Over the Rainbow: Dorothy returns to a troubled Oz
By Tony Allison, September 28, 2009
Dorothy of Kansas longed to return to the faraway land of Oz, and finally seized her chance. With global warming now creating numerous tornados across the Midwest, Dorothy scoops up Toto and grabs a ride on a powerful Kansas twister, once again landing in a forest not far from the Emerald City.
Dusting herself off, Dorothy notices a run-down shack and to her delight discovers her old friends Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow. She learns times are hard in Oz these days. The average citizen is struggling to survive and deeply in debt, while a few elite Ozians are doing very well, and curry favor of the Great Wizard, who is careful to keep them happy.
The aging Lion wants to retire to the verdant plains outside the Emerald City, but his meager pension won’t allow it. “They keep telling me everything is great; that inflation is no problem. But I can’t afford to retire- and I’m the King of the Jungle!” he roared. Then the lion’s angry expression changes to one of fear. “I’m s-s-scared” he stammered.
The Scarecrow thinks the Great Wizard is behind these troubling times. “I may not have much of a brain, but I’m not stupid! We never see the Wizard any more, but I’ve been behind the Palace, in the restricted zone. All day long, carts are lining up and hauling away boxes of paper. Box after box, day and night!”
“What’s he up to?” asked Dorothy.
“Printing Ozollars- gazillions of ‘em!” said Scarecrow.
“It’s our currency” said the Tin Man, holding up a dented old oil can. “And now I can’t even afford the oil to keep me from rusting” he wailed.
Later that day, Dorothy ventures into the Emerald City and encounters a large, somber crowd gathered in front of the Wizard’s grand palace, waiting patiently for his monthly address. The Wizard does not appear, but out of the large loudspeakers on the palace walls, the familiar monotone voice of the Wizard of Oz begins to address the crowd. For some reason, he refers to himself as “The Chairman”.
“Economic activity appears to be leveling out in our fair land, and the prospects for a return to growth in the near term appear good. My “cash for broomsticks” program has brought new vigor to the economy.
We have to attack both the original shortfall and make sure we fund whatever new initiatives come from our political leadership ... It’s not adequate to be strictly revenue neutral because there’s much more to be done.
Have no doubt that inflation will be well-contained and growth is on the way. The Chairman has spoken!”
Many in the large crowd nod their heads in agreement, and shuffle off to work, unsure what this means, but looking forward to that evenings broadcast of Ozian Idol on OzTV.
Dorothy shakes her head in disbelief that the people of Oz will accept this double-talk so easily. She marches up to a policeman monitoring the crowd and demands to know why the people of Oz are barely able to make ends meet.
The policeman is taken aback at this impertinence. “You dare to question the Great Oz?” he booms. Dorothy is clearly confused, adding that it just doesn’t make sense that the Ozollar buys so little. “Be gone!” roars the policeman. “Or I’ll have you jailed for treason!” Dorothy quickly grabs Toto and moves on, while noticing a guard slip into hidden entrance on the side of the great palace.
The next day Dorothy convinces her friends that they must come with her once again to see the Wizard. They are clearly nervous about the idea, but see Dorothy as a last chance at bringing change to Oz. “The Wizard refuses to see us when we go to the palace” said the Lion. “Then we’ll just have to surprise him!” said Dorothy.
Toto leads the group to the hidden entrance that Dorothy had noticed the day before, and they quickly slip inside. Once inside, they pass hundreds of wheel-barrows neatly lined up along a great hallway.
After disarming a few sleepy guards, Dorothy, Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow slowly approach the chambers of the Great Oz. From behind the ornate entry door comes a menacing mechanical roar. Dorothy nervously opens the door and great plumes of steam escape into the hallway. Summoning her courage as she recalls her memorable first encounter with the Great Wizard, Dorothy marches across to the source of the noise and steam, hidden behind an exquisite velvet curtain (some things never change).
Pulling aside the curtain, Dorothy finds an older, greyer Wizard, sweating profusely as he attends to a massive printing press, churning out Ozollars at warp speed, which are quickly packed in boxes by his assistants and rolled out the back in a long line of emerald wheel-barrows.
“What’s happened to you?” asked a shocked Dorothy. “You’re no Great Wizard. You’re just an old man running a printing press!”
“Please, please go away! I must keep this running!” stammered the exhausted wizard. “Or else everything…is lost!”
“What are you talking about?” shouted the Scarecrow. “The people of Oz need you to be a real wizard, not some mad money printer! You’re destroying the Ozollar; you have to stop!”
“I can’t!” moaned the Wizard, glancing nervously out the shipping door. “They will come for me if I do!”
“Come for you?” roared the Lion, “You are the great and powerful Wizard of Oz!”
“No…I’m just a printer, and not a very good one at that,” sighed the Wizard.
“Show some courage man!” said the Lion. “Save the people of Oz. Get rid of this thing!”
“But how…it’s impossible…I must keep printing!”
Suddenly the Scarecrow pointed to his head. “By George, I’ve got it! Ozollars aren’t good for much, so just make ‘em worth more!”
“Worth more? That’s not possible!” said the Wizard.
The Scarecrow and Dorothy looked at each other and smiled. “The Yellow Brick Road!” they said together. “Those yellow bricks are very valuable!” said Dorothy. “Dig up the Yellow Brick Road and use it as backing for your Ozollars. You won’t have to print as many, and then each Ozollar would actually buy something!”
The Wizard looked very concerned. “But what about all the projects the politicians keep coming up with? They never stop! What about our battles with the wizards across the great mountains? What about the bankers? They tell me Oz will collapse without more Ozollars. Gazillions more!”
Dorothy looked skeptical. “And you believe that?”
The old Wizard shrugged in resignation. “Well…it seems the bankers are calling the shots these days…”
The Tin Man, walking stiffly but with determination, approached the wizard, his joints squeaking from rust. “Well, those days are over. This is the end of the rainbow!”
With that the Tin Man picked up his silver ax and smashed it into the printing press, sending up plumes of smoke, fire and singed Ozollars into the air. The massive printing press fell silent.
Shocked at first, the old wizard paused and heaved a sigh of relief. “That was extraordinarily brave! I could never have stopped on my own!”
The following morning, Dorothy, her trusted friends and the Great Wizard marched arm-in-arm out into the town square, filled to capacity with a cheering crowd.
“Thank you Dorothy for returning to Oz”, announced the rejuvenated Wizard. “As a small token of our friendship and gratitude, I present you the first brick from the Yellow Brick Road, as a symbol of a new and brighter day for the people of Oz!” The crowd roared as Dorothy thanked the Wizard and hugged her friends good-bye. Picking up Toto, Dorothy clicked her ruby slippers three times and disappeared in a flash of golden light.
Thus the grateful citizens of Oz began their long, but hopeful journey back to peace and prosperity. The question remains however; will Dorothy ever reach the end of the rainbow back in Kansas? After all, there’s no place like home.
Disclaimer: This article was written to entertain and offer a little levity in these dreary economic times. Any resemblance between this work of fiction and real life events is purely coincidental. Could reality ever be this bizarre? This article is void where prohibited.
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Gold futures finished higher, though off morning highs, on Monday, tracking a rally in stocks on Wall Street but with a volatile dollar keeping the precious metal in check.
Wishing you a good evening,
© 2009 Tony Allsion