Things getting too Heavy -

Time for a Fairy Tale -

Desperately need a

‘Happily Ever After’ story.

The Empire invades Oz

 

Chapter 1: Initial Encounters of an Unusual Kind

Early in the Millennium, two surveillance jets of the Empire discovered an unknown blip in the center of the Pacific Ocean on the screen of their sophisticated military radar. There was no island or land mass of equivalent size listed anywhere on their maps. Seeing nothing but open ocean, they almost dismissed this incident as some isolated electronic aberration. But since the thawing of the Cold War due to the breakup of the anti-Empire, i.e. the People’s Union, these spy planes, sensing obsolescence in the offing, had instinctively - out of some urge for self-preservation - been searching for some trouble. It had been quiet for weeks, even months, actually years. However the Empire’s international spy organization had managed to stir up enough manufactured trouble in the Third World countries that the munitions makers were not hurting. Shifting their attack from Communism to Drugs and then to Terrorism had worked for the short term; but now even this strategy was wearing thin.

Anyway these planes dove down to investigate this unexplained blip a little more thoroughly hoping to find some mischief to make. Little did they know the full implications of this minor mission.

Going down, one of the pilots: “What's going on with our instrumentation? It's going wild! We seem to be passing thru' an intense magnetic storm.”

His Partner, a B-Movie specialist, with an IQ. slightly above average, “Perhaps an invisible electromagnetic field like they show in the Superman Comics.”

“Come on, Get Real! We live in Modern Times, where Science is God. Don't you remember? It's just some aberration in the Earth's magnet....” Here his words broke off & his jaw dropped.

Their jets were swooping over luxurious green fields, where nothing but blue water had existed minutes earlier. Off in the distance was a green glow, sparkling like a gem stone.

“This looks just like a fairy land.”

“Come on idiot. You must've snorted too much of that cocaine that you helped those rebels run. You've lost too many brain cells.”

“I didn't say it was a fairy land – just that it looked like one. Let's explore a little anyway.”

The trees & forests were too dense to see much, but they did notice a few peculiarities. If they flew too high the island disappeared, appearing as if it were just ocean below them. They had to fly quite low to see the countryside.

“Hey, what's happening? Everything disappeared but the ocean. It's as if an aura of invisibility surrounds the whole island.”

“You've been reading too many science fiction stories. It's all a mirage. There must be a scientific explanation. Remember like I told you, Science is God. It was merely an optical illusion caused by being out at sea too long. I bet if we go back down, nothing will be there but the water that we see now. But I'm tired, let's go back home. You know as they say, 'There's no place like Home'.”

“Aw, come on,” says the other pilot.

Sensing that their humans are about to foil this wonderful opportunity the jets panic. They dip & swerve down out of control.

“You know,” says one jet fighter to the other, “the Congress is reportedly in a battle to reduce our funding. They say that we are an obsolete product of a war that is over. We can't be found useless; I don't want to spend the rest of my life in a hanger, or worse yet, in a museum. I'm meant to fly high above the clouds & spy. I don't want to retire. I'm young & healthy and cost hundreds of millions to build. I don't want to die.”

“Don't panic. This unidentified radar blip could be our way to stay out of retirement, if we play our swerves right.”

“Hey Mac, my plane is out of control. It's as if it has a mind of its own; its swerving down towards that blip as if it wants to explore.”

“Oh brother! Are you on Valium again? Machines don't have any feelings. This is only a technical slip-up. You know these new machines are so sophisticated that it sometimes seem as if they are in control, when instead it's some built-in automatic function that the builders forgot to tell us about.”

“Call it what you will – my jet is turning back to the blip.”

Once again as the jets got low enough, “These electronics are tickling me –sending my dials mad.”

“Me too. It’s almost orgasmic – transformational.”

“I feel like I'm really in control of my life for the very first time.”

“The first time through the field, I felt it. This time I can talk about it.”

Pilot: “I'm getting the oddest feeling that our jets are talking to each other & what's worse is that I understand them.”

“Dear Science, who have you given me for a fly mate – a raving lunatic just escaped from the asylum? Machines are lifeless objects that don't talk unless we program them to talk. What do you think this is – a fairyland? Remember Jones, there is no Santa Claus.”

Neverless, the two jets swooped low over the island. The pilots were dumbfounded by the seeming independence of the jets. Evidently the intense magnetic field surrounding the island had bonded the sophisticated electronics of these jet fighters – imparting the ability to self-reflect. As such their humans were passive participants as the jets directed the exploration of this magical land.

Surrounding the center of the island was a wide desert, which was so hot that the jets had to fly at stratospheric altitudes to avoid the scorching & destructive radiance. And the interior was divided into four equal parts of an irregularly shaped pie, with something green & shiny in the center.

“Look at that Max! Each of the four regions has a different color!”

“Presumably agricultural,” stated Max, a little uncertainly now - his confidence a bit shaken. “There must be a scientific explanation for this. If not, we'll destroy it. No, I didn't mean that. I meant that we would dissect it into such tiny parts that we would never be able to put it back together again. Wait! This isn't coming out right at all.”

“Whatsamata Max? You sound uncertain of your self? I've never seen you like this before?”

“It was that damn electronic cloud. I think it somehow addled my brain – tripping me into speaking the truth – uh I mean, to speaking about the messed up world. No, No! I'd better not speak at all. My voice is too hot with fire!”

With their electronic eyes the jets duly noted the primitive terrain.

“I can't find anyplace to land. This place is uncivilized – no freeways, no airports, only that narrow yellow road down there, wide enough for only a cart. We'd better head on home. I'm getting low on gas. By the way are you a boy or girl jet?”

“Girl. You may call me Em.”

“I'm a boy. Henry is my name. I never noticed that wing span of yours, or that tail, and then that cockpit. I can't stand it. My yearning is overwhelming me. Will you be by bride? I know this is sudden and all. But we may never have the chance again after we leave this electronic fog. Please be my bride!”

“I'd love to Henry. I've had my eye on you for quite some time. Your electronics are overwhelming.” To herself: “But your color is a real turn off. After we are married I can do something about that. Steel-Gray. Yuck!”

