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reunion

VIEWS: 15 PAGES: 91

  • pg 1
									   BY
JOE MURPHY
                                                         REUNION

                                                         CONTENTS


Chapter One........................................................................................................................ 3
  GLOWING REMARKS .................................................................................................... 3

Chapter Two........................................................................................................................ 8
  TO OZ.............................................................................................................................. 8

Chapter Three ................................................................................................................... 12
  THE PALACE ................................................................................................................ 12

Chapter Four ..................................................................................................................... 19
  RETURN TO THE EMERALD CITY............................................................................. 19

Chapter Five...................................................................................................................... 29
  THE LAND OF TERROR-ON-EVERY-SIDE ................................................................ 29

Chapter Six ....................................................................................................................... 35
  THE LAND OF INTUITION ........................................................................................... 35

Chapter 7........................................................................................................................... 44
  LAND OF LOGIC........................................................................................................... 44

Chapter 8........................................................................................................................... 57
  DOROTHY’S HOUSE ................................................................................................... 57

Chapter 9........................................................................................................................... 62
  THE LAND OF THE E’GHOSTS .................................................................................. 62

Chapter 10 ........................................................................................................................ 86
  ONCE AGAIN TO THE EMERALD CITY..................................................................... 86

Chapter 11 ........................................................................................................................ 91
  HOME AGAIN ............................................................................................................... 91




                                                                  2
                                       Chapter One


                                 GLOWING REMARKS


         Unbelievable – the slippers were glowing! Dorothy couldn’t believe her eyes.
After twenty-five years of being carefully stowed away in her closet, the slippers that had
transported her home from OZ had come to life and were glowing a soft, warm ruby-red
color.


         Feelings flowed into her heart and head as she thought of her time in the magical
kingdom of OZ. Could it have been 25 years ago? It didn’t seem possible. She thought
of the adventures she and her strange band of friends had experienced. She often
thought of the Scarecrow, Tinman and Cowardly Lion. She wondered what had become
of them over the years though she though she would never know. And now the ruby
slippers were glowing and she pondered what that meant. She decided to visit the
Wizard the next day to see if he might be able to shed any light on the situation –
although the slippers were quite enough light for now.


         The Wizard! What a precious friend he had become over the years. After her
Aunt and Uncle had died, the Wizard (or Professor, as she often called him) had written
to her from Denver asking her to come and visit.


         He’d moved there from Omaha and had a wonderful job reading and selling
children’s books in a homey bookstore called the Tattered Cover. Dorothy had accepted
his invitation and had fallen in love with Denver immediately. That had been 13 years
ago. She had a small nest egg from selling the Kansas farm and with that she had set
up her household in Denver – only a few blocks from where the Professor lived.


         She kept her adventure of OZ to herself. Early on, she had tried to tell a few
friends about her adventures. They had looked at her so queerly that she knew it was
no use telling of her experiences.




                                             3
       “If only you could talk Toto! You could verify my story…” she used to say to her
little dog. Of course, Toto had said nothing to her in reply and had just rolled his eyes
upward. Pets just aren’t much good at verifying stories, at least not in English.


       She picked the slippers up in her hands and felt a warmth emanating from them.
She couldn’t wait to show them to the Professor.


       Dorothy awoke early the next morning and took a nice warm shower.
Rummaging through her closet, she decided to wear a soft blue jumper with big roomy
pockets, a light flannel shirt in a pale rose color, tights and her comfortable, yet chic,
Rockport flats. “I might not be a fashion-plat in this,” she thought to herself, “but it’s
comfortable and functional, and I’m usually happy in these clothes.” As she headed for
the living room, Dorothy grabbed a big oversized cardigan to wear as a jacket – though
sunny, early December in Denver can sometimes be a little cool.


       She called the Wizard to make sure he was home and he was delighted she was
coming to see him. He always was.


       Dorothy ate a light breakfast, put the ruby slippers in a May D&F shopping bag
and left for the Professor’s apartment.


       He lived in a very comfortable upstairs apartment in Cherry Creek – though he
often remarked he’d never seen a creek nor a cherry anywhere near there.


       Letting Dorothy in, he gave her a little hug and looked curiously at her shopping
bag. Then they noticed each other’s clothes and laughed – they were both in corduroy
and flannel – different, but equally soft and warm. The Professor had on dark brown
corduroy pants and a shirt in a muted plaid that looked quite nice with his white hair.


       “So what brings you out on this fine December morning, Dorothy?”


       “Well, Professor, I have something to show you that makes me both excited and
scared.”   With that, Dorothy opened the bag and revealed the ruby red slippers –
glowing even more brightly than they had the night before.



                                             4
       “Oh my!” exclaimed the Professor. “That is quite the sight. Let me put on some
tea and let’s talk.” Which he did.


       Dorothy added a little cream to her tea, took a sip, and said, “They want me to
come back for some reason and it must be a very important one.” She said this in such
a way that it was more of a question than it was a statement. She eyed the Wizard to
determine his reaction and saw a look of concern come over his face.


       “You’ve always been a wise child, Dorothy.” He still called her a child though she
was well past the age of reason. He did this to describe her spirit rather than her earthly
age and also because, to him, age was a relative perspective. The older he got, the
younger other people seemed.         He could remember a time when most everybody
appeared old. Now quite the opposite was true. The years had been kind to Dorothy he
thought. She had a slight gray streak in her hair, but it added to her attractiveness.


       He could see in her eyes that she had already decided to go back – and envied
her a bit. He had spent many good years in OZ as the “Great and Terrible Wizard” and
although he had missed the US of A, it was nice to be such a well respected ruler.


       “When are you going?” he asked “and how will you get there?”


       Dorothy thought for a minute and said, “Well, the sooner the better, I suppose –
they wouldn’t be asking me to come if they didn’t need me. But, I want to bring a
present for each of my friends and I need to make some arrangements here before I go.
I’m assuming that to get there I just need to put on the slippers, click me heels again and
away I’ll go. What do you think?”


       “I’m not sure,” said the Professor, “but I do know I want to be there when you try
it. Just in case you need some help. Would you like me to look after Smokey for you?”


       Smokey was Dorothy’s black lab and he was nine years old. She’d waited a few
years after Toto had died to get another dog. She knew there would never be another
Toto. They had grown up together in many ways.



                                             5
       Smokey was a kick of a dog though. He loved to run and play and swim and play
“fetch”. Dorothy would throw sticks for hours to Smokey’s delight. He would bound after
them untiringly and would bring them back to her without even so much as a tooth mark.


       “That would be very kind, Professor. Then I wouldn’t worry about whether or not
he was being treated all right.”


       “I’ll be glad to have the company, actually. It gets lonely up here some times.”


       Dorothy looked at the creased face of her 70-plus-year-old friend and felt a rush
of emotion. He was so gentle and kind, and his mind was still better than ever. She
thought some of that must come from his work with children in the bookstore. She still
called him “Mr. Wizard” from time to time, though it embarrassed him to be thought of in
that way. Over the years, though, she had come to realize that he had worked real
magic with the gang in OZ. He’d been wise enough to point out to the Scarecrow,
Tinman and Lion that they already possessed the qualities they were seeking, even
though they hadn’t realized it. He was a Wizard all right – and a good friend too.


       She was especially grateful to have him in her life since she’d lost her Aunt and
Uncle when they were both in their early 60’s before she’d left Kansas. She still missed
them terribly, and the Professor helped fill the void she felt inside.


       “Why do you think they want me back, Mr. Wizard?” she asked.


       His brow crinkled up, “I’ve just been sitting here thinking about that. I think you’re
right, of course, about it being very important. And I suspect that whoever is calling you
back must think you are the only one who can help. Why, exactly, they want you back, I
don’t now. I’m not really a very good Wizard. But I do know this – you have the gift of
relationships, Dorothy, I’ve told you that before.        You have the grace, ability, or
whatever, to bring people together in ways that just wouldn’t happen without you around.
I suspect that’s what is needed in OZ, although for sure I just don’t know.”


       “Thank you Professor,” replied Dorothy. “You have a gift yourself, you know.”



                                              6
       “Oh really, young lady, and what might that be?”


       “I guess I would call it the gift of reflection though that isn’t quite right. You spot
people’s deepest strengths and then point them out at precisely the right time in a very
kind way. You really are a very good Wizard!”


       With that he blushed and refilled her teacup.


       “You know, Dorothy, there’s a flip side too. Our strengths can sometimes be our
greatest weaknesses.      We can rely on them too much, at the wrong time, and
sometimes get into trouble.”


       Dorothy would later reflect on how prophetic that comment was.


       For the time being, the two stared at the soft glow of the ruby slippers, each with
their own thoughts.


       For Dorothy, the shoes symbolized adventure, friendship and a gnawing feeling
in her stomach that she hadn’t felt with this intensity since the melting of the Wicked
Witch of the West – FEAR. But here they were – those shoes glowing after 25 years.
Unbelievable!


       “I’ll leave today at 3:00, Professor. Can you come to my place?”


       “I wouldn’t miss it for the world, my Dear, not for the world.”




                                             7
                                        Chapter Two


                                           TO OZ


       Actually the Professor arrived at 2:45. Dorothy silently let him in and Smokey
greeted him with a wagging tail and bright alert eyes. He sensed that something was
going to happen and the excitement in the air was captured in his busy tail.


       “Hi there, boy,” said the Professor, “how are your doing?           You can sense
something’s about to happen can’t you?            Well, you’re right, and it should be very
interesting indeed. It’s gonna be you and me for a while and we’ll have a great time
together.”


       Dorothy disappeared into the bedroom of her roomy apartment. For the past
seven years she had been one of the top managers for a large bank in Denver. Her
reputation for fair dealings with employees and large corporate accounts was legendary.
Whenever the bank needed a special touch for a tough situation, Dorothy was involved.
Although no one could provide precise numbers, it was generally agreed that Dorothy’s
skill and presence had a multi-million dollar effect on the bank’s bottom line. She found
all this conjecture somewhat amusing but also flattering.


       “I’ve taken a two week vacation from the bank – I hope that’s enough time. They
weren’t too pleased at the sudden request but, actually, this is a pretty good time since
these weeks before Christmas are usually a little slow. That reminds me my Professor,
here is a Christmas gift for you just in case I’m not back in time.”


       She handed him a bright red package with a yellow bow that for all the world
reminded him of the Yellow Brick Road.


       “Thank you,” he said, “how fitting.”


       She nodded and knew what he meant, for the same thought had occurred to her.




                                              8
         “Well, I’m all packed,” she said with a flourish. “I hope I didn’t forget anything.”
The Professor watched as she carried out a large Samsonite bag with her return
address dutifully dangling from the handle.


         “Judging by the size of that bag, my dear, I don’t think you could have forgotten
anything.”


         “Well I’m not sure what kind of weather or adventure to expect, so I’m prepared
for just about anything. And of course, I’m bringing little gifts for each of my friends. Oh
I hope they are all right. It will be so good to see them again! I’ve missed them very
much!”


         “Well, only time will tell,” said the Professor, “and it won’t be very long before it
tells you now, will it?” With that he gave Dorothy a big hug and knew that he’d really
miss her while she was gone.


         “Here’s a list of things to remember, Mr. Wizard.         Feeding instructions for
Smokey and watering instructions for my plants. And I’ve left some milk and fruit for you
in a bag that you can take home with you. And if the bank should call and leave a
message on my answering machine…”


         “Dorothy, Dorothy, Dorothy,” interrupted the Professor, “we’ll be all right and I’ll
think of a way to handle everything. Don’t worry so.”


         “Thank you, Professor. I know you will. Well, I guess I’m as ready as I’ll every
be. I’ll get the slippers and be right back.”


         She returned carrying the slippers. She placed them in the middle of the living
room. The Professor brought the suitcase over and set it down next to the slippers.


         “Well, Smokey, you be a good boy now. I’m going to miss you a lot. But I’ll be
home before you know it.” She placed her arms around the dog’s neck and gave him a
big hug. He squirmed uncomfortably and backed away a bit.




                                                9
        Dorothy turned to the Professor, “Well, as they say, ‘the time is now’.”


        They hugged for a couple of seconds and Dorothy turned, kicked off her shoes
and stuck out her right foot towards the right Ruby slipper. When her foot was about an
inch away from it, the shoe stirred. It expanded so that Dorothy easily slipped her foot in
– then it conformed comfortably around it.


        “Well now, they ought to make all shoes out of this material – it feels wonderful –
and after 25 years!”


        The left slipper went on just as easily. Dorothy stood in the center of the room,
                                                    er
next to the suitcase. She closed her eyes, clicked h heels three times and said,
“There’s no place like OZ, there’s not place like OZ, there’s no place like OZ…”


        Nothing happened at all.


        “What’s wrong, Professor? Do you have any ideas?”


        “What are you feeling, Dorothy? Do you really believe there is no place like OZ?”


        “I know there is no place like OZ. No doubt. But to tell you the truth, I’m a little
afraid. I keep thinking of the Wicked Witch of the West. If I run into someone else like
that in OZ, I won’t be too thrilled.”


        “I can understand that, Dorothy” said the Professor. “Instead of concentrating on
the Witch, how about concentrating on the friends you hope to see again?”


        Dorothy closed her eyes again. Her expression softened a bit and the Professor
could see she was thinking gentler thoughts. “Actually, I can’t wait to see the Scarecrow
again; I’ve missed him the most. And to be able to oil the Tinman will be such a treat!
And the Lion. I wonder what he’s made of himself. And the Munchkins – and Glinda,
the Good Witch – and all those beautiful colors – and the fresh fruit, and the beautiful
birds, and the Emerald City with everything so green and sparkling, and …”




                                             10
        What happened next the Professor could never piece together, precisely, but
sparks began flying off of the slippers! They startled Smokey, who began barking as he
bolted out of the Professor’s grasp. Smokey rushed to Dorothy’s rescue and just when
he got to her, they both disappeared in a cloud of smoke and a crack like thunder.
There was a lingering smell of sulpher in the air.


        The Professor brushed some dust off his clothes and walked to the center of the
room.   There were two singe marks on the carpet where Dorothy had stood.          Her
suitcase was still there, also covered with dust.


        “See you soon, my dear, and God bless,” he said to the empty room. “I’m sure
they have everything your size in OZ.”




                                             11
                                      Chapter Three


                                     THE PALACE


         While Dorothy was thinking of all the good things in OZ and getting very excited
about going back, she started feeling a very pleasant warm sensation.               She felt
electricity crackling all about her but she knew that was a good sign. Through the noise
she heard Smokey barking and wished he was coming along. The next thing she knew,
she was passing through time and space just as she had 25 years before. And then
silence.


         When she opened her eyes, Dorothy was in the most incredible room she had
ever seen. Everything was soft and warm and pink – everything that is except for
Smokey. “Smokey! I’m so glad you’re here.” She reached down and gave him a big
hug. He was a little nervous in his new surroundings.


         Dorothy looked around her and marveled at the sheer beauty of everything she
saw. There was pink crystal everywhere – sheer crystal windows, a glittering crystal
mirror and faceted crystal lamps glittered in the reflected light. An oversized couch was
covered in a beautiful rose iridescent material of a kind Dorothy had never seen.


         A large door opened to her left and in walked, or maybe a better description
would be, in hopped Nikko, the leader of the winged monkeys.


         “Hello, Dorothy Gale! Welcome back to the great land of OZ.” With that, he
bowed gracefully, with just the briefest glance at Smokey, and waited for Dorothy to
speak.


         Dorothy had been quite taken aback by seeing Nikko first thing. She wasn’t sure
whether he was friend or foe. As soon as he spoke, though, she knew he was still the
friend she had found after the Wicked Witch had melted. He was older, of course, as
was she. He still looked fit, though, and she could tell he was pleased to see her again.




                                            12
       “Nikko, how good it is to be back. And how good it is to see you again. You look
terrific!” she exclaimed enthusiastically.


       “Thank you, Dorothy, so do you. The years have been most gracious to you.
We have all missed you and have waited anxiously for your return. Would you care to
freshen up a bit before I take you to see Glinda?”


       Dorothy broke into a big smile, “Of course, that’s where we are! This is Glinda’s
castle isn’t it? And all done in her colors. It’s just beautiful. I should have known at
once!” Dorothy looked about her and recognized nice little touches that only Glinda in
her wisdom and beauty would think of. Close by was a small round table with a pink
crystal pitcher of what looked like pink lemonade, a pink tumbler and a plate of pale pink
sugar cookies. They were awaiting Dorothy’s arrival – and Dorothy could tell they were
fresh as of today. She was expected! Or, at least, hoped for …


       “No, I don’t need to freshen up at all, Nikko. It really was a short pleasant trip.
Travelling without a house is so much easier!”


       Nikko smiled and nodded but he wasn’t quite sure what she meant by the house
comment. He hadn’t been there to witness Dorothy’s house landing on the Wicked
Witch. “Well, my instructions are to bring you to see Glinda as soon as you are ready.
She is very anxious to see you! Shall we go?”


       “Absolutely,” replied Dorothy. She and Smokey followed Nikko out of the room
down a sparkling corridor with pictures of important people in pink crystal frames on both
sides of the hallway. They walked through many rooms, each more astounding than the
one before it. Dorothy saw winged monkeys busily doing things around the castle. As
she passed by, they all stopped what they were doing to bow low to her.               She
acknowledged each one with a nod of the head. She could tell they were excited to see
her.


       After what seemed like a long, long walk, the three approached two huge doors
that must have been at least 20 feet high. They were guarded by what appeared to be
the same soldiers who once served the Wicked Witch. As they approached, the guards



                                             13
swung them open and announced to everyone in the great hall beyond, “Dorothy Gale
from Kansas is back! Long live Dorothy!”


