Character Sketches: The Red Queen

The Red Queen walks through Fisherman’s Wharf in the later hours, posing for photos and collecting for a historical preservation society. She wears, exclusively, red Victorian dresses and hats with odd exceptions for holidays (one Easter Sunday, she was purple). Apparently she lives in the southern part of the city: when I worked in the area, I took the bus home with her several times. My uniform was also bright red, and once, she noted that the color suits me as well as it does her.

As performers go, the Red Queen is rather aloof but carries herself with an undeniable dignity. Her clothes are the genuine article, with painfully intricate brocades and feathers endowing the hats to nearly a foot in height. She tends to pass through Pier 39 near shutdown time, always with a determined expression on her face. I don’t know much about her business, but it seems too serious to interrupt for a sales pitch; she and I haven’t exchanged much more than several appreciative glances.


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