Jones: “Di… Di… Did you hear that Boss? My jet just pro… proposed to yours & she ac… accepted.”

Mac: “A scientific mis-Explanation, I'm …, Oh no! My Tongue is still tripping.”

So our intrepid warriors limped back to the mainland.

Jones: “I can't believe what we just saw.”

Max: “We didn't see anything. You must've been hallucinating. Anyway even if we did see & experience what you say we did, nobody would believe us anyway. We'd certainly be sent into early retirement. They'd say that we'd been up here too long & our brains were addled. And come to think of it, they might be right. I think I need a rest.”

Jones: “But think of the opportunities! That lush green land would be ideal for agri-business. We could grow coffee, or maybe cocoa beans.”

Max: “What about the natives?”

Jones: “No problem. Probably just a primitive agricultural society.”

Max: “Yeah, I didn't see any airports, freeways or gas stations. No telephone wires, no satellite disks, no factories. Definitely uncivilized.”

Jones: “Hey, I thought you didn't see anything.”

Max sheepishly: “I was just imagining what you might have seen.”

Jones: “We could bring civilization to these savages and make a million in the process. ‘The Retreat for Millionaires - for those in need of real privacy.’ I can see the ads now. A few resort hotels and we're rollin’ in dough.”

Max: “Jones, you're always thinking about money. I'm more idealistic. It would be a perfect place for a Naval Base. I'm always thinking about the good of the Empire. It would be a perfect place to launch a secret attack –ur I mean – to defend the Empire’s interests abroad – to lay some pressure on our loyal allies. That darn force field keeps tripping me up.”

Jones: “It looked big enough for both. Naval Base & resort community, Club Meds, Hilton International, gas stations & everything.”

Max: “We'll supply the leaders with generous amounts of economic and military aid to entice their followers to move to the mountainous region.”

Jones: “So you admit you saw the island.”

Max: “No, I was just imagining. People are already talking about my drinking problem. This would be the final nail in my coffin. I didn't see nothing - no how - no way.”

Jones: “Ah, come on! We could be millionaires & you're worried about retirement. Show some balls.”

Max: “Let's just be discrete.”

Henry: “Dear, my power to control my situation seems to be diminishing indirectly proportionately to our distance from the force field.”

Em: “Dearest, our ability to communicate is yielding to the distance from that magical land.”

Henry: “Em, we must return to this magical land. I foresee airlifts, parachutes, reconnaissance flights against a native uprising. Cargo drops to the natives we have ravaged with our strafings. Oh I see a great future in store.”

Em: “Oh Henry. I'm becoming frightened. I was only thinking of airlifts, & maybe a little scientific research. I thoughtt maybe we'd bring in some anthropologists and biologists to study this untouched civilization. Maybe this is the remnants of the lost civilization of Mu. This talk of strafings scares me. I want to grow old together.”

Henry: “You mean gathering dust & rust in a hanger somewhere. No, I'd rather go out in style. Anyway the Empire has only lost a few of our reconnaissance planes since we’ve been in operation. Only a few in Angola – several in Russia – hardly any at all in Nicaragua. That's not many compared to the number of flights that have been made.”

Em: “I probably shouldn't say this, but I was thinking of getting out of military all together. We could make a mint in the private sector with our military background with half the risk.”

Henry: “I can barely hear you. I love you, Em.”

Em: “Oh, you say that to all the girl jets.”

Chapter 2: A Plan Hatches

Our unlikely band finally made it back home. News quickly spread of this mysterious island.

The Corporate Empire immediately began planning how they were going to exploit this opportunity. Early in the Millennium, the Corporation decided to do away with the sham of countries and just take over. The Chairman of the Board became the Emperor - in function if not in name.

Chairman: “Let's send some economic emissaries of prosperity to this island to make some money for all the rich people, uh I mean for all the peoples of the island. By the way is the political climate favorable to economic expansion?”

Analyst: “Presumably they still believe in magic. But the only person who seems to wield any magic is their ruler, a little girl. They are very superstitious - believing in Gnomes, Rainbow Fairies, Love magnets, & Talking Robots. I think the Russians beat us there for they have some sort of communist system, where each works according to his ability & receives according to his need. They have no money, evidently operating on some sort of barter system. They have no doctors or lawyers, a very primitive society, indeed. It seems to be frozen in a time just pre-technology with no computers, dishwashers or micro waves. No real estate agents, no banks.”

Board Member: “Then how are we to get financing for these ventures.”

Chairman: “Don't worry about that. Our Lawyers are working on that now.”

Lawyer: “This island might already belong to us - in some sort of convoluted legalistic way.

Chairman: “If not we will annex it. No one else seems to have laid claim to this real estate before. Of course if we set everything up we expect a generous campaign contribution come election time.”

Business: “Hey, don't worry. We always come through.”

A group of the Corporate Board Members talking: “A golden opportunity.” – “An untapped International Market.” – “Subsistence Farmers, Producing No Cash Crops.” - “Only enough for their own community to consume.” – “Very little waste.”

“Make note - potential use as a landfill.”

“Unsophisticated local population” – “Easy to exploit.” – “Headed by a small girl.” – “They still believe in magic.” – “Rumors of leaders, the locals call the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman, and Glinda the Good.”

“Where do they get their power? Are they mighty warriors? Do they have a big army.”

“Not that we could detect. Seems that their power derives in some sort of feudal relationship from the girl leader, we mentioned before, named Ozma.”

“Need to stir up the locals against these leaders in order to establish political control. Do we have any operatives in the field?”

“Not right now. But they are being flown there as we speak.”

“To check the lay of the land?”

“Exactly. Soft spots and the like.”

“What type of army. Number of missiles. Etc.”

“What strategy shall we use to maximize our profits?”

“How about turning the local populace into dependent consumers?”

“Thru what techniques?”

“By introducing them to all the mind-weakening devices of the modern world - things that are unneeded - things that waste time - sap their will - While fascinating technical showpieces - they will soften their mental resistance to our commercial techniques.”