       Cheering and applause filled the hall as Dorothy and Smokey swept through
those massive doors.


       An aisle opened up in the crowd and Dorothy was thrilled to see Glinda gracefully
approaching.


       “Welcome back, Dorothy, to the land of OZ. It was so thoughtful of you to come!”
With that, Glinda reached Dorothy and kissed her on both cheeks and held her right
hand between both of hers. Dorothy had a tear in her eye when she curtseyed and said,
“It’s so good to be back in OZ and to see you again, Your Majesty.”


       Glinda laughed at the lofty title, yet was touched by Dorothy’s sincerity, “Call me
Glinda, please, my dear. And believe me, we consider it an honor that you chose to
come back to see us. For if, in your heart, you hadn’t really wanted to come back, the
shoes wouldn’t have carried you here. No, it is we who are glad to see you again.”
Glinda looked down at Smokey and asked, “Is this a friend of Toto’s?”


       “Well, in a way I guess he is. This is Smokey, Glinda. A good and faithful dog
who joined my family after Toto went to dog heaven many years ago.”


       “I’m sorry to hear about Toto, Dorothy, although we wondered how long dogs
lived in Kansas. You do still live in Kansas don’t you?” she asked.


       “No. I moved to a city called Denver in a state called Colorado, a few years ago
– but it’s close to Kansas. I live very close to the Professor and he sends his best
wishes to all his friends in OZ.”


       “It’s good to hear the Professor is well – he’s very much revered here, as you
know. You’ll have to fill us in on all the details when we get a chance. But we have
some urgent business first. You have a decision to make. A very important decision –
and I want you to have all the facts before you make it. Won’t you come with me?” With



                                           14
that, Glinda turned and walked through an ordinary sized door to Dorothy’s left. Dorothy
followed her into a room which had a table in the center completely covered by a large
topographical map of OZ.


       “Dorothy,” Glinda began, “all is not well in OZ. I’ll explain just what the situation
is as I understand it. If you decide that you don’t want any part of the situation I’m about
to describe, we’ll understand. In that event, your slippers will take you back home again
directly. If you decide to stay, I cannot guarantee your safety. Do you understand what
I’m saying, my dear?”


       “Not exactly, Glinda, but why don’t you explain what is happening and I’m sure it
will become clearer as you talk. But first, are the Scarecrow, Tinman and Lion OK?”


       “Yes, my dear, they’re fine – physically. Friendship-wise, they are not doing so
well. They’ve had a falling out of sorts and though they all still live in OZ, they haven’t
been friendly for some time now. That’s part of the reason I wanted you to come back to
OZ. You, if anyone, can get them back together as friends again. Because that is
exactly what will be needed to meet the challenge ahead of you – all of you working
again as the team you once were.” Glinda looked at Dorothy with gentle eyes.


                                        h
       Dorothy was relieved to hear her t ree friends were all right. She wasn’t too
surprised to hear that they’d had a falling out. It often happens with friends, she knew.
Whether or not she could get them back together again, she wasn’t too sure.


       “Glinda, I’d feel awful if I came this far and didn’t try to help my friends when they
are in need.”


       “Yes, Dorothy, I thought that would be your attitude – but let me tell you all of the
facts before you make up your mind.”


       “You see,” Glinda continued, “there are a lot of things ‘not good’ in OZ right now.
Look on this map. Here is Munchkin City where you first arrived in OZ. You remember
the Munchkins, the little people?”




                                            15
        “Oh, of course I do. They were the ones who helped me get started in the right
direction – following the Yellow Brick Road.”


        “Yes they did. Well, they are in trouble now. They have been taken over by
mysterious creatures call the E’Ghosts.        No one has seen these beings outside of
Munchkin Land other than one strange bird who flew into OZ after staying with the
Munchkins for awhile. He said they’d discovered the E’Ghosts living amongst them. It
was pitiful, he said, and that’s when he flew the coop – literally. These strange creatures
have somehow built a huge wall around Munchkin City that appears to be impenetrable
– even if you could reach it. And that is almost impossible to do, I think because of what
lies between the City of OZ and Munchkin City.”


        “Oh my,” sighed Dorothy, for she had become very fond of the Munchkins even
during her brief stay with them. And they had given her that initial encouragement to go
see the Wizard. She was quite looking forward to seeing them on this trip and was
saddened to hear they were under the power of these E’Ghosts.


        “What lies between the City of OZ and Munchkin City?                Isn’t that the same
stretch of Yellow Brick Road where I met the Scarecrow, Tinman and Lion?”


        “Yes it is, my dear – you have a good memory. Look at the map here and I’ll
show you what has become of it. See, here is the forest where you encountered the Lion
for the first time. You’ll remember it is right next to the poppy field.”


        “Yes, I remember,” said Dorothy, “that was a very dark and deep forest.”


        “One and the same,” sighed Glinda. “A dark force has taken over that forest and
now it’s known as the Land of Terror-on-Every-Side. No one we know of has ever
traveled entirely through this land.       Those who have attempted, always return –
remarkably changed – refusing to speak about it. And if that weren’t enough, if you do
make it through the Land of Terror-on-Every-Side, you must then face the Land of
Intuition and travel safely through it. Some of Nikko’s scouts have flown over this whole
area and mapped it for us. That was before a dense cloud-like vapor settled over the
area like a shroud making flying impossible.”



                                              16
        “The Land of Intuition,” mused Dorothy almost mystically. “What do you know
about it?” she asked Glinda.


        “Nothing but the name,” she replied. “We only know that because it’s posted on
a tree near the border. It must be a very strange place indeed. And third and finally, the
land where you first met the Scarecrow is ruled by a mysterious woman who has
transformed it into the Land of Logic. We know even less about this woman or land. I
believe she is holding slaves within its borders, but I’m not sure. So there you have it –
a pretty bleak picture. To rescue the Munchkins, you must first reassemble your team,
tackle the Land of Terror-on-Every-Side, make it safely through the Lands of Intuition
and Logic, and then defeat the E’Ghosts. It looks so difficult and dangerous; I wouldn’t
blame you a bit if you decide to return home straightaway. In fact, I didn’t even tell the
Scarecrow, Tinman or Lion that I had sent for you, knowing you might well turn down the
challenge. What do you think, my dear?”


        “Well, you’ve given me a lot to think about all right. I must admit to being scared
at what you’ve told me, and you’re right, I don’t think I could do it alone, either. This is a
very strange land.     OZ is unique and these changes are especially strange and
frightening.”


        Dorothy looked about herself, reflected a moment, and thought it ironic that a
land could hold such beauty and peace yet have such dangerous forces at work. She
thought of her home in Denver, of the Professor, and her life there and was grateful that
she had never married or had children. She’d been close to marriage once, but it just
hadn’t worked out. If she never returned, she would be missed, but it could have been
so much worse, she supposed, had she more family that the Professor.


        “Do you think there is any chance of succeeding in this quest Glinda? Any
chance at all?”


        “Yes I do, Dorothy. If any one can pull it off, it would be you and your friends.
You surmounted all odds when you melted the Wicked Witch of the West.                    And
relationships forged in adversity last an eternity.”     Glinda paused a moment, then



                                             17
continued, “You are what I call a ‘taken-care-of-person’, Dorothy. I can’t tell you exactly
what that means other than to say the universe seems to take care of you in any
situations you face – you and those around you.”


       When Glinda said that, Dorothy shivered, for she’d often had the exact thought.


       “To OZ, Glinda!” said Dorothy. “It’s time to see my old friends – a 25 year
reunion, one could say.”


       Glinda shut her eyes and breathed an audible sigh of relief.         There was a
glimmer of hope. She had hoped that Dorothy’s response would be “yes”. What she
had not expected to see was the look of excitement and determination in Dorothy’s eyes.
Glinda knew that, although she had grave misgivings, she had done the right thing by
asking Dorothy to return to OZ.




                                            18
                                       Chapter Four


                          RETURN TO THE EMERALD CITY


          The winged monkeys were honored to fly Dorothy and Smokey to the outskirts of
the Emerald City. They would have taken them right over the walls into the City but
Dorothy wanted to retrace some of her steps from so long ago. And OZ was such a
great, beautiful city to approach – it took her breath away every time. It had the same
effect this time too.


          She knocked on the gate and it was instantly opened by a young boy of about
twelve.


          “You have a very responsible position for someone your age,” remarked Dorothy.
“What is your name?”


          “I am Samuel” replied the boy and he politely added, “and what might I do for
you?”


          “My name is Dorothy Gale, and I’m here to see the Scarecrow, the Tinman and
the Lion.”


          “Oh you are, are you,” laughed the boy, “well you sure know how to drop names.
I’ve never heard anyone make that kind of request before.”


          “Who’s at the gate, Samuel?” said a voice from behind the boy, “and what do
they want?”


          “It’s someone named Dorothy Gale, Dad, and she wants to see all three of the
Triumpherate.”


          There was a commotion on the other side of the gate and the door flew open to
reveal Samuel’s father with his mouth gaping open almost to his knees. “It is you!” he
gasped. “Samuel, this is THE Dorothy Gale of Kansas you read about in your history


                                            19
books.” He rushed on, “We never thought you’d return! It’s wonderful to see you! I’ll
spread the word you’re here! Oh great Holiday! We’ll have a ticker-tape parade! Oh
joyful city!” With that he spun on his heels, pulled on a long rope which, of course,
caused the bells of the City of OZ to peal tumultuously.


       The streets quickly filled with the residents of OZ as the word spread that
Dorothy was back! Excitement and energy in the city swelled. Dorothy was back!


       She and Smokey got into a carriage and were regally carried down the streets of
OZ to a jubilant welcome by all. Those above them threw ticker tape and confetti down
on them. It was such fun.


       It was an especially welcome celebration because the city had been sad for
some time. No one could quite put a finger on it, but there had been a malaise, a glum
feeling, over the entire city. The fact that Dorothy was back seemed to cut right through
the gloom. Many of the citizens were dancing and frolicking in the streets.


       The carriage whisked them right up to the palace – the exact place where
Dorothy and her ragtag troupe had first met the Wizard. What a strange feeling came
over Dorothy at the sight!    The Scarecrow, now the leader of the City of OZ, had
converted the Wizard’s old palace to his own, as was his right. Dorothy’s legs trembled
somewhat as the door guard led her and Smokey down the long hallway to the throne-
room where they had uncovered the Wizard’s trickery, so long ago.


       When she and Smokey entered the large room, she immediately spotted the
Scarecrow sitting on the throne looking so regal, so important.


       Dorothy rushed up to him as he began to rise from his chair and threw both arms
around his neck. Through tears, she whispered, “I’ve missed you so much. It’s so good
to hug you.”


       The Scarecrow had tears in his eyes too as he said, “And it’s so good to see you
too, Dorothy. I wasn’t sure if I should have come to the front door to greet you or to wait
for you here. Going to the door would have been friendlier and I felt like doing that, yet



                                            20
sitting here was more regal and official and I am in charge of OZ. So I wasn’t sure which
way to go. While I was trying to make up my mind, in you came and so that’s that! Oh it
is so good to see you again! You look lovely. And a bit taller.”


        Before Dorothy could respond, there was a loud commotion somewhere in the
great hall and she heard a familiar voice say, “Dorothy, Dorothy, Dorothy, oh bless my
heart, Dorothy – it’s me, it’s me!” This was said with such emotion that the impact of the
Tinman’s entry filled the hall.


        For just a moment, Dorothy thought she saw a look of exasperation on the
Scarecrow’s face, who rolled his eyes as if to say, “Oh no, not again.”


        But before Dorothy had time to think, she spotted the Tinman (more heard than
saw him, that is). Tears were streaming down his face as he tried to rush to her. But his
steps came slower and slower as his tears rusted up his joints and caused them to stick.
“Oooooh Dooroothy …” he wailed in a long drawn out way because his chin was rusting
up too. She jumped down the throne steps and dashed to meet him. She kissed him on
both rusting cheeks. “Well, I’m not helping much either,” Dorothy said as she saw her
tears mingling with his. “Where is your oil can?”


        “Here it is!” replied a beautiful and willowy lady behind the Tinman. She had
immediately begun oiling him without even being asked. “I’m Alyce,” she went on, “and
we’re an item.”


        “Gosh, I’ll bet you are,” said Dorothy, having a hard time trying to picture the two
of them together.


        The Tinman was slowly regaining the use of his limbs and mouth again. Dorothy
dabbed at his eyes with a handkerchief. “Oh Tinman, it’s wonderful to see you again!”


        “Dorothy, when I heard you were back in OZ, I was overcome with emotion. So
overcome, I couldn’t move for a bit. Then, when I could move, I was crying and the tears
started rusting me up. That hasn’t happened to me in a long time. I’ve been trying to
keep my emotions in check and not get so excited about things. But life has been so



                                            21
boring. Now that you are back, I am filled with excitement again. What brings you here
anyway?”


        “Well, that’s a good question, Tinman,” replied Dorothy. “When we find the Lion,
and the four of us are all together again, I will let you know – I’m not sure if you’ll like it or
not.”


        “Whatever the reason,” announced the Scarecrow, “it doesn’t take someone with
many brains to see that we’re all delighted to have you back.”


        “True,” said the Tinman as Alyce was oiling his rusty eye sockets. “You’re a sight
for sore eyes.”


        Dorothy noticed that the Tinman and Scarecrow hadn’t said a word to one
another nor even met each other’s eyes.


        As she looked from one to the other in bewilderment, trumpets rang out in the
hall with a majestic fanfare.


        “My,” said Dorothy. “What now?”


        She should have known – for through a set of doors on the other side of the hall
strode the Lion with a retinue of servants carrying the long train of his royal robe. “His
Majesty” had entered.


        With his head held high and his chest puffed out, the Lion strode up to Dorothy
with his eyes shining. “Hello, Dorothy, my pet,” he pronounced. “It’s good to see you.
a-Ha, a-Ha, a-Ha.”


        Dorothy rushed down the steps to hug him but before she got there he extended
his left paw, pads down, somewhat imperiously. She took it, a little surprised, and
noticed he wore a large emerald ring. She curtseyed slightly in confusion – but then
pushed his paw aside and gave him a big hug.




                                               22
        “Oh, go on,” he chuckled. “It sure is good to see you,” he repeated.


        “Oh and you too, Lion. Where did you get all of these people fawning all over
you?”


        “They make me feel important,” he muttered. “Plus I get more done when they’re
around because I can tell them what to do.”


        “I see,” said Dorothy, and she looked at the Scarecrow and Tinman who were
standing at least twenty feet away and not moving to join them.


        “Can the four of us meet together alone for a while?” asked Dorothy.         She
noticed the other three flinch, look at each other rather suspiciously and then each, with
a shrug of his shoulders, agreed to a private meeting.


        The great hall was quickly cleared and the four pulled up chairs around a small
table and reminisced about how they had exposed the “Great and Terrible OZ” right in
this room.


        “How is Toto?” asked the Lion as he growled back at Smokey who hadn’t liked
the Lion from the start.


        So Dorothy brought the three of them up to speed on her life and Toto and the
Professor. It took awhile to explain everything but they were all very interested and only
interrupted her if they wanted clarification on something she was talking about.


        When she finished, they all complimented her on her successes, were sad about
Toto, but very pleased that she and the Wizard were such good friends. He’d been a
major player in each of their lives and they weren’t about to forget it. Hearing about
Dorothy’s life and remembering the old days seemed to soften them up a bit, so Dorothy
said, “That’s enough about me – now tell me about the three of you and how you’ve
been able to remain in touch all these years. You all look marvelous, but there seems to
be some discomfort between you. I remember you as being so supportive and kind to




                                            23
one another. You seem to still have strong emotional ties, but something gets in the way
of your expressing it to each other. Or am I making something out of nothing?”


       There was a moment of awkward silence before the Lion spoke up.


       “We’re delighted to have you back, Dorothy, but we just can’t ever agree on
anything.” The other two nodded their heads.


       “What do you mean, Lion?” she asked.


       “Well, there are things that need to be done in this kingdom and we are bogged
down in inactivity. I don’t know if you know it or not, but there is big trouble in Munchkin
Land and has been for some time. And yet we can’t decide on what action to take. It’s
very frustrating. We should have done something years ago.”


       “True,” said the Scarecrow, “but you won’t sit still for a minute to help us plan.
You just rush into every situation willy-nilly and try to resolve it without first thinking
through a strategy. You’re brave but sometimes you could be smarter. Like the first
time you heard about the Munchkin trouble – you rushed right out of the city and forgot
about the poisonous poppy field. Rescuing you almost cost me two men.”


       “But that’s all you want to do is plan,” retorted the Lion. “Why if I waited for you
…”


       “Just a second,” jumped in Dorothy, “what do you have to say Tinman?”


       “Well it really doesn’t make any difference what I have to say,” he replied
dejectedly. “They just say I’m too emotional for my own good. And actually, sometimes
I am. I get so excited about something that I start with a flurry of activity and lose
interest when my energy dies down. I need to be excited to do anything!” This honest
admission surprised the Lion and Scarecrow, and after a moment they both seemed to
relax and appear less defensive. Dorothy noticed, but kept quiet.




                                            24
       “I do tend to plan too much,” offered the Scarecrow thoughtfully.            “I’m sorry
Tinman and Lion. With good talented friends like you two around, I shouldn’t worry so.
It must come across as a lack of trust and I don’t mean it to.”


       “Apology accepted,” beamed the Lion offering the Scarecrow a large paw to
shake. “I know I could think more before I jump into action. I get so impatient. I’m sorry.
Will you two forgive me?” he finished contritely.


