The Wizard of Oz Revisited

Posted at Red Room on October 14, 2009

Oz never really had a wizard, but it did have a couple of tin mines, lions in the zoo and lots of straws through which the children drank milk. Dorothy wore rubber thongs on the yellow hot sand that led to the beach; her dog was a kelpie. She lived near the rainforest and kept her ruby red shoes in a box in her room for fear that a hurricane might whip them away. She never actually wore them, but she´d look at them under her blanket at night and watch them glow, and she would dream.

She would dream that the land of Oz had a real wizard, one who could do Harry Potterish things. He would make gold out of the tin and then prop up the markets so that her daddy would smile again. He would tame the lions and let them loose to play with the kangaroos, and best of all he would put chocolate into her milk drink.

One evening she peeked around the corner of the living room. Her parents were watching a film on tv. It was called Australia. There was lots of desert and cattle and an Aboriginal boy she fell in love with. In the film people were watching another film like old photos. She watched the boy climb up on the roof and lie on his stomach, propping his head in the cups of his hands. He turned to her and waved, motioning that she should watch with him. Dorothy saw a tin man, and a lion and a straw man. She saw a witch and another. She saw a little girl with a puppy. The little girl was wearing sparkly shoes. The film was in black and white but the little girl´s shoes were red.

Just as the little girl was about to pull on a curtain to see who was behind it, bomber planes flew low. There were flames and horrid noises and screaming. Dorothy closed her eyes. Her mother turned and saw her. Go to bed, she said. It´s just the wizard of Oz. He´s got a bald head and was hiding behind the curtain. That was the war.

Dorothy lay in her bed and stroked her ruby red shoes. There was no war in the Land of Oz, she thought. And a wizard with a bald head isn´t really a wizard. Then she saw the face of the Aboriginal boy. He smiled at her and he winked. Dorothy sighed. He´ll be my wizard. He´ll make thinks better and true. She pushed the shoes away and patted her kelpie curled up at her feet. “Sleep well, Toto,” she said.