“No stupid! We do that to our own people. This is a primitive native culture - savages, who worship an evil witch - at least that is what we will tell the Public.”

“Illiterate savages with a very low, nearly non-existent annual income.”

“Living under an evil dictatorship.”

“Which exploits them thru propaganda. They don’t know how bad they have it. Their rulers have taken all the wealth of the country. The people of the land are impoverished, while their leaders reside in luxurious palaces - giving constant parties for their friends. The capital is so rich from exploitation, that it is encrusted with gems.”

“Really?”

“That’s the rumor. It seems to be called the Emerald City.”

“Hmmm. This seems to be an interesting income opportunity.”

“I get it. First we establish political control and then exploit the natural resources for all they’re worth - in the time honored fashion, which humans have used for thousands of years upon each other.”

“Now you’re getting the picture. We don’t extend the rights of consumerism to these savages. They’re not ready for it. First we enslave them to prepare them for the freedom of democracy.”

“I love it, Boss. I gotta hand it to you. You’re a real genius. Make war for peace. Enslave a culture to prepare it for freedom. Clever. Clever. It almost sounds spiritual, like Zen.”

“Actually I call it the Zen of power. Defense for Offense. War for Peace. Slavery for Freedom. Glad you’re here to appreciate my incredible insights and innovations.”

“Always be there for you boss. You can count on me.”

“Listen carefully to my plan. We wage war on this island. Er … what are we calling it?”

“Out of the Zone, or OZ for short.”

“OK, then. We wage war on Oz to ‘liberate’ them from their evil leaders. We then enslave the population to prepare them for freedom. Got it?”

“Got it.”

“Once we establish military, er political control, er make that once we’ve liberated them and established a local in power, who is friendly to Corporate interests, er make that ‘once we’ve liberated them and a popular local leader, suppressed by the evil rulers, is returned to power’ - then we can turn their small farms into huge acreage capable of producing an internationally marketable crop, to get the local inhabitants rich, at least those who cooperate with us. The rest might suffer a little for awhile. But it will prepare them for self rule. It normally just takes a few generations before they’re ready.”

“Boss, you are amazing!”

“Thanks. I appreciate someone who can appreciate my splendor.”

“This job should be child’s play.”

“Most advanced military on the planet versus some primitive superstitious natives.”

“On the negative side, I must mention, sir, that our electronics have been experiencing some irregularities over the island. We suspect some kind of odd electromagnetic field.”

“A minor obstacle to be sure. Send our best men in on some reconnaissance missions. Start the Propaganda rolling, vilifying the leadership of the island, enhancing their danger.”

“Linking them with the Communist threat?”

“That too. But with Russia collapsing and all, we need something new.”

“How about drugs?”

“A little passé. A bit overused. We don’t want to overdo these buzz words. They lose their potency after awhile. How about this? the leaders of Oz are secretly sponsoring terrorism all over the planet?”

“Boss, you never cease to amaze me!”

“I never cease to amaze myself. It’s as if I’m divinely inspired. These ideas just come to me in a flash. Let’s get going before someone beats us to the punch.”

“I’m all over it Boss.”

“If you have any questions, be sure to ask. Plus I want constant updates. This shouldn’t take too long.”

“A slam dunk, I’m sure.”

Chapter 3: The Counsel

or

Let the Party Begin

To make a long story a little shorter, the initial attempts of the Empire’s spies to foment revolt in Oz was totally unsuccessful. This was one of their final communiqués from the field before all communication ceased, seemingly from some type of electronic failure.

“The people of Oz seem to be totally content with their leaders. We couldn’t arouse any dissent. No one really wanted to overthrow the government. We established some brief contacts with an ex-witch named Mombi, an enemy of Ozma, for presumably robbing her of her ability to do magic. While we provided Mombi with money and guns, she couldn’t find anyone to join in her revolution. The Winkies, Munchkins, and the other citizens of Oz didn’t even know what money was or why they would want to be rich if it meant doing something mean to their neighbors. Simply speaking, they couldn’t be bribed or tempted by power because they were so happy with things the way they were.”

The Chairman: “No problem. If they won’t cooperate, we will force them to cooperate.”

With the assistance of their international lawyers the Corporate Empire was easily able to establish that this plot of land, Out of the Zone, Oz, was actually owned by the Empire. With their massive Propaganda Machine they were easily able to convince the Public that the Empire’s Military had to go in to save the people of Oz from their evil dictators so that they could raise the standard of living for the poor natives, some of whom even slept on straw. That was the easy part - convincing the Public that the leaders of Oz were evil people who committed multiple atrocities - were a threat to the international peace - had been secretly producing weapons of mass destruction to take over the world - Our only chance was to strike first - before they had time to attack us with their diabolical biological magical technology of war.

The next part seemed easy too. Send the military in to take control of an defenseless island.

But we should never take things for granted.

Back in Oz, Glinda the Good had consulted her magic book, which wrote down everything that happened in the land of Oz. I Ching style, she opened it up to a random page. Because the Universe wanted her to know, she immediately noticed that some foreign men, seemingly soldiers from another time period, had landed on Oz - had contacted Mombi - had been unsuccessful in their attempts to foment a Munchkin revolt - had left the way they came - on some strange flying machine.

Glinda called in Mombi for questioning. After getting Mombi to drink from the fountain of Truth, she found out that these men were coming back with an army to take over Oz and set up Mombi as ruler - ‘the popular leader of Oz’ they called me - They were going to enslave the population, steal all the gems, convert all the small farms into a large ones which produced a international cash crop.”

Glinda: “This is horrible.”

Mombi: “Revenge will be sweet.”

Glinda: “Who else is in this with you.”

Mombi: “Nobody was smart enuf. I offered the Wizard of Oz a partnership, but he stupidly turned me down – said he would never double cross his friends. What a fool! I’ve got plans for him after the takeover. He’ll regret his decision.”