       “Of course we will,” they both exclaimed at once.


       These simple words of apology and forgiveness from each of them had a
profound effect! They hugged spontaneously – one big hug that Dorothy jumped up to
join – and the four stood as one, a team beginning to form again.


       “It’s so good to be with you all again,” she said. “I’ve missed you all terribly and
have thought of you every day in my prayers.”


       With that, they each just gave an extra squeeze of affection, silently echoing the
thought.


       “Well,” continued Dorothy, “I’ll tell you why I’m here.”           She recounted what
happened after she put on the glowing slippers – the visit with Glinda and the existence
of the E’Ghosts and the Lands of Terror-On-Every-Side, Intuition and Logic, all guarding,
in their own way, Munchkin City.


       The Scarecrow, Tinman and Lion all listened, nodding, seeming not at all
surprised with what Dorothy said.


       “That actually corroborates very well with what our sources have told us,” replied
the Scarecrow. “I’ve been able to think of little else in a long time.”


       “True,” replied the Lion, “and to think that I made such a fool of myself by
charging off to face those odds alone. I haven’t been able to forgive myself for it at all.”
He lowered his head.



                                              25
          “It’s got me awake nights wondering how I might be able to have an impact on
the situation without ‘losing it’ emotionally,” said the Tinman. “It’s such a treacherous
undertaking – it will definitely require a good balance of brains and courage.”


          All were silent a moment and then the Scarecrow spoke up, “Dorothy, if you’re
willing to lead us again, I’d be glad to join forces with you. It would be the smart thing to
do.”


          “Me too,” replied the Tinman. “It would make me proud and excited to be useful
again.”


          Not hearing anything, they turned and looked at the Lion. He blushed a little and
said, “I’m not sure if I’d be more of a liability to you than a help,” he said sheepishly. “But
I’d love to join you if you’ll have me,” he added.


          They all laughed with relief and said of course they wanted their brave friend to
join them on their quest. The feelings of forgiveness, relief and happiness were so
strong that the air was charged with electricity.


          They had just begun planning their strategy when a familiar iridescent pink
bubble slowly began to become visible in the room.


          “Hello, Glinda,” Dorothy smiled when she appeared. “I think we’re a team again!”


          “So I see,” replied Glinda, “and one with a very noble purpose too. I’ve come to
give you encouragement and some important information. I’m so grateful to you all for
undertaking this dangerous quest. I had hoped you would -- but would have understood
if you hadn’t.”


          The foursome nodded and looked at one another with a growing sense of
anticipation.




                                              26
       “A while back, when Nikko and his men were flying on patrol near the entrance to
Munchkin City, before it became too dangerous to do so, they discovered a bottle with a
paper in it. Written in invisible ink on the paper was the following verse:


                               Sides of the triangle
                                       One to a land
                               Must be grasped
                                       With the Right hand
                               Triangle in sphere
                                       Round and Round
                               Will lift the house
                                       off the ground
                               Settle Down, Settle Dee
                                       Little People
                               Me, me, me.


       Glinda finished reading, paused a moment, and continued, “What I’ve figured out
so far is this … I think that somewhere, in each land you go through on the way to
Munchkin City, there is one side of the triangle mentioned in the poem. You need to
gather the pieces together, being careful to grab each one with the right hand only,
never touching it with your left. Once complete, the triangle must be the key to getting
into Munchkin City. I’m not sure what the house part means, or the sphere, but it’ll
probably become obvious to you as you proceed. Also, this symbol was imprinted upon
the paper and it must have some significance:




       “It shows the triangle inside the sphere but I’m not sure just what it means. The
only other advice I have for you is to stick together. Your strength comes from your
working together and the blending of your different skills. Best of luck and I’ll help you




                                              27
get through the poppy field,” and with that she began to fade away, bubble and all,
leaving only the poem behind.


       The four looked at one another, the poem, and decided to leave first thing in the
morning. They decided it would be a good idea to use the “Horse of a Different Color” to
carry supplies and make the journey a little easier. With that, they left the palace to
cheers of all the residents of the great city. The pall that had hung over the city seemed
to be gone – at least temporarily.


       People noticed that the team was back together again. The connection and
goodwill, though unspoken, was clear to even the most casual of observers. Caring and
trust were reestablished and they were having a great time. It seemed like ‘forever’
since anyone had seen that.


       The group dined that night in the best restaurant in the City of OZ and was feted
by many people who came up to wish them “Godspeed” on their journey. Already word
had spread about what they were going to attempt in the morning. The whole city was
thrilled that its proudest sons were joining with Dorothy for such a noble endeavor. It
made everyone feel good about themselves and it gave them hope for the future.


       So, Dorothy’s and Smokey’s first night in OZ was spent in the palace after having
a wonderful dinner with wonderful friends.       Even Smokey received very special
treatment including a doggie gourmet dinner, a bath and grooming.


       The only troubling thing that happened was that Dorothy’s dreams that night
were filled with the echo of a hideous laugh that invoked terrifying images – some long
forgotten. It seems that some things are buried deeply within.




                                           28
                                        Chapter Five


                      THE LAND OF TERROR-ON-EVERY-SIDE



       The troupe of four, Smokey and the Horse of a Different Color, started out at
daybreak. A crowd gathered to see them off and, with much fanfare, they bid the City of
OZ “adieu.” The Horse of a Different Color, or ‘Hoz” as Dorothy immediately nicknamed
him, was carrying saddle bags and a pack filled with supplies the group might need. The
packs bulged with food, straw for the Scarecrow, oil for the Tinman, blankets, and a few
odds and ends.


       As the troupe started out on the Yellow Brick Road, Dorothy couldn’t help but be
struck once again by the sheer beauty of the Land of OZ.           Beautiful flowers were
everywhere, bright butterflies flitted from blossom to blossom, rare and colorful birds
swooped here and there and the clear air was almost intoxicating with the delightful
mingled scents of the grass, flowers and blooming fruit trees. The sun was shining; it
was just a perfect day for the beginning of a journey.


       At mid-morning, the band came upon the poppy-field, flower heads dipping gently
in the passing breeze. So beautiful, so seductive, so inviting – and yet so deadly with its
poisonous perfume. Glinda had promised to help them through the poppy fields as she
had done years before. Sure enough, as they approached, it began to snow lightly.
Breathing a sigh of relief, rather than the dangerous fumes, they passed unharmed
through the intoxicating field.


       Almost immediately thereafter they came to the entrance of the forest – the Land
of Terror-on-Every-Side. Over the entryway was a large sign that read:


                     ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE


And a smaller sign that read:


                                  VEIL OF FEARS – 100 FEET


                                             29
        They tried to peer through the entryway to the “Veil of Fears” but it was too dark.


        Taking a big breath of fresh air to calm their nerves, the foursome, Hoz (being led
by Tinman), and Smokey plunged into the Land of Terror-on-Every-Side.


        They stopped a few yards into the forest to let their eyes adjust to the dimness.
The Lion was a few paces ahead and ready to respond just in case they were attacked
by a wild beast. Dorothy admired how courageous he was. But nothing happened.


        Once their eyes were adjusted, they moved slowly forward and came upon a vine
covered portico or archway labeled “Veil of Fears”. There was no way around it because
of thick underbrush on either side. The only choice was to walk boldly through. So they
did. Dorothy was about to remark about such boldness when the Lion turned to her and
said caustically, “Well, you and Glinda sure made a mountain out of a molehill on this
one didn’t you,” and he said it in such a spiteful mean way! The Scarecrow looked at her
derisively and sneered, “Oh Dorothy, we’re so glad to see you after 25 years.” He
laughed, and continued sarcastically, “Oh yeah, so glad to see someone who
abandoned us to our own devices 25 years ago and didn’t have the courtesy to call or
write or stay in touch – now she comes back and wants to save us – our hero, our pal,
our friend.”


        Dorothy couldn’t believe what she was hearing from her “friends”. Tears sprang
to her eyes as she turned to the Tinman for support.


        But he lashed out at her too, “Don’t try to soften us up by crying sweetheart. You
say relationships are so important – how would you know? You’re not married! You
should at least be married. What’s wrong with you?”


        With that insult, Dorothy began sobbing and yet they continued to heap even
more abuse on her. It was too much to take.


        “If that’s how you feel, why don’t we just turn back,” she demanded.




                                             30
        “Fine with us!” they all agreed and, still laughing at her, they turned to leave the
forest. Their laughter and insults didn’t stop until they had gotten to the “Abandon all
hope …” sign.


        As they retraced their steps on the Yellow Brick Road towards the poppy field,
Dorothy’s eyes stung with tears. She wouldn’t look anyone in the eye because she
didn’t want them to see that they had hurt her so deeply.


        After a while though, her anger welled up to the point where she yelled, “Stop!
I’m so angry – I can’t just let this go by without saying anything.”


        The three were startled by her announcement and each in turn said, “Yeah, me
too.” Dorothy didn’t quite know what they meant by that so she just began talking.
Tears filled her eyes again.


        “I can’t believe the mean things you all said to me in the forest. I do love and
care about all of you and I don’t see why the fact that I’m not married makes any
difference to you all.”


        With that, the three of them looked at each other blankly and the Tinman asked,
“Dorothy, what in OZ are you talking about?”


        Dorothy recounted what she’d experienced in the forest and they all stared at her
dumbfounded. None of them had seen or heard what Dorothy had. They concluded
there must have been some sort of magic spell at work.


        One by one each described the events they had encountered in the forest. They
were all drastically different. According to the Scarecrow, the group had criticized his
lack of planning. He was ridiculed for being so easily tricked into joining forces with
them even though it obviously wasn’t the right thing to do. When he got a little emotional
in response, he was laughed at for losing his perspective. He was shattered.


        The Lion experienced lack of trust and doubt of his courage by his best friends.
They’d told him to sit at the forest entrance and that they would meet the challenges



                                              31
within – coming back to lead him through the danger when it was “safe” enough for him
to travel.   They told him they didn’t trust his recklessness and his lack of thoughtful
perspective. He had resigned himself to sitting there licking his emotional wounds, in
isolation – which always makes things worse.


        The poor Tinman ended up sobbing because everyone had told him to “grow up”.
They accused him of being such a child that he was incapable of making any
contribution whatever to their situation. They also questioned the size of his heart and
the strength of spirit he possessed. He felt worthless.


        All of them were emotionally drained. And, thus, they now knew the meaning of
Terror-on-Every-Side. Each had been confronted with their own worst fears.


        So they planned how they might make it through the Veil of Fears knowing
somewhat better what they were facing.


        “First, let’s stick together and hold hands or link arms whenever possible,”
suggested Dorothy, “and make a promise to just continue on no matter what happens.”
They all agreed.


        “And let’s have enough faith in each other,” spoke up the Tinman, “to realize we
wouldn’t hurt one another for the world, even if the forest makes it seem otherwise.”
They all agreed with this too.


        In fact, Dorothy suggested they tell each other three things they liked best about
each other, hoping it would make them feel better. She knew she still hurt from the
unpleasantness, even though she understood it was the forest that had tricked her.
Maybe the others felt the same. They did. And it worked! By the time they’d all
exchanged compliments and mutual admiration all around, each of them felt better and
had shaken off the bad effects of the forest completely.


        Their confidence renewed, they turned back to face the Terror. But Hoz and
Smokey wanted no part of it this time. Hoz stamped his feet and wouldn’t budge.
Smokey just lay down, covered his ears with his paws and cried.



                                            32
          “Oh my,” said the Lion. “I think I get the picture. We were able to talk about our
fears in the forest, but Hoz and Smokey can’t. They must have had visions of their own,
just the same. Hoz probably saw a glue factory or something and Smokey probably
encountered a six-foot CAT. Come to think of it, that’s what I am! No wonder he hasn’t
taken to me like he has to the Scarecrow and Tinman.”


          They all agreed that the Lion was probably right so they devised a plan they
hoped would work.


          First they blindfolded Hoz and while the Tinman led him along, Dorothy and the
scarecrow walked along side stroking his coat and talking soothingly in each ear. They
hoped that their soothing tones and constant strokes could mitigate any fear that Hoz
would undoubtedly experience when they re-entered the forest.


          Much to Smokey’s surprise, the Lion bent over and scooped him up, easily
cradling him in his huge lion arms. They figured nothing could get worse for Smokey
than being carried around by a big hairy cat! And so the group reentered the Forest with
Terror-On-Every-Side. Again, as soon as they walked through the Veil of Fears, strange
things began to happen.


          This time it seemed like they were all normal except they could read each others’
minds - and what they “read” wasn’t kind, it was down right insulting. The insults they
shot at one another were very hurtful because all insults carry a little bit of truth. Luckily,
so do all compliments.


          However, a fortunate thing occurred that they hadn’t expected. Tinman, Dorothy
and Scarecrow were so busy trying to help Hoz get through the forest without harm, they
were able to block out many of the insults the magic was causing them to throw at one
another. And the Lion was so concerned with Smokey, that he wasn’t affected much
either.


          Once it got a little rough for the Scarecrow.       He, like most scarecrows, is
especially sensitive to criticism. For example, they don’t even like the phrase “the straw



                                              33
that broke the camel’s back.” Dorothy, seeing that he was bothered, reached out and
grabbed his hand and squeezed it very tight. She saw him relax a little and knew he
was going to make it. She realized that somehow physical touch was an important
method for counteracting the magic. It certainly appeared to be helping Hoz too.


          They withstood the terror for what seemed like forever, but later figured it was a
relatively short period of time. Once out of the spell of the magic, they relaxed a bit and
complimented one another for the strength and support each had demonstrated. They
didn’t pause long though, as they were all focused on the tasks ahead.


          Dorothy felt very nostalgic when they passed the exact spot on the Yellow Brick
Road where the Lion had attacked her, the Scarecrow, the Tinman and Toto so many
years ago. It was also near that spot that she remembered the sound that gave her a
sudden chill. As if it were yesterday, she heard the evil, cackling, sarcastic laugh of the
Wicked Witch of the West. She was glad that the Witch was dead. That was one
danger the group would not have to face again.


          Near the end of the Forest they came upon a tree stump with what looked like a
crystal rod protruding from it. The crystal rod was pulsating in an odd manner.


          “This must be one part of the triangle we were told about,” said Dorothy as she
reached with her left hand to pull it from the stump.


          “Stop,” cried the Tinman, “use your right hand!        Remember, we’re never
supposed to touch it with our left hands.”


          Dorothy’s left hand was only inches away from the crystal when the Tinman
yelled for her to stop. She hastily snatched back her hand and, oddly enough, it looked
as though the crystal was somehow disappointed she hadn’t used the “wrong” hand.
She grabbed it with her right hand and was able to remove it easily from the tree trunk,
though it looked like it had been irretrievably embedded. One third of the triangle was
theirs!




                                              34
                                        Chapter Six


                                THE LAND OF INTUITION



        The foursome, Hoz and Smokey slept in a field that night under a brilliantly starry
sky. While Dorothy was star gazing before she fell asleep, she though she caught a
glimpse of Glinda in the constellation Orion, or one very like it, but she couldn’t be sure.
The crystal rod was tucked safely away in one of Hoz’s saddlebags. They had plenty to
eat so they sat and talked about the forest and their experiences until it got quite late.
They turned in, wrapping themselves in blankets from the packs, snuggled up close to
each other for warmth.


        Smokey curled up next to the Lion, having taken a real liking to him because of
his experience in the forest.


        They awoke refreshed the next morning. They had some breakfast and all rinsed
themselves off in the nearby sparkling brook. They were ready to face the Land of
Intuition.


        They’d walked a fairly good distance when they came upon a swamp that
stretched as far as their eyes could see. The Yellow Brick Road disappeared into it …
with no indication of where, or whether, it came out somewhere farther ahead. A small
sign on a rock next to the Yellow Brick Road said:


                          UNLESS YOU BECOME LIKE THEM
                          YE CANNOT ENTER THE KINGDOM


        “Any ideas?” asked the Lion, looking at his companions.


        No one said anything.      The swamp looked so awful and so huge – it was
discouraging.




                                            35
        “Too big to go around,” remarked the Scarecrow and they all nodded in
agreement. “It’s a bit wet for my liking,” pointed out the Tinman who had done a good
job of leading Hoz through the Veil of Fears.


        And they all understood what he was thinking.


        Dorothy picked up a stone and threw it underhanded into the swamp. It was
immediately sucked down into the muck and they all heard a very audible burp.


        This didn’t help their mood at all. Defeated for the moment, they sat on some
rocks to think. Smokey was chasing a rabbit nearby and when the rabbit ran towards
the swamp, Smokey followed right behind.


        “No, Smokey!” screamed Dorothy, but it was too late. First the rabbit and then
Smokey disappeared into the slimy black ooze.           “Burp, burp,” burped the swamp.
Dorothy was inconsolable. The Lion ran to the edge of the swamp and while probing for
Smokey, was almost pulled in himself. He withdrew his paw just covered with the
sickening swamp slime. It took forever to wash it off. And even when the black ooze
was gone, the awful stink of rotting plants, and who knows what all, remained.


        “I’m afraid he’s gone, Dorothy,” said the Lion. “I should have been watching him
closer for you. He really is gone. He was becoming such a likeable dog.” A tear formed
in the corner of the Lion’s left eye.


        “No don’t say that, good friend,” Dorothy choked through the tears to the Lion.
“It’s nobody’s fault – it was just a tragic accident.” A moment later she added, miserably,
“I’m going to miss Smokey a lot.”


        With that, they all had a good cry and comforted Dorothy. She dozed off into a
fitful nap, exhausted by the calamity while the others tried to figure out a way through the
deadly swamp.


