vastarien, Year's Best Hardcore Horror 4, and elsewhere. Her website is aliciahilton.com Follow her on Twitter @aliciahilton01.
More glad than mad, the hatter greeted a new customer, a petite man whose spectacles gave him the dour expression of a vexed beetle.
The customer said, "I want a chapeau crafted from broken promises and pitch." He scratched his nose, rubbing a rather large mole. "No, not pitch, can you use spider webs and witch spit?"
The hatter said, "Venomous? What variety?"
"The most potent, of course."
"Funnel-web spider. Five thousand pound surcharge." She tapped her digipad, entering the order.
"No." The man drummed his fingertips against the crystal countertop.
"I don't barter." The hatter glared at the greasy marks.
"Price isn't the problem. Would the hat be dangerous?"
"You want to wear it?"
"Of course." Sweat beaded on his forehead.
The hatter glanced at her supplies. Floor-to-ceiling shelves held thousands of items. "Are you prone to rashes?"
"I'm willing to take the risk."
"Male or female? Black or white?"
"Huh?" Sweat rolled down the customer's nose. Light beaming through the window caught it, making the droplet glitter like a diamond.
"The witch. What's the purpose of the spit? Love spell, charm, hex?"
A blush crept up the little man's cheeks. "I need to learn to love myself."
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, April 23rd, 2020


I wrote this story over Thanksgiving, when I was thinking about the challenges that people face. "A Glorious Chapeau" began as a poem. When I changed the format to flash fiction, I kept the alliteration and rhymes, because the rhythm contributes to the mood.

- Alicia Hilton
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