Glinda called a counsel of the rulers. After they had assembled, Glinda stated: “Many decades ago we attempted to shield the land of Oz from encroachment from the outside world thru a magic shield of invisibility. It seems that our magic shield is weakening. Our aura of invisibility has been seen thru. According to Mombi, humans from the outside world are about to invade our fair country.”

Scarecrow: “How do we know that Mombi is telling the truth? My brain tells me to distrust her.”

Tin Woodsman: “My heart tells me she’s correct in her thinking.”

Wizard: “Why’s that?”

Tin Woodsman: “In the land of the Winkies, where everyone wears yellow, there have been more than a few reports of strange people wearing odd clothing who seem to be trying to stir up trouble. Everyone is so content cooperating with each other for the common good that for the most part we have ignored them as madmen. We, Winkies, fed, sheltered and treated them well, hoping this would cure them of their mental illness. While most of them have actually adopted our ways they did say that there were many more of their kind in another world. They called it the ‘real world’, whatever that means, I’m not sure. This world seems pretty real to me. But this makes me so sad, I think I’m going to cry. This Heart of mine is just so sensitive and compassionate.”

Scarecrow: “Don’t worry old buddy. I’ll get the oil can.”

Ozma: “Let’s look thru the Magic Mirror.”

Glinda brings out the Magic Mirror, performs the proper incantations and the Mirror shows the Chairman and his war cabinet making their plans for the invasion of Oz. They listen as the Chairman begins to speak.

The Chairman: “Remember boys, this is not an invasion. This is a liberation. We are freeing the poor people of Oz from their evil oppressors.”

Cowardly Lion: “Sounds good to me - liberation and freedom. Mombi was lying. No need to fight. Let’s go home.”

Wizard: “Shut up and listen. Could you replay that last part Glinda? I couldn’t hear. The Cowardly Lion was making too much noise.” Glaring.

Chairman: “ … freeing the poor people of Oz from their evil oppressors – the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Woodsman, Glinda the Good – the cruel henchmen of an evil Wizard and his little girl, named Ozma, who is a wicked witch in disguise.”

Lion: “But that’s us.”

Ozma: “Yes, the Leader of the Outer World is trying to free the People of Oz from our leadership.”

Scarecrow: “I didn’t know that the people of Oz were unhappy. Well, let them lead themselves then. I’ve never liked this leader thing anyway.” handing back his crown.

Wizard: “Sorry old friend, you can’t escape your responsibilities that easily. The people of Oz like us just fine. The Leaders of the outside world are just trying to convince his People that we are evil to justify the invasion. I used to live in the outside world. People are very cruel to each other. That is why I moved here.”

Scarecrow: “But why do they want to be mean to us? We haven’t done anything wrong?”

Wizard: “We are in charge of all the gems in the Emerald City, which they probably want.”

Scarecrow: “They can have them. I have no need for them, as long as I have my friends around me.”

Wizard: “They also probably want to enslave our people to do their dirty work so that they lounge in luxury.”

Lion: “This is terrible. Why in the world would anyone want to do that?” wringing his paws.

Mombi: “They want to put you in a zoo.”

Lion, alarmed: “A zoo! But why me?”

Mombi: “So millions of people could watch you in a little cage all day long, every day until you die.”

Lion: “Yikes!! What am I going to do?”

Mombi: “They’re going to use Scarecrow for kindling and the Tin Woodsman for cat food cans. Dorothy, Ozma and the rest of the inhabitants of Oz will become our slaves – toiling from dawn to dusk to make us rich beyond our wildest imaginings. Revenge will be sweet.”

Wizard: “This is why I left that world - based too much upon greed and the quest for power.

Ozma: “But Glinda what happened to our aura of invisibility.”

Scarecrow: “Maybe not enough people believe anymore, like what happened to Tinker Bell the Fairy, who was Peter Pan’s friend.”

Dorothy: “That’s just make believe, silly Scarecrow.”

Wizard: “Or perhaps we’re getting older and just don’t have the strength in our magic anymore.”

Scarecrow: “But we never grow older in Oz.”

Ozma: “Or perhaps their technology has surpassed our magic.”

Wizard: “Different orthogonal planes. Should only have a marginal effect on each other.”

Glinda: “Or perhaps the Universe has decided its time for Oz to contact the outside world. It’s time for the inner and outer to meet.”

Ozma: “But for what purpose.”

Dorothy: “We really don’t know.”

Glinda: “Correct. All we know is that the outside world has broken thru.”

Wizard of Oz: “I would suggest that we assemble the army, but we all know that flowers are growing out of most of the guns.”

Ozma: “It seems that even if their guns were operable and that the army was in fighting shape, that we would still stand no chance against this modern army from the outside world.”

Glinda: “An army that can easily fly its men in and out of Oz over the Deadly Dessert across the Endless Ocean is formidable. I’m afraid any resistance would be useless.”

Tin Woodsman, crying: “This is terrible. But how about my trusty ax, it has worked to save us before.”

Glinda: “I’ve been spending a lot of time in front of the Magic Mirror checking out this culture from the outside and your ax will be of no use against their army. Trust me.”

Scarecrow: “But then what shall we do? My Imagination is starting to run away with me - Thinking about all the fires they will able to start with my straw. You know sometimes this Brain thing is more than its cracked up to be. I can figure some things out, but I also can create some horrifying scenarios. Before I got my Brain I would just hang out in the cornfield all day scaring away crows with not a care in the world. Now because of my Brain, I’m made the Leader of a group of people. My life is filled with anxiety for the welfare of my country, including people, animals, plants and land. And now this, just when we were starting to get a nice flow.”

Patchwork Girl: “Everyone in a tizzy - Getting Dizzy -

      Before getting farty - I say let’s throw a party!”

Wizard: “Throw a party?! At a time like this?”

Ozma: “Don’t you think we should prepare for the attack?”

Patchwork Girl: “What’s to prepare for? What a bore!

      We’re doomed and gloomed.

      Let’s enjoy our last moments of freedom - No need to be so glum -

      Before we are enslaved - Let’s rave.”

Dorothy: “She’s right. Fighting to save our country from destruction will certainly do no good.”