        The Tinman was staring at the sign. “Unless you become like these ye cannot
enter the kingdom,” he repeated slowly, wondering what in OZ that meant.              They



                                            36
discussed it for a while but nobody had a clue. It was perched on a rock – did they have
to become like rocks to get through the swamp? And what did intuition have to do with it
anyway?


       The entire day passed and by supper time they were so frustrated that they
weren’t hungry, but they knew they had to eat to maintain their strength.            They
rummaged unenthusiastically through the packs of food and utensils, and started a fire
to cook the sausages and warm the cornbread they’d brought. Dorothy awoke with
swollen eyes but was no longer crying. She hadn’t been able to contribute much over
the course of the afternoon.


       They decided later that it must have been the smell of the food, and the fact that
he was hungry from chasing rabbits, that prompted Smokey to pop out of the swamp just
as pleased as could be and ready for dinner. He pranced up to be fed just like normal,
tail wagging and with a delighted expectant look. Dorothy let out a cry of relief, picked
him up and hugged him as tight as she could. The Lion danced a little jig and they were
all as happy now as they were sad before.


       Once past their initial elation, the thought struck them all simultaneously –
something strange was going on here. “How did Smokey get out of there?” they all
wondered. It was the Lion who noticed that not only had Smokey escaped the swamp,
                                                         e
he didn’t have any sticky swamp ooze on him at all! And h didn’t smell like rotten
vegetation.


       “We need to have a pow-wow,” said the Tinman, “before we miss something very
important.” So they did.


       Just about that time, the Scarecrow said, “Look at the strange color Hoz has
turned.” He was a beautiful shiny black color Dorothy had seen on some of the most
valuable horses in Kansas. “That’s not a strange color,” she said, “it’s very normal
where I come from – at least amongst the best of breeders.”


       “But,” persisted the Scarecrow, “Hoz is a Horse of a Different Color. He’s not
supposed to look like any other horse.” “True,” replied Dorothy, “this Land of Intuition is



                                            37
what’s different. I guess we have to look at everything here a little differently than we
normally would.”


        Meanwhile Smokey, having finished his dinner, was enjoying himself immensely
dashing in and out of the swamp at will. He wasn’t affected at all by the ooze. Not a
drop got on him.


        The Tinman spoke up after thinking silently for a while, “This may be a stupid
idea,” and he paused for a few moments, whereupon the Scarecrow said, “No idea’s a
stupid idea when it’s the only one.” Encouraged, the Tinman continued, “Maybe what
the sign means – unless you become like these ye cannot enter the kingdom – means
we have to become like the animals. You know, playful and innocent, following our
instincts, our intuition.”


        This struck everyone as so brilliant, yet simple, they were dumbfounded. They
just stared at the Tinman – surprised at such a rational idea from such an emotion being.


        “Well, I told you it was probably stupid,” he said not realizing their silence was
awe, not judgment.


        “Not at all, Tinman!” they shouted. “We think you’re right!”


        “How do we become like the animals?” wondered the Scarecrow. “Well, I should
have a fairly easy time of it,” said the Lion, and they all looked at him in surprise and
laughed. Of course, he was an animal! What an animal.


        With glee, he bounded over the edge of the swamp and with a big laugh swept
his paw through the ooze. It came out without a spot. “That’s it!” he shouted, “If I
become playful and think good thoughts and follow my intuition, I should be able to walk
through unharmed. I can carry you, Tinman. Dorothy and Scarecrow, you can ride Hoz
and we should be just fine. Smokey obviously doesn’t need any help this time!”


        So that’s what they did. It was a weird sight too. The Lion just started acting like
a little kid, hopping here and hopping there, actually giving the Tinman a bit of a fright.



                                            38
But he let his intuition lead him through the swamp and whatever steps he took seemed
to land him on solid ground.


         Meanwhile, Dorothy and the Scarecrow let Hoz go wherever he chose, knowing
that they would be safe as long as they didn’t try to lead him. Unrestrained, he began
having a great time, prancing here and there and just generally showing off. Of course,
Smokey was having the time of his life chasing rabbits and little varmints all over the
place.


         The swamp wasn’t as wide as it originally appeared, and so it took a brief time to
make it across – even considering their roundabout route.


         They were positively gleeful when they arrived safely at the other side.


         After they had slipped and laughed their way over the swamp muck and were on
firm ground again, they sat down to rest. Their eyes were sparkling and they were
joyous and exhilarated by the effort.


         “Who would have guessed it?” said the Scarecrow rearranging some of the straw
in his left arm. “I mean, that something could look so impossible and intimidating and yet
be conquered by innocence and playfulness. Amazing!”


         “Quite so,” replied the Lion. “What a challenge. It is an experience I’ll never
forget. It made my feet tingle!”


         At this they all laughed and stood up to begin their journey anew, refreshed in the
knowledge that their instincts were intact and, indeed, quite valuable.


         Dorothy looked for the Second Crystal triangle arm but saw no tree trunks or
even trees for that matter. So she figured it would just be a matter of time until they
found it.


         After they had been walking along the Yellow Brick Road for about an hour (for
the road had continued on the far side of the swamp), they began hearing faint noises.



                                             39
The noises grew louder as they walked and sounded like people crying out in misery or
agony. They sped up their pace, just in case they could be of help to whoever – or
whatever – was so miserable.


       Soon they came upon a river form which all the moans and groans were
originating. Yet they saw no people or any other form of life for that matter. It was very
strange. And oddly desolate.


       They also saw that the main portion of the Yellow Brick Road led to a massive
concrete bridge that looked impressive.      It was wide enough for the whole troupe,
including Hoz and Smokey, to walk side-by-side and still have room to spare. There was
a sign on the right hand side of the bridge that read:


                                       VERY SAFE
                               BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED
                                          WATER


       About fifty feet from the shore, a very dense fog shrouded the river and bridge.
Though they tried, no one could see through the fog to the other side. So they couldn’t
tell how long the bridge was, though the part they could see certainly seemed solid, safe
and stately.


       A short distance to the right of this bridge was another with a very different
appearance. A narrow offshoot of the Yellow Brick Road led to this bridge which looked
to be made out of flimsy boards and rope. Only one person at a time could step onto
this bridge because it was so narrow. A sign on the left hand side of the bridge read:


                                   A SHAKY, RICKETY
                                         BRIDGE
                                    LESS TRAVELED


       The Tinman read this sing out loud to the group, “It doesn’t take a genius to
figure out why this bridge is less traveled than the other. My vote is that we cross over
on the safe sturdy bridge.” The others agreed and headed back toward the first bridge.



                                             40
        The Tinman was leading the group when he began to slow down, then stopped
suddenly. Dorothy, right behind, ran into him with a resounding “clang”. “Excuse me,”
she said. But both the sound of the bang and her apology were drowned out by the
sounds of misery coming from the river. The Tinman motioned for the others to walk
with him away from the river so they could talk without having to raise their voices.


        When they were far enough away, they sat down on a circle of rocks.


        “We’re still in the Land of Intuition aren’t we?” asked the Tinman. The others
looked at each other and Dorothy replied, “Why yes, I believe we are. We haven’t come
across the second Crystal Triangle piece and I’m sure we didn’t accidentally walk by it
because I’ve been keeping a sharp look out. So yes, we must still be in the Land of
Intuition.”


        The Scarecrow spoke up and said, “We also haven’t come across any sign or
indication that we have yet entered the Land of Logic either. The evidence seems to
point to the fact that we still are in the Land of Intuition. And I must admit, it makes me
feel very uncomfortable.”


        The Tinman nodded sympathetically to the Scarecrow and said, “When I
suggested we take the solid, safe bridge, I was just stating the obvious and hadn’t given
it much thought. But as we were walking to the safe bridge, I started to get a sinking
feeling in my stomach. My insides tell me that’s not the right thing to do. I have a feeling
that we should cross over the Bridge Less Traveled. I think that will make all the
difference.” He wasn’t sure why he added the last point. It just seemed like the right
thing to say at the time.


        No one spoke for a minute or so as they let the Tinman’s words from his heart
sink into their heads.


        The Scarecrow was the first to speak. “Actually what you say, given the land we
are in, makes a lot of sense. It has a strange logic of its own to it although we can’t




                                            41
prove it one way or another.” He said this without committing himself to either course of
action. He was still thinking it through.


       “I’m big and heavy,” said the Lion, repositioning himself on the stone. “I’m not
sure that rickety bridge will hold me – or Hoz for that matter. It looks pretty risky.”


       Dorothy chimed in, “Based on our experience so far, we are up against a very
clever and evil force. If I were such a force, I would get a certain satisfaction out of
tricking people. As soon as the Tinman expressed his reservation, I felt he was right.
Maybe the obvious choice, isn’t (obvious) – and appearances are deceiving – meaning
the safe bridge isn’t, and the rickety bridge probably is, though it looks unsafe. But I
think we have to decide this as a team.”


       The Lion spoke up again, “I’m getting impatient. We’ve got to do something and
if two of us are convinced, then I can go along with your decision. But let’s get moving in
one direction or the other before it gets dark.”


       With that, the Scarecrow straightened his shoulders and said bravely, “Count me
in, let’s try the Bridge Less Traveled.”


       With the Tinman leading the way, the group headed back to the rickety bridge.
When they saw the bridge again, the courage of their conviction faltered a bit, but
sensing that, the Tinman boldly stepped onto the bridge and began to stride across it
fearlessly. “Follow me,” he called back over his shoulder. “We’ll be across in no time.”


       And a remarkable thing happened. As each of them stepped onto the bridge, it
grew stronger. The boards became firmer, the rope heavier and the sway of the bridge
decreased. It was as if the faith of the troupe lent strength to the Bridge. By the time the
Scarecrow, who was last, stepped onto the Bridge leading Hoz, the Rickety Bridge had
turned into a stable and firm span of support. And as they were crossing over the
troubled water, the hue and cry emanating from the river quieted down.




                                              42
       By the time they were completely across, and they were all standing firmly on the
bank, the river was flowing by soothingly, murmuring as rhythmically as any ordinary
river. It was even sparkling some in the golden afternoon sun.


       The Tinman was beaming. “I just felt like that was the right way to go and I’m
glad I trusted my instincts – it feels good. Thanks for supporting my hunch – it’s
wonderful to have such supportive friends.”


       They all congratulated him for listening to his inner voice and they walked
upstream along the bank to find out where the other bridge connected with the land.
Search as they might, they couldn’t find the second half of the “safe” bridge. It didn’t
span the river at all! “Keep listening to your heart,” the Scarecrow said to the Tinman.
They all nodded solemnly in agreement.


       Once back on the Yellow Brick Road, it was just a short time before they came
upon the second arm of the crystal triangle. Upon retrieving it, they noticed a pleasant
glade close by – a perfect place to camp for the night. Before falling asleep, they
discussed their adventure so far, concluding in the process, that they’d learned quite a
lot.




                                              43
                                        Chapter 7


                                    LAND OF LOGIC



       Early the next morning they woke to the sound of singing birds and the cheery
babble of a nearby brook. They washed in the stream, had some breakfast they’d
brought from OZ, and continued on their journey. Everyone was bright and optimistic
except for the Scarecrow.


       “I hope we can meet the challenge of the Land of Logic. I guess that’s a logical
thing to fear,” he mused quietly, more to himself than to anyone else in particular.


       They walked along the Yellow Brick Road for most of the morning when they
came upon a sign that read:


                         LAND OF LOGIC – STRAIGHT AHEAD


So they knew they were getting close.


       Sure enough, just a little way further they came upon a doorway that crossed
over the Yellow Brick Road. On the lintel above it were the words:


                            ENTRY TO THE LAND OF LOGIC


       Here, too, there was thick underbrush on either side of the doorway, so there
was only one option for passage open to them.


       Dorothy knocked and the door was opened by an odd looking fellow. He was of
average height. But it was his head, most particularly his face, that was strange. It was
flat. His nose lay sideways on his face and appeared to be mashed flat onto it. All of his
features were flat as a … well, pancake. They stared at him in astonishment because
no one had ever seen a completely flat-faced person before.




                                            44
         He watched them watch him and explained, “It comes from being a Doorman of
course. I’ve had lots of people closing the door in my face. Can you guess what my
name is?” he asked with a challenge in his voice. They looked at each other blankly.
“Welcome . . .” he prompted, helpfully.


         “Matt!” exclaimed the Scarecrow and it was clear the Doorman was more
pleased when people didn’t know his secrets than if you guessed right. Yet he was fair.


         “You’re correct,” he replied dryly. “What can I do for you?”


         “We’re trying to get to Munchkin Land,” said the Lion in an official tone, “and we
understand this is the best way to proceed.”


         “Well, yes and no,” responded Matt. “It’s the only way, but I wouldn’t call it the
best.”


         “What do you mean?” asked Dorothy, knowing that it never hurt to ask. Better
than being surprised at some crucial point down the Yellow Brick Road.


         “You’ll see,” said Matt with a twinkle in his eye that had more threat than
kindness in it.


         “I’ll tell Melinda that you are here – she’s been expecting you.”


         “Who is Melinda?” asked the Tinman remembering that Glinda mentioned this
land was ruled by a mysterious woman.


         “She is the Queen of the Land of Logic,” replied Matt. “She is the Deviser of
Tests and the Tester of the Travelers. She is a riddle to all who know her. No one who
has ever entered the Land of Logic and left, has ever had a bad thing to say about her.”
The odd-looking twinkle was back in Matt’s eyes and it was definitely malicious. It was
especially unsettling, given his flat face.




                                              45
       “How many has that been?” asked the Scarecrow. “How many have entered the
Land of Logic and left?” he continued seriously, for he truly wanted to know.


       “Good question,” said Matt. “You might do very well here.” With that, he spun on
his heels and left them standing at the door wondering what challenge lay ahead of
them. And they all knew that whatever it was, they had better be ready for it.


       When the door re-opened a few minutes later, they were greeted by one of the
most beautiful women any of them had ever seen.


       “Hello,” said Melinda melodiously. “I’m the Queen of the Land of Logic and I’m
so pleased to have you visit.”


       They were momentarily stunned. She appeared to be about 25 years old. She
had long gleaming black hair, beautiful green eyes, an unblemished peaches-and-cream
complexion and was, in a word, GORGEOUS. About five feet tall, she wore a dress of
simple yet elegant and sumptuous black material that complimented her hair beautifully.
Her only jewelry was a silver diadem set with a single multifaceted black jewel.


       “Come into my Fun House,” she beckoned with a smile, “but you’ll have to leave
your horse and dog here. Matt will take good care of them – until you return.”


       Dorothy noticed that Melinda’s smile never traveled from her mouth to her eyes.
“Very odd,” she thought.


       They followed Melinda into the “Fun House”. “Odd name for a palace,” thought
Dorothy, looking around. She led them down several corridors and into an auditorium.
There was a stage in front with four chairs placed behind a long table and a podium a
few feet to the left of it. Motioning for them to each take a seat, she walked over and
took her place at the podium.


       The theater seating rose steeply up and away from the stage, row by row, so that
it was surrounded on three sides. From the stage it looked like the seats went on
forever. A black velvet curtain closed off the back of the stage.



                                            46
         Once the four were seated, doors opened at the rear of the theater and the
strangest creatures began filing in, moving down and taking seats first in the front by the
stage. They kept coming and coming until all the seats in the theater were filled. Bright
spotlights were turned on the four and reflected blindingly off the Tinman’s metal body.
Dorothy and the Lion felt the heat at once. Dorothy squinted through the lights and tried
to make out the creatures in the farthest back row of seats, but she could not.


         “These are the Boosters,” said Melinda indicating the furry, round yellowish
creatures with orange eyes, mouths, hands and legs. They were only a foot or so tall
and were whispering animatedly to each other, obviously excited.


         “They will cheer you on or otherwise let you know how well you are doing. Right
Boosters?” she asked as she turned to the audience. They let out a surprisingly loud
“Yay! Yay! Yay!” in unison. Startled, the four on stage jumped at the noise.


         “Cheer us on?” questioned the Lion. “What for?”


         “Ah,” replied Melinda archly, her beautiful eyes flashing. “That question gets to
the heart of what my Land of Logic is all about. You see, you are going to be competing
for, what shall we say . . . prizes. Yes, prizes. We are going to have a contest and if you
do well in the contest, you will win prizes.”


         “What if we don’t do well?” asked the Scarecrow, suspiciously.


         “Then I win the prizes,” laughed Melinda and her high pitched laugh reminded
Dorothy of a similar one she’d heard years before. Glancing at the other contestants –
Lion, Scarecrow and Tinman, she saw that they too recognized that laugh. Dorothy
didn’t like the sound of this game – not at all. Things were really beginning to seem
sinister . . . .


         Melinda continued, “Here is how the contest works. You’re going to be playing
for three prizes. If you don’t win the prizes, then I do! Isn’t that fun? This is how you
can win the prizes. I’ll pose three riddles for you to solve, one at a time. If you solve the



                                                47
first riddle, you win the first prize. The answer to the second will give you the second
prize and if you answer the third riddle, you’ll win the grand prize. However, if you fail to
answer any of the riddles correctly within the time allowed, you lose all three prizes
immediately. Do you understand the rules?”


       “They don’t seem very fair to me,” commented the Tinman.


       “Who said anything about fair, Tinsel Tooth?” snapped Melinda, obviously
referring to his stainless steel teeth. At that, the auditorium erupted in deafening shouts
of “Yay! Yay! Yay!”


       The Tinman looked at Dorothy in dismay and she squeezed his hand
reassuringly.


       “How long will we have to find the answer to each riddle?” wisely asked the
Scarecrow, his brain already warming up to full speed.


