Acknowledging Frank (Baum)
From his mighty castle and surrounded by armed-to-the teeth bodyguards, The Great Bloombug prepares to scan the yellow brick road for surely he knows they come.
“They will surrender all their weapons to me,” he says to the King Monkey, “because they yearn to find gold at the end of the yellow brick road.” Turning to his high-powered surveillance screens, he says, “Come to me, my little ones”
He watches the long parade, led by the five of them, the farm girl, her mongrel dog, the strawman, the coward and man made of tin, food, animal life, building materials, wariness and minerals. And all of them in the parade, as far as his computer-enhanced eyes can see, ready to exchange their guns for his protection.
“Such chicanery,” he says to the King Monkey, “we’ve tricked them to believe in gold instead of themselves. If they knew their own power, they would build their own city.”
He pauses, thinks for a minute.
“Then what would I do? No, they must believe in me.”
In that moment, The Great Bloombug makes a decision.
“Man the drone monkeys,“ he says to King Monkey. “Have them drop pamphlets that say ‘The Gold is at the end of the Road” and drive the parade to me. I want their weapons and when they come, they will be mine!”
In his blunderbuss, The Great Bloombug fails to notice that the farm girl’s dog strays off the path, wanders through the woods and finds a river alongside an emerald valley. Racing back to the farm girl, Toto shakes his fur and splatters water onto her shoes.
The long faced coward, who in his caution and wariness senses something amiss in this endless march to The Great Bloombug, reaches down with great care and runs his finger against her shoe. “Water,” he says with a whisper, “makes things grow.”
The man made of tin chimes in, “And we are hungry after walking so far.”
And the straw man says, “We can’t eat gold.”
And the farm girl, Dorothy by name, as if she awakens from a trance, says, “We are on the wrong path. The yellow brick road does not lead to one who will grant our wishes. The yellow-brick road leads to the one who wants to steal our freedom.”
And her words ripple through the long line of those seeking The Great Bloombug’s protection and they slip off the road, all of the marchers, keeping their guns with them, heading to the river and the emerald valley where they will grow food, tend animals and build homes, create power sources and be ever wary to not step foot on the yellow brick road, again.
~ Stephen J. Bergstrom