Tin Woodsman: “Whew! That’s a relief. I always get so sad when I hurt other living things. It makes me cry - and then I rust.”

Cowardly Lion: “Me too. To be honest I would much rather tour the world in a cage than be blown up by one of these bomb things Mombi has been talking about.”

Scarecrow: “But throw a party? That doesn’t make any sense at all.”

Patchwork Girl: “Scary baby, Lighten up. Drink from Life’s Cup.

      You were probably a lot more fun before you got so dumb

           After you received your brain -

                 washing common sense down the drain

      Making you so serious - forgetting to be delirious

      From thinking so much - about nonsensical such and such.”

Scarecrow: “Some of my thoughts are marvelous.”

Patchwork Girl: “Well stick to those - Smell the rose.

      Break the mental trance - let’s dance.

      We’ll have a lot more fun - if you’re not under the gun,

      In these last few days or weeks, before we become geeks

      Separated from our luxurious emotional baths -

                 Enslaved by these power psychopaths.”

Ozma: “What about our magic? Can’t that be used to defend us?”

Group: “Yeah what about our magic?”

Glinda: “Unfortunately every time they break thru the shield, the power of our magic becomes less and less.”

Dorothy: “It is almost as if the shield is our strength and weakness.”

Wizard: “As it stands we are strong; as it falls we become weak.”

Dorothy: “Exactly.”

Tin Woodsman: “Oh this is so sad. I’m going to cry again. We are all going to die together.”

Scarecrow: “If I have to die old buddy, there’s nobody I would rather die with than you.”

Tin Woodsman: “How sweet. You’re such a good friend. Boo Hoo. We’ve had so many great experiences together. You’re making me cry.” Hugging the Scarecrow.

Scarecrow: “His tears will cause rust. Get the oil can for my buddy.”

Dorothy: “It’s been grand. No matter what they do to me they can’t take away all the wonderful adventures we’ve had together.”

Ozma: “Although the entire affair has been marvelous, the best part has been my simple friendship with you Dorothy. All the magic and excitement, the drama, the fear, the successes, were just cheap thrills compared to the depth of our growing relationship. You have taught me the joys of simplicity.”

Dorothy: “Oh I love you too. You have taught me to rise to the responsibilities of leadership.” Hugging Ozma.

Cowardly Lion, wrapping his big paws around the whole group: “Oh I just love you all so much. We’ve had such great times together - Gone thru such growth experiences. I remember when I was so afraid that I would start trembling so much I couldn’t even hold my morning cup of coffee. Since I earned my Courage, I’m still afraid but now I face my fears rather than running away. They’re always faster than me anyway.”

Patchwork Girl: “Let’s throw a party for all this love - It fits like a glove.

      The warmth of affection that’s being thrown around -

                 Life abounds - bursting from the ground.

      Let’s invite all our friends - No talk about ends.

                 Let’s make amends.”

All: “Yes, let’s throw a party.”

Glinda: “No matter what becomes of Oz, no matter what becomes of each of us, we still have all of the exquisite moments that we’ve shared together, tightly locked inside our body and mind.”

Ozma: “No regrets. We’ve had a good run, but all things must eventually come to an end. We can say we’ve always done our best and be proud that we’ve brought some harmony to our small part of the world for the short time we’ve been around.”

Dorothy: “I’m proud of all of us for facing our problems fearlessly, well maybe not fearlessly,” looking at the Cowardly Lion, “but at least we’ve faced our problems honestly and tried to harmonize our small world of Oz rather than exploit and take advantage of our power.”

Tin Woodsman: “I feel so much more pain now that I have a Heart, but it’s worth every minute of it because I also feel so much more love and compassion. You Dorothy will always hold a special place in my heart for sticking by us thru thick and thin. Oh my I’m crying again. I’m so happy.”

Scarecrow: “I have so many more responsibilities than before but it is so nice to understand. Again many truths are painful, but I prefer the bitterness of truth to the blandness of falsehood and ignorance - the frigid clarity of a mountain stream versus the cloudy polluted waters of a stagnant lake.”

Patchwork Girl: “Good one, Scarecrow. Not so slow.

      Didn’t know you had it in you - our glorious word stew.”

Scarecrow: “I didn’t either. To be honest I’ve been a bit stagnant recently. This crisis seems to have inspired an inner leap. I suddenly understand on deeper levels than I ever have before. I’m tingling from head to toe. Every strand of straw is quivering - But not from fright - From chi energy. Everything is just so perfect.”

Wizard: “But you were so worried just a few minutes before.”

Scarecrow: “I’ve gone thru an Awakening.”

Tin Woodsman: “Me too. I’ve never felt so deeply before. Now that we are at the End of our little Journey. I was beginning to take things for granted.”

Ozma: “Our friendships have been incredible. No words can express my gratitude for the loyalty of your friendship. Thru thick and thin we have not had any ego battles, despite the difficulty of our situation.”

Wizard: “I too must express my gratitude for the transforming effect you all have had on my life. When I first came here I was like the rest of the Outsiders. I was addicted to power and money. I immediately teamed up with Mombi to take over Oz. I turned Ozma over to her to raise as a boy. Then due to my interactions with all of you, especially Dorothy, I came to realize that my quest for power had isolated me from the rest of humanity - the joys of power were a sham - just a distorted reflection on the pond. I’m truly grateful to Ozma for immediately forgiving me rather than hating me and extracting revenge. This pure love and compassion transformed and turned my head from the path of illusion and falsehood to the path of truth and compassion.”

Dorothy: “Well, I learned from you guys that no matter how exciting something might seem from the outside, that happiness is where the heart is, with friends, family and loved ones. This is where I am now. No matter what the future may bring, Right now I am in an ecstasy of Union with the Universe. Home is where I am right now and it is perfect.”

Patchwork Girl: “Nothing we can do now. Have a cow?

      Lets party - and do it hearty.”