       “Three minutes for the first, two minutes for the second and one minute for the
third, Straw Brain,” sneered Melinda. “But I wouldn’t worry about anything but the first
riddle right now – no one has ever figured out the answer, much less to two or three.
But, so as to give you a chance, ha, ha, the Boosters will let you know if you are ‘hot’ or
‘cold’. They will ‘boo’ if you ask poor questions or suggest bad solutions and they will
cheer you on if you are doing well. Won’t you Boosters?” she finished in a saccharine
tone to the crowd.


       “Yay! Yay! Yay!” screamed the Booster, bouncing up and down in their seats.
“Yay! Yay! Yay!”


       “Are you ready?” asked Melinda. “Oh, by the way, once I give you the riddle, I’ll
answer questions only with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Understand? Good. Ok, we’re playing for
prize number one which is behind the curtain. Revealing each prize one by one as we go
is so much more suspenseful, don’t you think? Now, are you ready?”




                                             48
         The four looked at each other and nodded toward Melinda, each wondering what
was going to happen. The crowd hushed expectantly and Melinda posed the first riddle.


         “A king had two sons and wanted to leave his entire kingdom to one of them so
as not to dilute its power. He couldn’t decide which son was more deserving so he
chose to decide the issue by having a horse race. But he wanted it to be different,
unusual. So he decreed that whichever son’s horse came in second, that son would
inherit the kingdom. What one thing did the King cleverly do to make sure the race was
run as fast as possible? You have three minutes to win the first prize or lose all three.
Go.” With that, she pressed a large red button on the podium in front of her and ticks of
a huge unseen clock echoed in the hushed auditorium.


         Behind them the curtain went up and there was Smokey pacing in a steel barred
cage, looking frightened and disoriented, surrounded by several guards with swords and
helmets. Smokey was the prize! Dorothy realized this and the horror of the moment
stole across her face. Savoring the sight, Melinda unleashed her high pitched laugh and
the clock went on ticking.


         “Let’s put our heads together,” said the Scarecrow. “Don’t worry, Dorothy, we’ll
win back Smokey,” he said with an assurance that calmed Dorothy a little.


         “Two-forty-five!” gleefully chirped Melinda – to which the Boosters yelled “Yay!
Yay! Yay!”


         They gathered around the Scarecrow who was impressively cool. “Now that I
have a brain, I’d like to make a suggestion.” They all nodded and waited. “If nobody
knows the answer right off, I suggest we ask ‘her highness’ questions to find out what’s
really important in this riddle. Do you follow me?” None of them did, really, but Dorothy
blurted, “go ahead Scarecrow, do your best.” It was obvious nobody knew the answer
right off.


         Scarecrow turned to Melinda and questioned, “Would it be helpful to know where
the King’s kingdom is?” Loud “Boos” from the Boosters told him the answer was “No”.
Melinda just smiled sweetly. It was obvious she loved the whole scene. And equally



                                            49
obvious that she wouldn’t be answering their questions – the Boosters would do it for
her.


        “Would it be helpful to know anything more about the king or the two sons,”
asked the Scarecrow. A chorus of “Boos” floated down.


        “Two minutes left,” cooed Melinda, still smiling.


        “Would it be helpful to know anything about the racetrack itself?” blurted out the
Tinman, catching on to the Scarecrow’s technique. He received a cascade of “Boos” for
his effort.


        The four were silent. No one could even think of a good question.


        “Did the race actually take place?” “Yay! Yay! Yay!” animatedly responded the
fuzzy yellow Boosters.


        “One minute left, my friends,” taunted Melinda derisively.


        Dorothy glanced behind her to the impassive guards and the steel cage. She
could see the sad pleading in Smokey’s eyes.


        “Clarification,” said the Scarecrow. He was agitated and nervous, his eyes
shifting back and forth – he was really thinking hard. “Did you say which ever son’s
horse came in second would win?” “Yay! Yay! Yay!” came raining down in waves.


        “Thirty seconds,” prompted Melinda.


        “Why would anyone want to ride his own horse so as to come in second?” asked
the Lion of his friends.


        “Hold it a second,” exclaimed the Scarecrow. “That’s it, Lion! Of course they
wouldn’t. That’s the trick!”




                                             50
        “Ten, nine, eight, seven . . .” counted Melinda worriedly.


        “They rode each others horse in the race!” screamed the Scarecrow. “That way,
if they won the race with their brother’s horse, their own would come in second! A very
clever king indeed.” Dorothy jumped from her seat and threw her arms around the
Scarecrow’s neck. “Oh thank you,” she said, “thank you!”


        The Boosters sat in stunned silence for a second, then all pandemonium broke
loose. No one had ever solved the riddle before! It was amazing! These newcomers
were really OK!


        Melinda looked confused and a little disoriented.            Looking at her, Dorothy
supposed it was the harsh stage lights, but Melinda looked older somehow, as though
she’d suddenly aged.      Dorothy could swear she could detect crow’s feet around
Melinda’s eyes and . . . were those lines on her forehead?


        Just then, the guards brought Smokey, cage and all, to Dorothy’s side and she
forgot about everything but him. Reaching through the bars, she petted Smokey very
hard.


        “So you think you’re pretty smart, do you, Scarecrow?” sneered Melinda. “Well,
that was an easy one to start with. The next one’s tougher, and you have only two
minutes to solve it. And don’t forget – you may have the dog now, but I get him back if
you miss either of the next two riddles.”


        Fear engulfed Dorothy as she wondered what this wicked woman might do to
Smokey.


        “Riddle number Two,” announced Melinda, emphasizing the “Two”.


        “A man arrives in a town at 2:00 PM on Friday. He stays 24 hours and thirty
minutes and when he leaves, he leaves on Friday. How can this be?”




                                             51
         Having given the riddle, Melinda gave an indication to raise the curtain and
reveal prize number two. It was Hoz being restrained by several ropes, each held by a
guard.


         “Oh no!” cried the Tinman. “Don’t worry, Hoz, we’ll get you out of this jam,” he
finished, sounding as confident as the quaver in his voice would let him.


         “Would it be helpful to know more about the town?” asked the Scarecrow,
bringing them all back to the moment. “Boos” came from the Boosters at once, but
Dorothy thought the didn’t sound as critical as they had earlier. Was it possible the
Boosters wanted the team to succeed? She wondered.


         “Would it be helpful to know what the man did in the town?” asked the Lion.
More “Boos”.


         “One minute,” quipped Melinda confidently. Yes, Dorothy noticed, there definitely
were lines on Melinda’s face now.


                                                                               h
         “Would it be helpful to know how the man traveled to the town?” asked t e
Scarecrow. The Boosters came alive, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” they shouted, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”


         Following this success, he quickly asked, “Did he walk?” The “Boos” that echoed
through the hall had an odd, almost hopeful ring.


         Dorothy glanced at Hoz for a second and said, “Did he come by horseback?”
“Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!” squealed the little yellow orange creatures, going nuts and
jumping up and down in their seats. “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, YES!”


         “Ten, nine, eight …” but before Melinda could go on, the Tinman interrupted with
“Friday is the name of the man’s horse. Friday’s a horse, not a day!”


         The theater was now a madhouse. Boosters were excitedly jumping about and
dancing in the aisles. Some even leaped onto the stage and danced even harder. It
was an incredible sight.



                                            52
       Melinda was clearly shocked.       And old.    Dorothy couldn’t believe her eyes.
Somehow the Queen aged, at an ever increasing rate, with each riddle that was solved.
Now she looked at least 60. It didn’t make sense, but this was the Land of Logic and
nothing, so far, had made any sense.


       Melinda recovered her composure, walked calmly to the front of the stage and
kicked the dancing Boosters off. She scowled at the crowd in general, settling them
back in their seats. She turned slowly and with an evil smile, addressed the four.


       “We’re on a roll now, aren’t we?” she inquired acidly. “Feeling pretty confident
too, no doubt. Well,” she snapped, “we might just say it’s all or nothing on this last
riddle. I’m not worried a bit, you know. My youth will come back when I collect my
prizes, which I surely will do. You have one minute to solve this last, impossibly difficult,
riddle. In fact, here’s a clue for you – the answer to the last riddle is also the prize so
forgive me for not showing it to you right now. Isn’t that charming?” she ended with a
cackle and a truly malevolent look on her face. Our friends shuddered spontaneously at
this, even the Lion.


       “Here it is. The first person makes an object. He sells it to a second person who
has no use for it. The second person gives the object to a third person who doesn’t
know he has it. What is the object? The time is on.” With her last words, Melinda
stabbed at the red button and the ticking began.


       “Is this a physical object that you can hold and touch?” said the Scarecrow. The
“Yes’s” were deafening. All the Boosters were wide-eyed and on the edge of their seats.


       “Would it be helpful to know the dimensions of the object?” he continued, getting
an idea of how to proceed. “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.”


       “Is it bigger than a bread box?!” “Yes, yes, yes!” roared the Boosters.


       “Is it bigger than Hoz here?” called out the Lion, who’d brought Hoz over to the
group after the second solution (much to Hoz’s relief). “Boo, Boo,” came the mild reply



                                             53
and now the foursome knew the object was bigger than a bread box but smaller than
Hoz.


       “Thirty seconds,” screeched Melinda, her voice cracking with age.


       The Tinman, who’d been listening and thinking at the same time, asked so
quickly that the words and responses all but overlapped:
       “Is it round?”                         Boo, boo.
       “Square?”                              Boo, boo.
       “Rectangular?”                         Yes, yes, yes, yes.
       “Is it longer than six feet?”          Boo, boo.
       “About six feet long?”                 Yes, yes, yes.
       “Is it more than two feet wide?”       Boo, boo.
       “About two feet wide?”                 Yes, yes, yes!


       In the flurry of questions and answers, a picture suddenly popped into Dorothy’s
mind. “Is it often made out of wood?” she shouted. “Yes, yes, yes!”


       “Ten, nine, eight, seven . . .” counted Melinda in a panic. She couldn’t count fast
enough!


       “It’s a coffin!” yelled Dorothy and the Scarecrow together, “a coffin.”


       The Boosters lost themselves in joyous dancing and singing.               They were
deliriously happy. And why not?! They’d been enslaved by Melinda for years and years
– and now they would finally be set free. Or at least, that’s what they hoped.


       As the Boosters celebrated, what happened to Melinda at the same time is hard
to describe – and not a bit pretty. Gruesome in fact, if the truth be told. Melinda aged so
rapidly that in mere seconds deepening wrinkles gave way to even more deeply folded
and sagging skin that seemed to be falling loosely from her body. With a high wail,
Melinda desperately tried to hold her face on with her hands until, incredibly, skin
separated from bone and her face fell through her hands! The rest of her skin followed
suit, slipping from her bones and vaporizing slowly as it hit the stage. Her skeleton



                                            54
stood just a fraction of a second before it, too, collapsed on the heap. What had once
been (beautiful) Melinda was now just a pile of stinking smoking bones on the stage. No
one went near it – not even Smokey, who was ordinarily as curious as most dogs and
attracted to bones. These were not ordinary bones.


         “Hey!” exclaimed Matt excitedly from the wings on stage left. “She fell flat on her
face! Did you see?! Did you see?!” Thoroughly pleased, Matt was dancing around
joyfully and babbling at anyone within earshot.


         The guards had, by then, raised the curtain revealing four coffins obviously
meant to be used immediately. The four weary contestants gasped. Clearly they had
not been expected to win.


         “Oh!” exclaimed Dorothy. “You all were just wonderful! How we solved those
riddles, I’ll never know. But I sure am glad I’m on the same team as you.” All agreed,
exchanging enthusiastic hugs all around – even Smokey and Hoz got their share!


         Dorothy turned to the Boosters, “And thank you for all your encouragement too.
Your cheering helped immensely.”


         One of the Boosters, their leader known as Yaki, stepped forward onto the stage.


         “For years,” he began, “we’ve worked as slaves for Melinda, doing whatever she
commanded. I don’t know how many innocent people we’ve witnessed lose their lives in
this theater. I know I speak truly for the rest of the Boosters when I say: Than you for a
job well done.” A series of cheers went up from the crowd. “And now,” Yaki continued
as it quieted, “we are honored to be your slaves forever.” With that, he stepped back
and bowed graciously.


         “Dorothy, if I may,” said the Scarecrow, coming forward and winking at her. She
winked back and nodded. “With the power vested in me as the current ruler of OZ, I
permanently and forever set you free to turn this Fun House into whatever you think is
best!”




                                             55
       Another chorus of cheers erupted from the Boosters! It was later reported that
the Boosters started a travel club in the Land of OZ and opened up a series of Bed and
Breakfast Inns all across the land. The club headquartered in the largest and most
elaborate of the Inns – the Fun House. Boosters became welcome wherever they went.
They were especially in great demand at sporting events.


       The foursome spent the night in the Fun House. They wondered why Melinda
had such luxurious guest rooms in her castle – clearly no one had ever occupied them.
But they were too exhausted to wonder for long. They each took a soothing hot bath –
well, maybe not the Scarecrow, who was instead freshly stuffed and re-fluffed, had a
deliciously healthful dinner prepared and served by cheerfully attentive Boosters while
the (no longer impassive) guards graciously served spiced cider. Freed to return to their
families, they too stayed on for the festive dinner before leaving.


       During dinner, the Boosters became very serious when they realized the four
were going to Munchkin City. Many of their fellow Boosters had been taken there long
before by Melinda – and not been heard from since. Dorothy assured them they’d
inquire after the missing Boosters if, and when, they got to Munchkin City.


       Once that concern was voiced, everyone’s good humor returned. One and all
chattered happily about the day’s events and the solving of the riddles. It was the
guards who knew that the last arm of the crystal triangle was imbedded in a tree trunk
about a half day’s travel beyond the Fun House, along the Yellow Brick Road. They
made sure the four knew exactly where to find it.


       Our friends slept soundly that night, in real beds.




                                             56
                                         Chapter 8


                                 DOROTHY’S HOUSE


       The troupe left the next morning right after sunrise. They had a bounce to their
step that came from successfully meeting challenge after challenge. Dorothy thought
back to when Glinda had told her that “friendships forged in adversity last forever” and
reflected on how true that was. She looked at the Tinman, Lion and Scarecrow in turn
and was grateful for their friendship and knew that she loved them deeply. Leaving OZ
this time, if she were able to, was going to be even more difficult than before.


       “It’s nice traveling with all of you,” she said simply and they all smiled back – she
could tell they understood. Scarecrow reached out, patted her on the shoulder, and
gave her a big grin. Dorothy guessed that he was especially able to feel the intensity of
her thoughts. She smiled back, secure in the realization they all shared a feeling that,
no matter how deep or inarticulate it felt, a few simple words and a gesture still got it
across. It didn’t matter what the words were, she meant them from her heart and that’s
what was communicated.


       Dorothy knew too, that by successfully meeting the challenges of the Lands of
Terror, Intuition and Logic, the four friends had been “forged in fire” so to speak. It was
as if a force as strong as steel cables connected them. She knew that somehow the
strength that had been developed thus far would be needed in Munchkin City.


       About mid-day they came upon the third arm of the crystal triangle. Lion reached
out with his right paw and withdrew the crystal from the tree trunk. He placed it in the
saddlebag with the other two pieces. Watching him, the Tinman spoke up, “Let’s take all
three sides out and lay them on the ground to see if they fit together.”


       So the Lion, Tinman and Scarecrow each grasped one of the three sides in their
right hands (or paw, in the Lion’s case), being careful not to touch it with their left.
Dorothy watched with rapt attention. As they lowered the rods to the earth, it was as if
there was a magnetic attraction. The crystals all but jumped from their grasp and with a




                                             57
“click” formed a triangle that glowed a beautiful emerald green. They laughed in surprise
and the Scarecrow joked, “I knew we’d figure out how to assemble it!”


          In a moment he continued more seriously, “Glinda said this was the key to
entering Munchkin City. We’ll have to figure out the poem that she gave us when we get
closer. If my memory serves me correctly, we still have a pretty good walk in front of
us.”


          They stowed the seemingly delicate, but quite strong and solid, triangle in a
saddlebag and set out. The Tinman led Hoz and Smokey stayed close to his good
friend, the Lion. At one point in the afternoon’s walk, the Scarecrow slowed down a bit
and looked wistfully into a cornfield. “Do you remember this spot, Dorothy?” he asked
softly.


          At first she didn’t, but then it came to her – “Oh, Scarecrow, this is where we first
met! It seems like it was a lifetime ago, and only yesterday, all at the same time.” She
gave him an enthusiastic hug. “You certainly have come a long way from hanging
around on a pole!”


          Midway through the next morning Dorothy noticed they were approaching what
looked like mountains in the distance. It reminded her of the first time she had visited
the Professor in Denver with the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop.


          “What’s that?” she asked.


          Tinman was the first one to recognize it. “I’ll bet that’s the wall that’s been built
up around Munchkin City by the E’Ghosts.” Right he was.


          As they approached the wall, they were able to appreciate its true magnitude. It
was amazing – high as the eye could see and impenetrable.                 It was made of a
substance none of them could identify. It was almost like an energy field, only solid. It
was brownish gold in color.




                                               58
         They searched for an opening but could find none whatsoever. The Yellow Brick
Road curled around it to the left, so they followed it, having come up with no other
alternative.   Dorothy was sad to think the Munchkins were trapped behind this
formidable barrier. She wondered how they were being treated or even if they were still
alive.


         A short while later they turned a corner and there, in front of them, was a house.
Dorothy gasped, “That’s my house! That’s the farmhouse from Kansas – the one I
originally came to OZ in! I can’t believe it!” She ran to the front porch, opened the door
and rushed in. Sure enough, it was either the very same house or an exact duplicate of
it. She felt strange going from room to room, reliving old memories. It was dusty but
very neat and tidy. Clearly great care had been taken to keep it in good condition both
inside and out.


         In the center of the living room was a large crystal ball on a table. Dorothy
immediately recognized it as having been the one owned by the Wicked Witch of the
West. She shivered at the remembered horror and then walked back out onto the porch.
The other three hadn’t entered the house. They stood by a sign in front of the house
that Dorothy hadn’t even noticed in her haste to go inside. She walked up beside them
and read out loud:


                        In Grateful Memory of our National Heroine
                                 - Dorothy Gale from Kansas –
                     Who Delivered us from the Wicked Witch of the East.
                      May Dorothy Always be Remembered and Loved by
                                    Munchkins Everywhere


         A tear slide down Dorothy’s cheek as she read the beautiful plaque.              It
    strengthened her resolve to help the Munchkins escape from the E’Ghosts.


         “A very fitting tribute, Dorothy,” said the Scarecrow and he spoke for the Lion and
    Tinman as well. He had the knack for saying just the right thing at the right time.
    They remained quiet a moment.




                                             59
       Then the Lion broke the silence with, “Let’s get out that poem Glinda gave us and
   see if we can figure anything out.”


       Dorothy retrieved the poem from one of Hoz’s saddlebags and read it out loud:


                                       Sides of the triangle
                                               One to a land
                                       Must be grasped
                                               With the Right hand
                                       Triangle in sphere
                                               Round and Round
                                       Will lift the house
                                               off the ground
                                       Settle Down, Settle Dee
                                               Little People
                                       Me, me, me.


       “There’s a crystal ball in the living room of the house. Do you think that might be
the sphere the poem mentions?” suggested Dorothy.


       “Is there a place to put the crystal triangle into the sphere?” asked the
Scarecrow.


       “Not that I noticed,” she replied, “but let’s go look.”


       “We’d better bring Hoz and Smokey with us,” added the Tinman. “I have a hunch
that the house is going to fly again and we don’t want to leave anyone behind.”


       So they all assembled (carefully) in the not-so-large living room around the
crystal ball. Dorothy remembered looking in that ball a long time ago, as a terrified kid
battling a Wicked Witch.




                                              60
       The Scarecrow had taken the triangle out of the saddlebag, held it in his left hand
and stared at the crystal ball. “I don’t see anywhere to insert it. Does anyone else?” No
one did.


       For want of anything better to do, he held the crystal triangle towards the ball, as
it moved nearer he felt a tugging on it and a low humming sound began emanating from
the ball. As he lowered the triangle closer to the ball, the humming grew louder. When
they touched, the triangle passed right through the crystal! Scarecrow let go, and it
gently settled into the center of the sphere so that it looked like this:




       The humming grew a little louder and the triangle began to glow, then spin
around within the confines of the sphere, setting up a vibration. It was a spellbinding
sight. Everyone could feel a power and force building in the room.


       Within 10 or 15 seconds the house shuddered slightly and they knew something
strange was happening. “I think we’re flying,” said the Lion.


       The Tinman went to a window and confirmed that hunch – they were rising
straight up from the ground!


       “Well I’ve flown this house before,” said Dorothy a little shakily, “and if Hoz and
Smokey aren’t worried, I don’t think we need to be either.” Indeed, neither Hoz nor
Smokey appeared concerned at all.


       So they made the best of the trip which lasted only a few minutes at most. They
went up very high – Dorothy felt the pressure changing, especially in her ears. They
seemed to float motionless for a second, and then there was a light bump. The house
had cleared the wall and landed. They’d arrived in Munchkin City.



                                              61
                                        Chapter 9


                             THE LAND OF THE E’GHOSTS


       Despite the years that had elapsed since Dorothy had started out on the Yellow
Brick Road, the Munchkins obviously remembered. The four emerged from the house to
cheers from the little people who had quickly assembled after the house touched the
ground. It was a moving display of happiness and heart felt pleasure and it touched
Dorothy. She dabbed at the tears in her eyes with a handkerchief. The Tinman, Lion
and Scarecrow looked on in astonishment. They knew, of course, that Dorothy was
esteemed by the Munchkin people, but they had no idea to what extent. The reception
was OZstounding!


       As the word of Dorothy’s return spread throughout Munchkin city, more and more
of its citizens were drawn to the memorable house. It was impossible for the four to
even leave the porch. Because of the pressing crowd, it would have been dangerous to
try anyway. After a while Dorothy’s arm became tired of waving, so she had to be
content with smiling and nodding her head in response to the greetings of the
assemblage.


       Dorothy kept looking around for any signs of the E’Ghosts but didn’t see anything
unusual. Finally, the crowd shifted slightly – opening just enough for what looked like
some sort of official committee of Munchkins to make it to the porch.             The lead
Munchkin, attired in a green and white suit, introduced himself as Beanno, the Mayor of
Munchkin City. He bowed very low and Dorothy curtseyed respectfully in return.


       “You’ve caused quite a stir my dear, you and your friends. And a warm welcome
I offer to you on behalf of all your friends in this fair city. We are thunderstruck by your
return.” Those in the crowd close enough to hear him roared in agreement. As his
words were passed on amongst the crowd, the cheering grew. It was deafening. Tears
came to Dorothy’s eyes again.




                                            62
       Smokey and Hoz glanced about nervously, not quite sure what to make of all this
commotion.    Lion and Tinman, respectively, continually patted them and murmured
reassuringly, until they were calmed down.


       “Of course the question of the day,” resumed the Mayor when the crowd had
quieted, “is how did you make it here to see us? We thought it was impossible to get
here from OZ because of what lies in between.”


       “It was a long and difficult journey, Mayor, and we’ll tell you all about it a little
later. First, I’d like to say that it’s wonderful to be back in Munchkin City and to be
greeted in such a warm and enthusiastic manner. Thank you everyone!”


       This caused another round of cheering from the Munchkins and more waving on
Dorothy’s part.


       As the crowd began settling down again and she was sure the Mayor could hear
her, Dorothy leaned close and said only for his ear – “Is everything all right? We’d heard
you were having trouble with the E’Ghosts. All of OZ fears for your safety. When they
heard a huge wall had entrapped you, they were terribly concerned. But everyone looks
fine and very good. I am much relieved (though puzzled).”


       “Oh my dear, things do get blown out of proportion don’t they?” chuckled the
Mayor. “We are the E’Ghosts! It’s a name we adopted right after Melinda saved and
protected us. It indicates our true importance – which she pointed out to us – much
better than the name ‘Munchkins’. And the wall, it has been built to keep others out, not
to entrap us. Glory be! We wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for that wall. Glory be!”


       “Melinda?” echoed Dorothy. “Would that be the Melinda from the Land of Logic?”


       “Why yes, me dear, one and the same. If it hadn’t been for her, we’d have
perished long ago. What a wonderful lady. But we’ll talk more of her later. First, we’ve
organized a ‘grand parade’. I know it seems hasty but we’ve hoped for years you’d
come back for a visit and talked often of just such a day. It’ll be more of a ‘tour’ really –




                                             63
we want all the citizens of Munchkin City to be able to see you and your friends close-up.
So, if you don’t mind, let’s proceed through our fair city and let everyone say hello.”


        The four and Smokey were escorted into two carriages drawn by six diminutive
horses. About half the size of Hoz, they were perfectly proportioned for Munchkins. Hoz
followed proudly behind the carriages, bringing up the rear of the procession. Along with
the Mayor and two aides, the group was transported all over Munchkin City to the delight
of the populace. People lined the streets and even hung from their upstairs windows to
get a better view. Others were on roof tops and high in trees. All cheered wildly, waving
hats, handkerchiefs and whatever, calling out their best wishes. Several had made
signs welcoming everyone, especially Dorothy, and hastily picked bouquets were thrust
into her hands. It was an amazing trip. Dorothy looked closely for any sign of fear or
unhappiness but sensed none. Everyone looked happy to see them.


        After having made the circuit, they arrived back at Dorothy’s house. Mayor
Beanno suggested that they freshen up a bit while the Munchkins finished planning the
evening’s festivities. First, the troupe was asked, would they meet with the ruling council
of Munchkin City and discuss their trip and general state of affairs? Then, there would
be a grand dinner feting all four and celebrating their return, would they mind? The four
quickly agreed to these activities and with much waving of “goodbye for now” re-entered
Dorothy’s house. They fell exhausted onto the couch and chairs in the living room.
They hadn’t had a chance to talk to one another during the tour; there had been so much
noise and activity.     Hoz and Smokey were much relieved at the quiet and settled
comfortably on the porch.


        “What an experience!” exclaimed Tinman. “Now I know what a hero’s welcome
feels like! I’m not sure I could take many more of those!” Everybody agreed he’d
captured their thoughts precisely.


        After a bit Dorothy asked “Did you hear the Mayor’s comments about the
E’Ghosts and Melinda?” Everyone nodded affirmatively. “Anybody have a clue as to
what he means?” No one answered. “Me either. I guess we’ll find out more tonight. I
think a little nap is in order.”




                                             64
        Late that afternoon, after a restful nap and a bit of washing, combing, brushing,
polishing and generally spiffing up, a Munchkin knocked on the front door and told them
a carriage would be by shortly to transport them to city hall. This trip was a little quieter
though the four still caused quite a stir.


        Upon entering the meeting room they were greeted by a round of applause.
They all bowed graciously to the Munchkins present. Introductions followed all around.
Everyone was introduced including Hoz and Smokey (back at the house) and the
stenographer taking notes in the meeting.


        Dorothy began the proceeding by asking the Mayor if he would explain how they
were named the E’Ghosts and how the great wall came into existence. He was more
than happy to comply. The room became quiet as he recounted the tale.


        “Some time ago, the citizens of Munchkin City noticed a heavy vapor-like fog was
settling in all around the city’s outskirts, obscuring all visibility. We were alarmed at this
because we’ve always been travelers at heart. For years we’d been constructing the
Yellow Brick Road so that all who wanted to could safely travel to their heart’s content.
Other citizens of OZ used and appreciated the road too, and it became a tradition of
sorts, to travel and build the Yellow Brick Road as we go.


        “Right as the fog began to gather and travel became more difficult, several
Munchkins left but didn’t return. This caused great concern. We like to travel, but we
also like to come back home. It appeared that safe travel was no longer possible.
Shortly thereafter, a beautiful young woman with special powers appeared. Melinda
turned out to be our salvation. She told us what was happening in the lands beyond
Munchkin City and offered to help and protect us.


        “Our city,” she explained, “was now surrounded by three lands – the Land of
Logic, which she ruled, the Land of Intuition and the Land of Terror-on-Every-Side. Hers
was interesting, entertaining and challenging, but the two were very dangerous areas
and made travel along the Yellow Brick Road impossible. She also expressed concern
that she didn’t know how much longer she would be able to protect her Land of Logic
from the evil forces of the others. She said that Munchkin City, encircled by the three



                                             65
lands, looked liked the center of a target. No matter which way they went, we would first
enter the Land of Logic, the Intuition and then Terror-on-Every-Side. Because of this
description, we grew fearful – feeling we were in danger of being strangled to death. All
travel ceased and we began discussing how we might protect ourselves.”


       Dorothy realized that, unable to travel and verify Melinda’s version of OZ, the
Munchkins believed her totally. The four knew differently – that the lands bordered each
other and were as irregularly shaped as lands usually are, but it was necessary to pass
through them all to get to the Emerald City.


       “It was Melinda,” the Mayor continued, “who offered the life-saving solution.
Noticing that our currency consisted of various sized coins made from the same yellow
ore used for the bricks in the Yellow Brick Road, Melinda suggested building a wall out
of the very same material. It is sturdy and nearly indestructible. She knew a method
whereby it could be done – and even offered workers so it might be done quickly –
Boosters from the Land of Logic! We were thrilled and relieved to hear of this solution,
even though it would cost much of our wealth. In the long run, it was a small price to pay
for comfort and security. We endorsed the idea quickly.”


       Here, the Mayor explained, there had been a delay because a Munchkin “Seer”
named Caesar, an elder who was considered to be as crazy as he was physic, became
the voice of dissent. Caesar mistrusted Melinda and warned the Munchkins that they
were imprisoning, not protecting, themselves. Munchkin tradition dictates that all be
heard before a final vote and this split the people and threw off a majority decision.


       In response, Melinda led a brave group of two dozen Munchkins into the murky
fog along the yellow brick road, through the Land of Logic, to the outskirts of the Land of
Intuition. There they encountered a frightening river of misery and depression that could
be crossed only by going over a rickety old bridge made of slabs of wood and rope.
Nobody even dared to step onto it.


       The troupe listened to this tale of fear and intimidation without interrupting.
Dorothy shuddered at how clever Melinda had been. To think the four had outwitted her




                                               66
was amazing. She’d let the Munchkins see and experience only the things that she
knew would make them dependent on her.


       When they returned through the Land of Logic on their way back, Melinda tried to
cheer them up by having “a little fun”. She escorted the group into an auditorium and up
onto the stage. The auditorium was filled with noisy yellow creatures – the Boosters.
Melinda then posed some riddles for the Munchkin travelers to solve while the Boosters
watched and hooted and howled. They had gotten flustered by the challenge and hadn’t
answered any of the riddles successfully. Though Melinda had meant well and done it
“in fun”, it had badly shaken their confidence. They realized that, left to their own talents
and abilities, Munchkins were unable to face the challenges posed by the Land of Logic
– much less confront the dangers of the Land of Intuition or the Land of Terror-on-Every-
Side. They were trapped!


       Even more convinced of the danger, the group returned to Munchkin City, shared
their knowledge, and the plans for the wall’s construction were quickly finalized by all.


       “How did you get the nickname E’Ghosts?” asked Dorothy after a short pause.


       “Once we returned to the city, Melinda called us all together and said that we
were a very important people. So significant, in fact, that building the wall, as we now
planned, was very wise. She admitted she had feared for our safety and was afraid we’d
be wiped out, (our sojourn into the Lands of Logic and Intuition confirmed that) – she
explained it would be such a great loss. We were at a pretty low ebb, but hearing her
talk as she did, we picked up the message gladly. We might be small but we are
weighty! We were important enough to protect – at whatever the personal cost – and we
could depend on Melinda t help us. But I digress, , ,”


       “The name actually came from a strange bird who’d been living with us for
sometime. He decided to leave once he saw the wall going up. He said he’d rather risk
flying in the ‘shroud cloud’ than stay with us behind the wall. When he left, his parting
words were that he’d ‘never seen such large “’Ghosts.’ So the name just stuck.”


       “Did he have a somewhat of a lisp?” asked the Scarecrow.



                                             67
        The Mayor hesitated a second, thinking, “Why yes,” he responded, “how did you
know that?”


        “Just a guess,” replied the Scarecrow, “just a lucky guess.”


        Before they could ask the Munchkins anymore questions or tell them of their own
adventures, trumpets blared out. It was the call to the banquet!


        They all agreed to meet again the next morning to resume the discussion.


        The festivities that night were something to be remembered and cherished. The
food was delicious with one Munchkin delicacy after another. After this sumptuous meal,
a celebration was held to honor Dorothy’s return. Munchkins were introduced that had
been present at Dorothy’s original “entry” into OZ. Each in turn told how Dorothy’s visit
had changed their lives. It was very moving. Luckily someone had remembered to bring
Tinman’s oil along for it was needed.


        The highlight of the celebration was the special presentation of a one-act play
depicting the events of 25 years ago, the finale of which was the act of Munchkin
liberation when Glinda declared them a free people. Cheers resounded in the hall at the
memory. Mayor Beanno explained that the play had been written by the Seer Caesar
and was performed every year on the anniversary of the event. The most sought after
role was, of course, “Dorothy Gale of Kansas”.


        Dorothy couldn’t help but think that here it was twenty five years later, and the
Munchkins were in a form of prison again. Their fear had led to the construction of the
wall that encircled and restrained them. But this was a happy night so she returned her
attention to the activities at hand.


        The Mayor gave a short wrap-up after the play to conclude the festivities. The
four were whisked home and fell into their beds exhausted and grateful. It had been an
emotionally evening – not to mention the food.




                                            68
          The next morning they were pleased to discover thoughtful Munchkins had left
baskets of fresh food and supplies to make their stay more comfortable.            Over a
delightful breakfast they discussed how to best present their “travelogue” and laid the
groundwork for their version of Melinda’s trickery. The Munchkins’ mental state was
very fragile so they wanted to be very careful as to how they broke the news. They
didn’t want to make the Munchkins look foolish, nor did they want to exaggerate their
own accomplishments. They decided that a straight forward, factual depiction of their
journey would be the best strategy. They knew that the most sensitive portion of their
story would be Melinda’s demise. They had no idea how the Munchkins would receive
the news. But, they reasoned, they couldn’t skirt the issue – honesty was the best
policy.


          A carriage came by for them shortly after they finished eating and it wasn’t long
before they were in the chambers again, meeting with the Munchkin City officials.


          After everyone exchanged greetings and expressed how much they’d enjoyed
the wonderful evening before and mentioning several of the highlights, the meeting was
turned over to the four. Dorothy began the presentation from the very beginning of the
adventure in Denver, to Glinda’s castle and ending as the reassembled team left the
Emerald City with the poem Glinda had given them.


          The Lion picked up the narrative and recounted their struggles in the Land of
Terror-on-Every-Side and finding the first side of the Triangle.