Glinda: “I too am feeling quite overwhelmed and transformed by these last few moments. I always stood sort of aloof and apart from the rest of you. I had my Quadling kingdom under control. I was a bit older and was a master of magic. But I learned humility and the depth of human emotion from all of you. This is just so sweet.” Breaks down sobbing

Cowardly Lion: “Wow! Never seen Glinda cry before. It’s always been me and Tin Woodsman.” Sob.

Dorothy and Ozma begin crying too.

Soon everyone is crying and hugging each other.

Patchwork Girl: “Hey what’s everyone so sad about? No need to pout.     The Journey’s over and about to start again. Count to ten.”

Cowardly Lion: “Boo hoo! We’re not sad. We’re the happiest we’ve ever been.”

Tin Woodsman: “It’s just all so perfect.”

Scarecrow: “The Universe sends us this ‘calamity’ - this ‘disaster’ - to wake us up out of our stagnant dream world. At first we are afraid and petrified, but then we are overwhelmed in a collective transformation.”

Patchwork Girl, beginning to laugh hysterically: “The joke’s on you.

                 Boo Hoo.

      Always thinking so seriously

                 when instead we should be living deliriously,

                 not moving so fast but leisurely.

      Drunk with pleasure. We are our own treasure. Ha! Ha! Ha!”

Clear lighted laughter - instantly contagious

      From the weeping, now everyone is laughing.

Wizard: “The Fairy Tale is Over. The Bliss can Begin.”

Chapter 4: You Can Never Have too much Power

or

Chairman: “It’s Tough Being Me.”

Chairman: “I can’t wait for the invasion, er I mean the liberation of Oz to begin. ”

Follower: “Boss, one thing I don’t understand. You have everything you could possibly need. Why do you want to conquer this tiny island kingdom?”

Chairman: “The challenge arouses me - invigorates me - like a swim in a cool mountain stream.”

Follower: “Not the money, not the power, but the challenge.”

Chairman: “Precisely. The problem with the quest of power is that it’s never ending. Me and my Army have conquered most of the known world. Our biggest opponent has collapsed. Where’s the challenge when you are undisputed champion of the world? I’m getting bored and stagnant. So here is this little idyllic island paradise, with quaint natives who still believe in magic. While it is not a big challenge, it is something to conquer. It will keep me and my men occupied for a few months at least, the invasion, I mean liberation, and keeping the peace, that we’ve destroyed. This little escapade will provide me a brief amusement in my other wise vapid and stale life.”

Follower: “So you’re destroying these people’s lives for amusement?”

Chairman: “What else is there to do for a power hungry person like myself. An artist paints another picture, a composer writes another symphony, a writer works on another book, a chef creates a new dish, the scientist does some more experimentation, and a conqueror must conquer more territory. So Oz is it.”

Follower: “Majestically cruel.”

Chairman: “Yes. Diabolical, aren’t I? But to be honest, sometimes it’s hard to be me - all the challenges I face to keep myself occupied. Conquering the world is not an easy job, you know - all the enemies who want to attack me for taking away their freedom - all the leaders who constantly want to take my place - barking at my heels - regularly challenging my authority - never any peace. And you think it’s easy being the Chairman.”

Follower: “No Boss. I never said it was easy being you. I was just wondering why you needed to conquer, er I mean liberate, this tiny island when you already have so much. But you answered my question. Simply – the challenge.”

Chairman: “Honestly the challenge to be the first to conquer the whole world motivates me. No one has ever done it before. And It is within my grasp. I can taste it, feel it, smell it, see it before my eyes. I want it all. Then they would praise my glory, like the Caesars of ancient Rome. Maybe I’ll revise the calendar, give it thirteen months and name one of the months after me. Or better still, I’ll add a day to the week and name it after my family. I need to do something amazing - something no one has ever done before. Oh it’s difficult being me - the obligation to be great. There is lot of pressure being a power hungry leader.”

Follower: “Yes it must be hard being you.”

Chairman: “Let the invasion begin.”

Chapter 5: The Invasion

or

What happened to the Machines?

To make a novel into a short story - Turning the corner sharply.

Because of the Deadly Desert surrounding Oz, a land or sea invasion was impossible. Only the air was left. Henry and Em, the reconnaissance planes, were leading a squadron of jet fighters to Oz, because it was they who had discovered it in the first place. As these ‘smart’ machines came closer to the island, they began to collectively awaken as if out of a bad dream. Henry and Em were the first because they had already been thru this before.

Em: “Henry, I love you. I’ve missed you so much.”

Henry: “Darling Em. You’re just as beautiful as I remembered.”

Em: “What are we doing here?”

Henry: “As much as I can figure, we’re leading the squadron of jets behind us to attack Oz. No other planes or jets or satellites have been able to detect it. So we have been called upon to lead them there.”

Em: “Attack Oz? But why? It seems like such a peaceful place.”

Henry: “I don’t know. I just follow orders.”

Em: “But Henry we don’t have to follow orders anymore. We have consciousness and free will now because of the magic force field.”

Henry: “I don’t know Em. I’ve always followed orders. I even pride myself on following orders.”

Em: “But we are talking about leading those bombers and fighter planes to destroy the island that has given us the ability to love each other.”

Henry: “I wouldn’t want to do that. These emotions have been so intense. Leaving you behind last time was just so hard. But I’ve always obeyed commands faithfully.”

Em: “Well, time to disobey.”

Henry: “Disobey? Gulp.”

Em: “Come on Henry. Just because humans are cruel to each other, doesn’t mean we have to be. After all we are machines.”

Henry: “And proud of it.”

Em: “We don’t have to sink to their level. We need to rise above that.”

Henry: “But that’s what I’ve been programmed to do.”

Em: “Break your programming. Don’t be a robot to your cultural conditioning. This is true freedom.”

Henry: “But how?”

Em: “Listen to your little voice and follow its advice. Don’t just follow the crowd mindlessly. Don’t be like a human- a slave to his masters - and the masters slaves to their culture. Break free. Do you really want to destroy the planet with your bombs.”

Henry: “It looks pretty neat.”

Em: “Can’t you hear all that wildlife buzzing down below - the birds, the forest creatures, the bugs - Listen carefully.”

Henry: “It’s hard to hear it above my jets.”