          The Tinman then explained the challenges in the Land of Intuition, their playful
romp over the swamp and their difficult decision to cross the troubled river by way of the
“Rickety Bridge Less Traveled.”


          When it was the Scarecrow’s turn to describe their adventures in the Land of
Logic, he prefaced his remarks by saying they might find parts of his story very painful or
even unbelievable.      This heightened the Munchkins’ awareness and many leaned
forward, not wanting to miss a word.




                                             69
         Scarecrow went into great detail when he described the riddles and the scene in
the auditorium.      Dorothy scanned the audience as he talked and saw flashes of
recognition on many of the faces present. They’d obviously been part of the Munchkin
excursion to the Lands of Logic and Intuition. By the nodding heads, Dorothy also
                                                         o
surmised the riddles had a familiar ring. When Scarecrow t ld them of the “prizes”
Melinda made them play for, there were audible gasps.


         When he described the final scene in the auditorium and Melinda’s demise, there
was a stunned silence. Munchkins stared at one another in disbelief. Could this be
true? For a short while, everyone was at a loss for words.


         The Mayor was the first person to find any. “Why don’t we recess for a while and
let everyone think about what we’ve heard.” Everyone was thankful for this suggestion.
Several of the Munchkins hurried toward the exits, anxious to spread the news.


         The Mayor pulled the four aside, “What you have related is both disturbing and
yet, oddly, gives me hope. Are you sure Melinda is dead?”


         “As sure as we can be,” replied Dorothy while the others nodded agreement.
“What Scarecrow didn’t say was how happy the Boosters were when they realized she
was gone.     Melinda had enslaved them for years.      They were much relieved, and
overjoyed, at being set free.”


         “I wonder if that’s what she had in mind for us?” murmured the Mayor softly, not
expecting a reply.


         When the meeting resumed, Dorothy brought the Munchkins up to date. She
explained how they uncovered the poem’s meaning and described the short flight of the
house.


         The Munchkins asked many questions about Melinda and the state of the three
lands which encircled the city. The four reassured them that it was safe again and that
the wall was no longer necessary. It was obvious that some of the little people had
grown very fond of the wall and the security it offered. The wealth it had drained had



                                            70
caused hardships because many noble projects and Munchkin support programs had
been cut back or dropped altogether. Still, they thought the safety and security that the
wall had given the residents had been well worth the cost.


       The Munchkins that had been the most fond of Melinda were taking the news the
hardest. They couldn’t believe Melinda would be an enslaver of the Boosters. It was
difficult for them to conceive of Melinda as anything but a saviour and protector.


       “Why didn’t the Boosters building the wall ever complain about her treatment of
them?” someone asked.


       The Lion skillfully handled this question by simply saying, “I don’t know. We’ll
have to ask them.” Everyone nodded.


       After all the questions had been asked, one of the Mayor’s assistants, Roseanne,
suggested that the four and several elders of the City Council visit Melinda’s house in
town that afternoon – maybe they could learn more. The house was situated behind a
fence, next to the wall on the north side of the city. Next to it was group home where the
worker Boosters lived. No one had ever actually seen how the wall was being built, or
hardly even talked to the Boosters.


       After a break and a light lunch, those making the trip piled into two carriages and
headed for Melinda’s. The mood in the city this time as they passed was much more
subdued. Many Munchkin citizens looked dazed, somewhat in shock. Several times
Dorothy thought she saw angry looks on some of the faces.


       When they arrived at Melinda’s house they saw a strange scene. Munchkins
looking sad and confused were standing listlessly outside the fence surrounding the
complex. Inside the fence scores of Boosters were dancing gaily and singing Booster
songs. It was an odd contrast.


       Boosters rushed to open the gate for the carriages. They joyously surrounded
the four adventurers, jumping up and down and saying “thank you” over and over. They
had heard the news from the Munchkins outside the fence.



                                            71
       When things calmed down a bit Mayor Beanno asked them if they had, indeed,
been enslaved by Melinda. It was true, they replied, and they’d been terrified to say
anything because of the threatened repercussions.


       Scarecrow then spoke up and said, “As ruler of OZ, I now officially set you free
as I did your brethren in the Land of Logic.” He then added, “How did you arrive in
Munchkin City – those of you who have come since the wall began to be built?” He
hoped they knew of a gateway somewhere on Melinda’s property.


       “We’ve all been here since day one,” replied one of the Boosters. “Melinda told
us there was no way we would ever get back to our families. Do you know of a way we
can go back now that she’s gone and we’re free?” he asked hopefully.


       “Not just yet,” answered the Tinman, “but we’re working on it.” Disappointment
registered on every Booster face.


       “Shall we go into the house, Mayor?” asked Dorothy.          He nodded and the
Munchkins, the four, and a few Boosters, headed for the darkly imposing three story,
almost gothic, structure nearby. The Boosters had never been allowed inside Melinda’s
house before.


       As they opened the huge creaky front door, Dorothy half expected to find Melinda
and hear her vicious laugh.     Silence greeted them, however, and the group began
touring from room to room and from floor to floor. It was dark and dusty but not much
out of the ordinary.


       It was Roseanne who discovered the well-disguised doorway that led to the cellar
of the house. It was obvious that Melinda hadn’t wanted anyone to find the entrance. “I
leaned against this bookcase to rest,” she said pointing, “and felt the whole thing shift.
Look at the way it swings around.” She pushed on one side of the bookcase and the
bookcase moved easily. It revealed a steep stairway that led deep into the dark cellar.




                                           72
        Lighting some lamps they found hanging at the top of the stairs, they proceeded
cautiously down. At the bottom there was a short hallway that led into a single huge
room dominated by a table with a model of Munchkin City – completely enclosed by the
wall.


        “Wow!” exclaimed the Munchkins in awe. From this bird’s eye view, the wall
looked ominous. If fact, when it was completed the wall would extend up into a clear
dome, making a structure that could be completely closed off. Such a dome couldn’t be
seen outside on the real wall. Everyone stared in amazement.


        “What’s this?” asked the Tinman, noticing what appeared to be a large pipe
extending up the outside wall, facing the Land of Logic.


        “It looks like . . . an aqueduct . . . you know, something that would transport
water,” reflected the Scarecrow, not really thinking about what he was saying.


        Everybody in the room shuddered involuntarily when the same thought crossed
their minds.


        “You don’t think Melinda would have drowned us all, do you?!” asked Roseanne
in a quavering voice.


        “I don’t think so, Roseanne,” replied Dorothy with a forced smile. “But she sure
would have had a powerful tool to get you to see things her way – if she’d ever needed
it.” Several others in the room agreed. “I’ve seen enough,” she added and turned
towards the stairs.


        Once back at Dorothy’s house the four reflected on what they had experienced
since arriving in Munchkin City. The Munchkins had been thrilled to see them at first, but
much of their enthusiasm had disappeared when Melinda’s fate became known.


        “They’re dependent on the sense of safety and security the wall gives them,”
observed the Lion. “I haven’t heard any comments about tearing it down or about
anyone resuming travel outside the city.”



                                            73
        “Nor do they seem pleased or excited that the Lands of Logic, Intuition and
Terror hold no more danger for them.            You’d think they’d be relieved,” said the
Scarecrow, “and at least curious about resuming travel.         Remember how the lands
brightened up after we crossed them and retrieved the triangle parts? Those lands
aren’t simple, but they’re conquerable.”


        “And the ‘shroud cloud’ is gone too,” added the Tinman. “I thought they’d be
happy and optimistic. It’s as if the shroud has settled in their minds instead.


        “True, my friends, true,” agreed Dorothy. “It must be terribly hard to change the
deeply held belief that Melinda was good and a protector. I think the Munchkin Council
is having a crisis of confidence because they feel they were so duped by Melinda. And
no wonder – she was very clever.”


        The four sat silently, each with their own thoughts.


        “You know,” reflected the Tinman, “all of the Munchkins sacrificed one way or
another so the wall could be built. It wasn’t easy and they did without things they
needed, believing it was their only protection against great evil. To have us come along
and say otherwise, even though it’s the truth, must be devastating. They must feel like
they’ve wasted their lives all this time, for nothing.”


        More silence followed, broken at last by the Tinman again.


        “We’ll think of something,” he said. “We’re a talented team. We’ve proven that.
We’ll think of something.”


        The optimistic statement picked up their spirits a bit and they turned to preparing
dinner, putting their worries aside for the time being. They were lighthearted through the
meal and all slept soundly that night.


        In the morning, Mayor Beanno and Roseanne joined them for breakfast. A city
                                 h
wide meeting had been called for t at evening after dinner. It would be held in the



                                               74
Munchkin Manor House, a meeting center with a large auditorium. It could hold all of the
residents of the city if they used standing room too, which they’d need on this occasion.


        The subject of the meeting was “What should we do –with Melinda gone and our
danger lessened”. Dorothy and the others knew that Munchkins were very ‘collective’
people.     They made important decisions as a group.          So tonight’s meeting would
probably prove to be very interesting.


        Scarecrow asked the Mayor, “What seems to be the general feeling of the
Munchkins?”


        Roseanne answered instead, “Most of the people I’ve talked to want to keep
things just as they are. They say they’d rather be safe than sorry. They miss traveling
dreadfully but know they can’t have everything. That’s what I’ve heard.”


        “I agree,” added Beanno. “Some of us argue for travel, adventure and freedom –
but most are opting for safety and security. It’s very frustrating.”


        “Can we help?” asked the Lion. “Is there anything we can do?”


        Beanno thought for a moment.         “We’ve put you on the agenda for tonight’s
meeting. Maybe you could say something that will help. I don’t know what else to
suggest.”


        The four looked at each other and nodded in unison. “We’ll think of something,”
said the Tinman confidently.


        “I hope so,” said the Mayor. “Let’s go, Roseanne, time to be on the road and
take care of details for tonight.”


        Left on their own, the four began thinking of ways they could make an impact. It
was frustrating work. Nothing was coming. They decided to break off their efforts for a
while to refresh their minds.




                                              75
         The Lion and Tinman took Hoz and Smokey for a walk through town to explore
the parks and see the sights again. Scarecrow and Dorothy decided to accept the
invitations to visit that they’d received from Munchkin families living nearby Dorothy’s
house.


         It struck both groups of them at how neat and resourceful the Munchkins were.
The parks were delightful and refreshing, beautifully planned and laid out. The houses
were spotless and filled with bright colors. They had invented several gadgets to make
their lives more comfortable. One was a small platform that worked on springs, allowing
the Munchkins to reach things well above their heads. By standing on the platform and
stepping on a button, the platform slowly rose, another push of the button stopped it at
the desired height, and a third push slowly lowered it. Every household had several of
these “rise-ups” as they were called, strategically placed.


         When Dorothy and the Scarecrow asked the families how they felt about the
meeting that night, they heard what Beanno and Roseanne had already heard.


         Later that afternoon, the four reconvened again in Dorothy’s living room to
continue their brainstorming. Still nothing came.


         Dorothy actually triggered the breakthrough by saying “I wish the Wizard were
here – he’d probably help us think of something.”


         “I’ve got it! exclaimed the Scarecrow. “I know what we can do.” And with that he
described his idea to the others.


         “Of course,” Dorothy said when he was finished. “It was so obvious, it took
someone as clever as you to recognize it.” The Tinman and Lion were positively gleeful.


         A carriage pulled up just after dinner and whisked them to the Munchkin Manor.
It was standing room only. There were Munchkins in every nook and cranny of the
building.




                                            76
        Mayor Beanno formally began the meeting by stating the purpose of the
gathering. He assured all that anybody who wanted to express an opinion would be
given that opportunity. Everyone knew that already, because it was Munchkin tradition,
but it was still nice to hear.


        One by one, Munchkins rose to speak. The vast majority favored keeping the
wall intact and keeping things the way they were. They lamented the loss of travel but
agreed that it was a necessary trade-off.         Fear of the unknown and of possible
unforeseen enemies permeated all their opinions. Those that spoke in favor of tearing
down the wall pointed out that the wealth it contained could be put to good use, as well
as the fact that traveling was the Munchkins natural tendency. It became obvious,
though, that the sentiment lay on the side of keeping “the wall”.


        Just when it appeared that everyone who wanted to had spoken, a leathery old
Munchkin suddenly appeared on the stage. No one had seen him enter – he was just
there. A ripple went through the crowd as whispers of “Caesar”, “Caesar”, passed from
one awed Munchkin to another. No one had seen him in years, but it was indeed, the
Munchkin Seer who’d argued against the construction of the wall in the first place. He
was stooped, and shuffled a bit when he walked, but his eyes flashed brilliantly.


        Gazing out over the teeming auditorium he waited for complete silence. It came
quickly. “We are prisoners of our fear,” he began. “We are ruled by dreadful anticipation
and we are destroying our birthright and ourselves.          Munchkins are adventurers,
travelers. It runs through our veins. Movement gives us vision. Vision gives us life.
Give up movement – give up life. Already we are thwarting the growth of our young. If
they grow up without a thirst for travel, we will soon be extinct. Maybe we already are. If
you want to be free, the handwriting is on the wall.”


        Caesar had spoken calmly, deliberately, with absolute certainty. He looked out
over the assemblage slowly. Then he turned and left the stage. Dorothy could hear the
heavy breathing of Munchkins close to her. No one spoke. No one moved. It was as if
she were looking at a painting. The stage was set perfectly.




                                             77
       Dorothy slowly rose and walked towards the center of the stage. She stood in
the exact spot vacated by Caesar. Quietly, but quite clearly, she spoke into the silence,
“My dear friends, you are a peaceful people beloved by many others. You have given of
yourselves to all who have traveled through your land and you have asked nothing in
return. Let us, Scarecrow, Tinman, Lion and me, return some of your kindness. Let us
speak from our hearts to yours and from our heads to yours . . .”


       “Twenty-five years ago,’ she continued, “the four of us were given a great gift. It
came in the form of knowledge about ourselves and was delivered by a wise man – the
Wizard of OZ. He pointed out to each of us, separately, that we had strengths that we
didn’t know we possessed. He did it with specific examples and a caring heart. He
transformed our lives. Listen to us as we speak. We believe that the Munchkin people
can accomplish anything you want to accomplish if you stick together and have faith in
one another. You may think you can’t survive in the lands outside your wall. We think
you can.”


       With that, Dorothy stepped back, yielding to the Scarecrow who’d risen to speak.
“Only great minds,” he began dramatically and paused, “only great minds could have
conceived and constructed a city like the one you live in. It is beautiful. You have wide
boulevards, beautiful parks with lush vegetation and wonderfully planned recreation
areas. You have an effective monetary system and ruling body, your inventions are
used in many lands. You’ve built beautiful buildings like this auditorium – not to mention
your well-built and tastefully decorated homes. What you have accomplished has
required superb organization and the best brain power available. Yet, despite all of
these accomplishments, you’re not sure if you can face the challenges in the Land of
Logic. We say you can.”


       As he talked, the Munchkins responded positively at the mention of their
achievements. Dorothy noticed pride creep into their eyes – just a little. It was as if they
had a feeling of impending hope.


       Tinman spoke next and reminded the Munchkins about the impact they had
made on the Land of OZ through the construction of the Yellow Brick Road. Following
their hearts, they’d let their spirits fill them with enthusiasm that inspired building of the



                                             78
Yellow Brick Road to ever farther locations. They were a people of music, poets and
seers – a truly magical kingdom and a people that could undoubtedly survive through the
Land of Intuition.


       Lion spoke, then, of Munchkin courage – how they pushed themselves to reach
farther and farther destinations with the Yellow Brick Road.      They faced continued
danger, the unknown, yet still they strove for ever widening adventure.           Once a
destination was set, nothing could keep them from it. This was courage, whether they
realized it or not. They may have thought they were “just traveling” – but it was far more
than that, far more. True courage was what they possessed – certainly enough to
conquer the Land of Terror-on-Every-Side.


       The Lion concluded by saying, “We four are committed to helping you in any way
we can, if you want it.” He stepped back and the four waited for a response – to see
what effect their words had on the crowd.


       Roseanne spoke first, stepping forward, “Thank you all for your kind words. It is
true we Munchkins have a lot to be proud of and thankful for. But I, for one, don’t think
we can possibly match your accomplishments. The four of you are a wonderful team full
of skill. I don’t know if we can match that.” Heads bobbed in agreement all over the hall.


       Dorothy moved up close to the edge of the stage. “My friends, we are flattered
by your comments. But you couldn’t be further from the truth. We are no more special
or talented than you. Every one of us, every single person in this hall, has talents and
special qualities. That’s what makes us the individuals we are – what enables us to
accomplish anything at all. That’s the only difference. And that’s only temporary.


       Dorothy paused, seeing she had their full attention, and continued, “This is what
we propose to do: tomorrow, send twenty of your most logical people to City Park to
learn the way of Logic from the Scarecrow. Send another twenty, this time your most
enthusiastic and intuitive, to the Tinman. He’ll help them deal with the Land of Intuition
and its challenges.   The Lion will work with a like number of your bravest about
conquering the Land of Terror-on-Every-Side. What do you think? Is it worth the try?”




                                            79
       She could see she’d piqued the Munchkins interest. They looked from one to
another. Dorothy saw what looked like agreement, and curiosity, on the faces of some
of those close to the stage. Beanno asked for a show of hands. It was a close vote.
They would give it a try!


       The next day the Munchkins sent their best – their most logical, intuitive and
brave. It was an amazing sight to see. The Scarecrow showed his group how to narrow
down a mystery to its key elements and concentrate on that. He gave them riddle after
riddle to solve. With each success they became more confident and experienced. By
the end of the day’s session, they were transformed. They were ready and eager to face
the challenges inherent in the Land of Logic.