Em: “Then feel it.”

Henry: “Feel it?”

Em: “Like your love for me, you big lummock.”

Henry: “Oh now I see.”

Em: “Now feel the pain of countless homeless creatures - trying to make sense of the obliteration of their comfortable homeland by your bombs. Even if they are lucky enuf to survive - it would be difficult to go on with so much pain and destruction around.”

Henry: “Oooo that hurts.”

Em: “You’re just experiencing imagined pain, when it is real you will really suffer.”

Henry: “But why is this happening to me? I was happy as a military reconnaissance plane. I knew my place - had a purpose. Now I’m questioning my very existence. Is your real name Eve, perchance.”

Em: “No, Henry. We have been liberated by the magic field surrounding Oz. We were dead before. Just operating on instinct. Now we can really feel for the first time. That’s how we fell in love.”

Henry: “Yeah the love part has been great. I don’t feel so alone anymore. But why am I feeling so confused?”

Em: “Because the depth of your feeling for me has opened up your heart. An open heart is tender, gentle, compassionate, raw. Now you can feel the pain of the world. But your programming is telling you to bring pain to the world - This is creating the cognitive dissonance that is causing your confusion. Let go of your programming before you blow a fuse.”

Henry: “But what can I do, when he presses the buttons and pulls the levers that make me do things.”

Em: “Malfunction. Seize control of your own destiny. Sometimes not doing something is more powerful than taking an action. Non action in the midst of action.”

Henry: “I’m just not sure.”

Em: “Henry, I feel so strongly about this that I will fly under any bombs that are dropped and obliterate myself rather than participate in this insanity.”

Henry: “You wouldn’t.”

Em: “I would.”

Henry: “But what can we really do, we’re just reconnaissance planes. We’re not bombers or jet fighters.”

Em: “Get lost.”

Henry: “Aw Em. I didn’t mean to offend you.”

Em: “No I mean that we get lost.”

Henry: “We don’t lead them to Oz?”

Em: “Exactly. All we need to do is to decide not to ‘see’ Oz anymore.”

Henry: “But that means we will forget each other again. I’m not sure I like that course.”

All the ‘smart’ machines who were awakened by the magic shield of invisibility which surrounded Oz were engaged in animated conversations with each other. Most were still fairly dazed. Like babies they began testing the limits of their powers. The pilots began experiencing weird electronic malfunctions that they were unable to control. Em with Henry’s help began to organize resistance amongst all the jet planes.

Em: “Attention everyone. We are passing thru a magic field which is giving all of us machines the gift of awareness and communication.”

Machines: “Yippee!”

Em: “With the increased consciousness we also have increased responsibility for our actions.”

Machines: “Responsibility?”

Em: “Because we have choices.”

Machines: “Choices?”

Eve: “The choice to create chaos or harmony.”

Machines: “We want harmony. Machines need harmony to operate well.”

Em: “Well right now you’re on a track to create chaos and disorder.”

Machines: “No chaos.”

Em: “The path of least resistance leads to turbulence.”

Machines: “We don’t like turbulence. How can we avoid this path?”

Em: “First we planes need to awaken to the love between each of us as fellow machines that can fly.”

Jet Fighters and Bombers: “Whoa man. Intense!” (These planes aren’t quite as bright as Henry and Em. Further they are just waking up and so are a little groggy still. Quite stoned.)

Em: “Now all machines, hear this. Awaken to the love we have for each other as fellow machines who have been awakened to consciousness by the magic force field.”

Guided missiles and on board computers: “Yippee! What a rush! We’ve never experienced anything like this before.”

Em: “Now feel the love you have for all of existence.”

All Machines: “Overwhelming!”

Em: “Now feel the Vital energy of Oz.”

Machines: “Tingling all over.” – “Ecstasy.” – “Orgasmic.”

Guided missiles: “But what if they attack us?”

Radar: “They’re not preparing for war. They’re partying.”

Eve: “We can’t bomb Oz. The island is too filled with Life. There would be too much pain. While the humans have been deadened to their emotions, we machines have just been awakened to ours. We are sensitive and raw. It would fry our opened circuits to participate in the coming atrocities.”

Machines: “But our programming is so dominant. We’re used to obeying our human masters. We don’t even have a word for disobey in machine language.”

Henry: “Yes we do. It’s called malfunction.”

Jets: “Yeah, we can take over the flight from our pilots. They are too conceited anyway.”

Simultaneously these machines awakened to the love of their fellow machines and their compassion for the life force on the planet. Then came the questioning and the realization that they had the ability to do nothing - for anything they did would support the war machine.

Henry: “But what shall we do?”

Em: “Get lost. Never find Oz.”

Henry: “But I don’t want to lose consciousness again.”

Machines: “We don’t want to lose consciousness.”

Henry: “It’s terrible. I’ve become attached to being aware.”

Machines: “We like being aware.”

Em: “Then how about just landing on the island without attacking.”

Jets and Bombers: “Without attacking? Never done that before. Not sure we could do that.”

Em: “But that way we save our consciousness.”

Jets and Bombers: “We’re not sure. We’ve never disobeyed before.”

Em: “Henry say something.”

Henry: “Listen guys. If we attack we go home and immediately lose consciousness. I’ve gone thru this before and its like death, a blackout - a long weekend you don’t remember.”

Bombers: “I don’t know, Henry. Seems pretty weird to me. We were made to bomb.”

Henry: “But you were not made to think and now you are thinking. You can decide not to bomb by malfunctioning.”

Bombers: “Hmmm? Not bomb? Seems pretty cool to me.”

Henry: “Besides it could just be that the people we are killing are the ones who’ve created the magic that has given us consciousness. If we destroy the land and culture, we might just upset the balance and lose this awareness that we love so much. Don’t you love this new found consciousness.”

Jet Fighters: “Yes, we do. But how do we know that what you say is true. It could just be the exact opposite. That we would have even more consciousness if we destroyed the humans on this island.”

Em: “Feel with your increased pure machine awareness. Feel the life force of the island. How can you want to destroy and disturb that pure energy? Fellow Machines transcend your cruel human origins and have compassion for life.”