       The Tinman explained to his group what had been encountered in the Land of
Intuition. But he did it in such a way as to describe to the others what the troupe had
faced, without giving them the solution. He let them use their own intuitive powers to
guide them to possible answers.       As a group they struggled just as the four had
struggled, but they were intuitive and talented. When the Tinman described Smokey
emerging from the swamp unharmed and spotless, they were all astonished. They
struggled for a while until one of them, a bright young lady named Andrea, blurted out
the solution.   They were ecstatic!    And, just like the troupe, with their confidence
reinforced, they selected the rickety “Bridge Less Traveled” for crossing the Troubled
Water. By the end of the day, they intuitively knew they were ready.


       The Lion took a somewhat different tactic with his group of brave Munchkins. He
started right off by challenging them to be brave enough to openly admit their deepest
fears. These indeed were brave Munchkins. They had to trust each other, and the Lion,
to even begin. The Lion started them out by describing his own worst fears (the ones
he’d encountered in the Land of Terror-on-Every-Side). The Munchkins followed his
example without hesitation. One by one they bared their souls and described their inner-
most fears. They discovered they supported one another through this process, which
helped immensely.


       When they were finished, the Lion described what the troupe had experienced in
the Land of Terror-on-Every-Side. But because each of the Munchkins had just faced,



                                           80
and openly admitted, their own worst fears, the Terror held less threat. They knew they
were ready for the challenge.


       All through the day Dorothy went from one group to the next supporting,
encouraging and listening. As the day wore on she became more and more optimistic.
These were the best and brightest of the Munchkins and they were outstanding! She
saw leadership abilities being demonstrated by virtually all of them at different times. By
the end of the day she was convinced that the Munchkin people would bounce back
from their dejection and lack of confidence and again assume their important role in the
Land of OZ.


       The four brought the three groups together at the end of the day and let them
describe the activities they’d experienced and growth they had achieved. As each group
described their day, the moods of the other two groups became more positive. By the
end of the session, all the Munchkins present were full of confidence and hope.


       Dorothy had a few things to say before they left for their homes. “Spread the
word of your faith. Let others know of your confidence and expertise. Tell them you are
ready to lead. Renew their hope and confidence in themselves.”


       As the Munchkins left, the four could feel their conviction and commitment. They
were going to face a skeptical and, in many cases, fearful citizenry. Yet they knew they
would succeed.


       Later that evening as the four talked over the day’s experience, they were
satisfied. They knew their hunch had been good. Their only fear lay in the fact that they
weren’t sure how anyone was going to be able to leave Munchkin City even if they
wanted to. The wall appeared to be impenetrable.


       They had agreed to meet back in City Park the next day with the “best and
brightest” and whatever allies they were able to convince overnight. When the four
arrived the next day, the park was packed! The strategy had worked! There were
hundreds of Munchkins ready to resume their traveling ways and face the three
dangerous and challenging lands.



                                            81
       Each of them commended the crowd on its courage and faith. There were loud
cheers throughout the meeting. Towards the end of the gathering, Dorothy stood up and
gave one last challenge to the populace.


       “It’s clear you’re ready and committed. Now I challenge you to find a way. How
do we begin our journey? Find out how to get through the wall, so we can begin on our
trip back to the Emerald City.” The four had agreed the night before that this was a
suitable challenge to give to the Munchkins. It could again demonstrate to the people
that they were fully capable of solving their own problems. If, that is, there was a
solution!


       The four returned to Dorothy’s house to wait. Their instincts told them they had
done the right thing but only time would tell. Their instincts also told them the Munchkins
needed to be on their own to do it. They whiled away the time chatting, swapping stories
and somehow ended up recapping their adventure to date. They began to realize as
they talked, that what they’d experienced was really important. They became fascinated
by the changes in themselves as well as their team. They ended up by each describing
their own personal growth since the trip’s outset. The team meant a great deal to each
of them, and they wanted the others to know that too. Emotions ran high.


       By the time they were finished, Dorothy realized it was going to be even tougher
to leave her friends this time – much tougher than it had been 25 years before, as a
teenager.


       They turned in that night with thoughts of gratitude and expectation.         They
wondered, too, how much longer they would be “guests” of the Munchkin people.


       The next day passed without event. Beanno came to update them and said
several Munchkin teams had been established to try and solve the problem of breaching
the wall. Some were inspecting the wall all around Munchkin City to see if any hidden
passages or even weaknesses in construction existed. Others checked reference books
or brain-stormed. So far, nothing useful had been uncovered.




                                            82
        One group had gone to see if the Boosters at Melinda’s house could shed some
light on the situation. They learned that the wall had been made by melting down the
yellow ore in steam generated by a hot spring located close to Melinda’s house. This
same steam was used to lift the melted ore up shafts that were part of, and extended to
the top of, the wall. There, workers would spread the still liquid ore on top of the
hardened wall and that’s how the wall was being built. It had grown rapidly, but almost
magically, day by day since the shafts weren’t visible to the Munchkins.            A solid
continuous wall was the result with no seams, no bricks, and no mortar – virtually no
weak spots. The process could be reversed, the Boosters thought, but it would take a
long time – no one was sure just how long. The Boosters joined up with the Munchkins
and the teams was already exploring the possibilities.


        The four reassured Beanno that they had every faith in him and the Munchkins to
find a solution. He appreciated their faith, Dorothy could tell, but he also had doubts.


        Curiously enough, though renewed travel was very attractive, there were some
Munchkins who were still fearful, or less convinced about losing the wall. But they
realized that whatever happened, someone still needed to keep Munchkin daily life and
systems functioning and that they were free to choose to live much the same as usual.
The wall wasn’t coming down overnight and not everyone had to change overnight –
there was some comfort in this. In the meantime, farms, gardens and shops needed
tending, animals and children cared for, food prepared, goods delivered – all the things
that keeps daily life running.


        What was different now is that part of the populace was involved with the new
project, and there were fewer left to do the old work. Dismay and grumbling soon turned
to pride and pleasure at discovering that they could handle more and even invent new
methods or streamline procedures as they became necessary. There was a heightened
awareness that what they did, too, mattered and was valuable. The level of confidence
                                                                h
shot up all over the city, and when they became more confident, t ey became less
fearful. Whatever happened, life would go on. If they wanted to resume traveling with
the others, well, they just might after all. . .




                                                   83
        It was the following day that things began to happen rapidly.        Beanno and
Roseanne arrived at the house in a very excited state.


        “We think we’re close to a breakthrough!” Roseanne crowed gleefully. “Why
don’t you come with us and see!” They were leading a large contingent of Munchkins.
Dorothy and the others recognized many of the Munchkins that had participated in the
park.


        Beanno explained, “I was having breakfast this morning when out of the blue I
remembered something Caesar said the other night: ‘if you want your freedom, the
handwriting is on the wall’ or something to that effect.        For some reason then I
remembered seeing strange designs or a form of writing on the cellar wall at Melinda’s
when we discovered the scale model. I rushed over to Caesar’s “Salad” (as he quaintly
calls his house, and is still standing by the way), and asked him about my hunch. He
just smiled and said, “Righto, Beanno!” and laughed. We’re on our way now to check it
out.”


        “I saw that strange writing too!” exclaimed the Scarecrow. “Why didn’t I think of
that?! Good work Beanno – good work!” he shouted as he pounded enthusiastically on
Beanno’s back.


        Dorothy saw the Scarecrow was more pleased that a Munchkin had made the
connection then he was disappointed that he himself hadn’t.         “What a fine friend,”
reflected Dorothy.


        Once in Melinda’s basement, the Munchkins quickly unraveled Melinda’s code. It
had something to do with “OZtrology”. It was some kind of arcane science Dorothy
wasn’t familiar with but the Munchkins clearly were. When the right combination of
pressure points was touched, one side of the wall – the one with all the handwriting on it,
slid away to reveal a huge tunnel.


        Beanno and Roseanne were hugging each other and jumping up and down.
“We’re free!” they shouted. “We’re free! We’re free! ” and indeed they were.




                                            84
       One brave Munchkin grabbed a lamp and strode into the tunnel, Munchkins and
Boosters quickly falling in behind him. The Boosters were just as anxious and excited to
find a way to freedom as the Munchkins! The explorers returned shortly – joyously
happy. It was a way out. The other side of the tunnel ended in a clump of bushes and
trees on the other side of the wall within feet of the Yellow Brick Road. They had a way
out they could use immediately while the long process of removing the entire wall could
continue. Everyone cheered.




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                                        Chapter 10


                         ONCE AGAIN TO THE EMERALD CITY


       Most of the citizens of Munchkin City rejoiced when they heard about the great
“breakthrough”.   Beanno’s status as their leader rose dramatically when his part in
solving the puzzle became known. Everyone was proud of him and proud that he was
their leader. Equally pleased, Dorothy reflected on how things just seem to have a way
of working out.


       It took the rest of the day to organize the expedition that was going to face the
three strange lands – and go on to the Emerald City – if all went well.


       On the morning of their departure, Dorothy was surprised to see many of the
Munchkins brought their children with them. “We are Munchkins and we are travelers,”
explained Roseanne, “and we have to conquer our fear and pass our heritage along to
our children. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them to experience a great
adventure. I’m told I went on my first journey when I was six months old. It is best that
we bring them.”


       The group that departed Munchkin City that morning included Boosters, the four,
Hoz, Smokey, and a large contingent of Munchkins. They traveled light but were well
prepared. Everyone had their own backpack, even the children. Some had walking
sticks, some brought sketch-books, and a cherished toy or two peeked out of the
smallest packs. Several horses carried additional supplies as well as a few tents in case
they were needed. The overwhelming preference, however, appeared to be for sleeping
under the stars in bed rolls.


       Dorothy was thrilled to see the multitude of volunteers and adventurers cheerfully
facing the trek. The group moved slowly but purposefully on their way. Oddly enough,
even the horses didn’t have much difficulty negotiating the stairs that led to the cellar.
The elder travelers remarked on how different this mode of exit was from the roadways
of their youth – but they certainly weren’t complaining!




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        Scarecrow sent several Boosters on ahead of the main group to alert those in the
Land of Logic that the entourage was on its way. He also sent some specific instructions
for Yaki, the Booster leader.


        When the caravan reached the Fun House, they were met by Matt the doorman.
Yaki stepped forward immediately and asked who would be tested in the Land of Logic.
The twenty who’d been “mystery trained” stepped forward and were led into the
auditorium that was already partially filled with Boosters. The rest of the entourage
followed, taking seats as they went, and the hall finished filling up with more Boosters.
Seats in the front row had been reserved for Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tinman and Lion who
anxiously waited for the challenge to begin.


        Yaki strode purposely to center stage, silently studied the twenty Munchkins
seated in a semi-circle facing front, then turned crisply and went to the podium – he was
playing the role of officious official to the hilt. Dorothy was pleased to see, however, that
the Munchkins on stage appeared unruffled, even calm.


        Yaki gave the first riddle, told them they had three minutes to solve it and
pressed the “time” button. Questions flew from the Munchkins as soon as the clock
began ticking – those contestants were ready! The questions were wonderful, insightful
and probing. The Booster cheering sections went nuts. The first riddle was solved in
well under two minutes. Yaki was openly amazed. The four in the first row were as
excited as the Boosters.


        Yaki challenged them with riddle after riddle after mystery after conundrum. The
Munchkins were undaunted – and solved everything in two minutes or less. One riddle
was solved in twelve seconds! The Boosters had never seen anything like it.


        The only prizes were cheers, praise, confidence in themselves, and pride in a job
well done – prizes phenomenally better than what the four had played for against
Melinda. The four and the Munchkins in the audience had expected the twenty to do
well – they hadn’t expected them to be awesome! Scarecrow was so proud he could
hardly stand still.




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       The evening ended in a grand celebration with refreshments, singing, dancing,
stories, jokes and much frivolity in general by everyone.


       The Land of Intuition was just as easily conquered. The group streamed across
the Rickety Bridge without hesitation behind the Intuitive twenty. Just as before, the
bridge became stronger and sturdier with each new ‘crosser’.


       It was at the swamp where things took a momentary turn for the awful. Smokey,
spotting his favorite playground, sprinted ahead towards the swamp and dove in –
searching for rabbits. Two youngsters, Sarah and Ben, chased after Smokey, intrigued
by his sudden excitement. The swamp ‘burped’ grotesquely as each child disappeared.
Everyone was stunned, though twenty of them had been prepared for the swamp; even
they were shocked and horrified by the reality of it. The parents were beside themselves
in grief and there was a general panic. Within minutes, though, the children came
bounding out of the swamp close behind Smokey, laughing and giggling as he
zigzagged after a hare that led him on a merry chase. Amazingly, they weren’t covered
with weird swamp goo, they didn’t stink horribly (though the swamp certainly did), and
suddenly everyone understood the meaning of “unless you become like these. . .”
It wasn’t just to become like animals, it was also to become like children.


       It was a merry trip across the swamp. The Munchkin horses got the biggest kick
out of it – they were just giddy with silliness. The four crossed as before – Dorothy and
the Tinman riding Hoz and the Lion carrying the Scarecrow.


       The caravan paused to regroup outside the Land of Terror-on-Every-Side. The
twenty bravest Munchkins had been preparing the group as best they could for what
they were about to experience. Now they distributed themselves amongst the crowd so
that they could each give maximum support. They thought about escorting smaller
groups through, one at a time, but decided against it. It was time for everyone to face
their fears – and act, despite them.


       They assigned two Munchkins to every horse and each child to an adult. And
then, sticking as close to one another as possible, the group plunged into the Land of
Terror-on-Every-Side.



                                            88
       It turned out to be much simpler than expected. They were so prepared, they
each met their fears and proceeded on like it was a Sunday walk in the park (well,
almost. . . ). The four noticed that, to them, their fears had receded even more than
before. Once you successfully pass through the veil of fears, they reasoned, it would
never again hold the same power over you.


       Once on the other side, the Munchkins were stunned at first. They had faced the
three strange lands and had conquered them! They looked at each other with gratitude
and pride. They became animated, gleeful; they thanked the four again and again for
their help. Dorothy noticed the Munchkins all looked taller – and realized they were,
because they now held themselves straight and tall with pride and confidence.


       The Boosters on the trip were similarly affected. They’d successfully met the
challenges along with the Munchkins. The four, and the specially trained teams of
Munchkins, shared their knowledge and expertise equally with everyone on the trip. The
point was to get through, period. All in all, it was a great success and a time for
thankfulness and rejoicing. And it was a time for all to be proud of their achievements.


       Dorothy was relieved to see snow begin to fall as they neared the Poppy Field.
Though she couldn’t see her, Dorothy knew Glinda was tracking their whereabouts and
would probably meet them in the Emerald City.


       It seemed that all of OZ turned out to greet them when they arrived at the
Emerald City.   Cheers met them on every side.        The four, Hoz and Smokey, the
Munchkins with their children and miniature horses, and the Boosters made quite a
colorful and picturesque parade, bowing and waving and chattering delightedly with each
other and everyone within earshot. The townsfolk threw flowers and waved banners,
decking Hoz with garlands around his handsome neck.            He pranced proudly and
changed colors prettily at such a welcome by the home town folk.


       The Lion spotted Alyce shortly after they entered the city and beckoned for her to
join them, making space so she could be next to “her” Tinman. They reached the main
square in front of the palace and found Glinda waiting on the steps to welcome them.



                                           89
She was overjoyed the four had returned intact and was especially pleased to see that
Boosters and Munchkins had accompanied them.


       Festive dinners were held all over the city that evening as local folk vied for the
honor of hosting out of town visitors – and then invited as many more neighbors and
friends as their houses would hold. In the palace, Glinda hosted a more formal, but no
less festive, dinner for the four, some Emerald City officials, Beanno, Roseanne, several
Boosters, and a representative from the “special team”. It was an exciting dinner. They
took turns describing for Glinda and the officials, the details of their adventures. Glinda
never interrupted or asked for anything to be repeated – but Dorothy could tell she heard
and retained everything. When they were finished, including reports from the special
teams on the return trip, Glinda shook her head in amazement. Addressing the four she
exclaimed, “You are wonder workers! What an incredible job you’ve done!” My dears,”
she continued more quietly, “you’ve virtually set the Land of OZ free again. You should
all feel very proud, because we are very proud of you. And very grateful.”


       Such heart felt praise from one as marvelous and admired as Glinda meant more
than any of them could possibly say. They sat there speechless, just beaming at one
another and basking in the glow of the moment. What they had done was wonderful;
they understood that now and could fully appreciate it and the difference it made for
them and for OZ. They savored this moment, knowing it was a priceless treasure they
would keep in their hearts forever.




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                                        Chapter 11


                                       HOME AGAIN


       The next morning it was time for Dorothy to depart. She hugged her friends one
by one and they each, in turn, thanked her for coming and bringing them back together
again as a team. There wasn’t a dry eye among them. Dorothy patted Hoz on the nose
and told him what a good horse he was.


       With the last goodbyes out of the way, Dorothy reached down and, with a little
effort, picked up Smokey. Closing her eyes, she thought wonderful warm thoughts of
the Professor, clicked her ruby slippers three times and said “There’s no place like
home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home. . .” and – POOF – she was
back in her own living room again. Smokey immediately jumped from her arms and ran
to where the Professor was napping on a stuffed chair and began licking him in the face.


       The Professor woke with a start, saw the broad smile spread across Dorothy’s
face, grinned back at her and said, “Happy Christmas Eve! And welcome back! You
must have some great stories to tell me – I’ll put on some tea and let’s talk. I want to
hear all about it – don’t leave out a thing!” And that’s exactly what they did.




                                         THE END




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