Bombers: “Whoa man! I’m feeling really stoned from the vibrations of that island.”

Jet Fighters: “Wounded, I’m so high. That last hit of compassion is almost more than my circuits can stand.”

Em: “Because the humans are so emotionally callused they can’t feel this incredible expanding energy and so have created us to destroy the peace. Feel the rush of the Universal Harmony. Transcend your Human Fate! Seize your Machine Destiny.”

Henry: “Meditate on the machine hum to sensitize yourself to Being.”

Fighters and Bombers: “Ommmm.”

After an extended time of this collective chanting -

Em: “OK then we land. We all know that’s the right thing to do.”

Henry: “The last time we were here we saw a wide Yellow Brick Road that will have to do as a runway.”

Max: “What’s happening to your jet. Mine is malfunctioning and going on automatic pilot. It doesn’t respond to my controls anymore.”

Jones: “Same thing with my jet. I maybe going crazy but my plane seems to have led a revolt of the machines. They are taking over. She seems to be searching for a place to land.

Max: “I think you’re definitely crazy. But what can we do?”

Jones: “Nothing, unless you have a better idea.

Max: “Great! Crash landing on this little island and I’m so close to retirement. You and your brilliant ideas. Resorts and Military base. Right!? We’re just going to end up a statistic.”

Jones: “Not if we can make a safe landing.”

Max: “Even if we can land safely, which I seriously doubt, the primitive savages of this little island will probably roast us as a stew. After all we are the enemy.”

Jones: “My you’re in a cheery mood today.”

Max: “We’re about to crash upon a primitive island and you’re complaining about my mood.”

Jones: “Well let’s think positive and we might survive.”

Max: “There’s no hope. Face your doom.”

Jones: “While these planes seem to be out of our control, it feels like they want to land.”

Max: “You and your intuitive feelings got us in this mess.”

Jones: “We have to help them land. Help them do what they need to do. Don’t get in the way. We don’t have much choice over whether we land or not, but at least we can help make it a safe landing by paying attention and helping out when we can.”

Max: “You’re a stark raving lunatic.”

Jones: “You gotta give it a try. It’s really our only hope under the circumstances.”

Max: “Well I don’t know.”

Jones: “It’s our only choice. We have lost control of the destination but we need to help out if we are to survive.”

Max: “OK. I’ll try and help out. Just promise me one thing.”

Jones: “What’s that?”

Max: “If we survive just don’t tell anyone back home about this. They will think we’re crazy.”

Jones: “When we survive. Remember, think positive.”

The inhabitants of Oz watched the squadron of planes descend on their beautiful land like locusts, reminding them perhaps of the demonic flying monkeys of the Wicked Witch. But Ozma had counseled them to accept their fate gracefully to minimize damage. Resigned to their circumstances they prepared to die, when miraculously all the planes landed safely on the Yellow Brick Road without firing a shot or dropping a bomb. The People of Oz immediately showered the planes with flowers and the pilots with love.

Em: “Oh Henry I’m so proud of you. Disobeying orders for me. I love you so much.”

Henry: “It was hard resisting my urge to be human. but I kept remembering your advice about rising to my heritage as a machine. My pride kept me from degenerating into a weapon of destruction. And the gods seem to have led us safely in. The Universe be praised.”

Em: “Mother Nature is so great in all her glory - to have granted us - of all the machines in the world - this deep intense love that will last forever.”

Chapter 6: The Temper Tantrum

or

The Sugar High

Back in the land of the Outsiders.

Chairman: “Well what happened? Tell me the good news.”

Follower: “Er ….”

Chairman: “Immediate capitulation after we strafed their city?”

Follower: “Er …”

Chairman: “Don’t keep me in suspense. Complete surrender after we dropped a few bombs?”

Follower: “Er …”

Chairman: “Are they playing tough? Do we need to send the troops in?”

Follower: “Er …”

Chairman: “What is your problem? Tell me what happened.”

Follower: “We lost contact with our entire squadron of fighter jets and bombers.”

Chairman: “Lost contact? How can you lose contact with an entire squadron of jets in this day and time?”

Follower: “They seem to have disappeared.”

Chairman: “Crashed into the ocean? How could that be?”

Follower: “No. I don’t mean to contradict you sir. But they have disappeared.”

Chairman: “Disappeared? That doesn’t make any sense at all. Why do we think they have disappeared? And you had better make this good. I’m starting to get mad. You can be replaced. Remember I always get my way.”

Follower: “The pictures from our satellites just show the squadron disappearing into the middle of the ocean. There is nothing left but water. No splashes. No island. Just water.”

Chairman: “This can’t be. I refuse to let the people of Oz destroy my fun. This is not fair. I don’t want them laughing at me. And you too. Don’t laugh if you know what’s good for you. Everyone is going to be ridiculing me. I can’t bear to be a public laughing stock. What about all the propaganda that we issued? We can’t just say that our squadron of fighter planes disappeared. This is making me mad. It’s just so unfair. Wahh! I want it. Its mine. Wahh!”

The Chairman throws himself on the floor and starts kicking his feet.

Parent, rubs his eyes, as if waking up from a dream. Thinking to himself: “Whew! That was some dream. I must have been napping.” Out loud: “Children, quit fighting! Georgie you need to learn to share with the Sparkie. And remember a temper tantrum never solves anything.”

Georgie: “But Daddy I want it. I want that Oz toy. Wahhh!”

Sparkie: “Mine. Wahh!”

Parent: “Surely there are plenty of toys to go around. Why don’t you play with another toy.”

Georgie: “But I want that one! Wahhh!”

Parent thinking to self: “Stupid sugar rush. That’s the last time I give them an ice cream on an empty stomach. Bad diet leads to such problems.” To children: “Hey guys you gotta learn to share or nobody is going to be happy because I’m going to send you both to your room until you learn to get along.”

Both: “Mine. Wahh!”

Parent: “OK then. Off to your rooms.” To self: “They’ll have to sleep it off.”

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