No Place Like Home-Delivery"
your two o'clock is here."
Janice, give me five minutes then show her in. Okay?"
"Certainly, Jim. I mean, Doctor Mathers."
The psychiatrist gave the intercom a surly look, thought
about admonishing Jan for her casual remark then shrugged
it off as he wolfed down the remainder of a soggy Philly
beef and cheese sandwich. His stomach roiled, retaliating
against the grease bomb as a couple of antacids were
swallowed for preliminary measures. The last thing he
needed was a gas attack when a client unveiled their
deepest fears, or desires.
After some pillows were fluffed and the AC adjusted,
he rolled his shirtsleeves and prepared for a long sit.
Everything appeared in order as he scooped up a pen
and pad then reclined in the overstuffed office chair.
A pair of reading glasses teetered on the edge of his
pointed nose. The appointment book said "Dorothy"
at two. Let's see if his client chose to be "Dorothy"
or some other character for the day. Until the door
opened, he never knew who, or what, was waiting on the
other side. Her surprises were endless.
The knob turned and Dorothy timidly entered. She was
breathtaking, down to her red ruby slippers. If ever
there was a perfect match for Judy Garland, this was
"Mr. Wizard, I came like you asked," she said.
Her perfect red lips pouted fully as she curtsied.
Her innocent beauty was stunning as she perched on the
edge of the leather couch, a basket cradled in the crook
of her delicate elbow. Every detail possible was taken
into consideration when she dressed the part, down to
the braided pigtails and blue jumper. Amazing! He never
paid a lot of attention to that anomaly before now.
Jim quickly jotted down the remarkable likeness for
"And how are you today, Dorothy?" The doctor
took great care to not appear humored or shocked by
Big brown eyes stared back in wonder. Petulant lips
trembled. Bare knees bobbed.
"And how are things at home?"
Dorothy fumbled inside her basket, nervous.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Wizard. I've been lost for a very
long time, and I really want to go home now."
This was a common reaction from all patients. Inevitably
they wanted to leave as soon as they got to their session.
It was Jim's job to prevent that from happening. He
smiled warmly, and she responded in kind.
"That's better. Now, how are things at home?"
"Well, Toto died."
Hmmm, a death. Perhaps it's an acceptance of a past
"That's too bad. Can you tell me what happened?"
"Well, I dunno. I think some nasty old snake bit
him. Or maybe he was poisoned by the Wicked Witch of
The Wicked Witch of the West was one of Dorothy's neighbors,
an unfriendly one at that. Jim had ascertained that
this individual gained great pleasure by teasing Dorothy's
dog whenever they got the chance. Considering that Dorothy
lived like a recluse in the desert, it was ironic that
the two ever encountered one another.
"What did you do with Toto after he died?"
"I buried him in the field of poppies. He's safe
now from that wicked old witch." Tears sparkled
in her dark eyes. She grabbed a tissue and dabbed at
Had she cut the dog up and ate it, followed through
on some lengthy burial ritual, or at least had the animal
stuffed, Jim might have had something to work with,
but a simple burial didn't help at all.
"Have you had any visitors lately?" The pencil
tapped quietly against his leg.
Auntie Em came by, but she didn't stay long. She brought
me some crullers, then said she needed to leave and
tend to Uncle Henry. I asked her to take me with her,
but I don't think she heard me."
The doctor grabbed a bowl of candy and offered it to
her. She passed. He, on the other hand, needed his daily
chocolate fix and proceeded to indulge in a sugar high.
It was the only thing that could possibly keep him awake
through this monotonous routine. Dorothy wasn't making
any progress at all. His disappointment was evident
as he doodled on the pad.
"Oh, and I saw the Tin Man yesterday."
Surprise! They'd hit pay dirt. Jim's attention immediately
returned to the beauty before him. The Tin Man was familiar
territory, perhaps forbidden. He was determined to find
"How did that come about?" The doctor was
coy, careful to avoid showing any excitement or anticipation.
Dorothy chewed on her lower lip as hands fumbled inside
"He came in a white chariot. I remember. It was
white, and it had an F and an E on it. I think it meant
From Em. Because he brought me this box and inside were
my beautiful ruby slippers. See?"
She clicked her heels together while admiring the dazzling
shoes. Jim had to admit, they were classic.
"So tell me, Dorothy. Did this Tin Man do the same
thing to you that the last one did about two years ago?
Do you remember that?"
Jim was very close to achieving a major breakthrough
here. The Tin Man incident, an unfortunate rape, was
responsible for the Dorothy fantasy to begin with. Jim
was certain of it. All he had to do was uncover some
consistencies between this incident and what happened
to her before. A few key words would do it.
"Yes, I think so. That was so long ago, Mr. Wizard."
"I know, dear. But try very hard to remember for
me if you can."
Jim was pushing her, but they were too close to a breakthrough
to risk backsliding now. No more Mr. Nice Guy. If the
tears came, then so be it
it! What kind of dumb ass story is that? I thought you
were gonna tell me a horror story?"
The pudgy driver grabbed his soiled jeans from the front
of the van and struggled into them. A nude prostitute
reclined on a packing blanket before him. She smiled
seductively at the fat man and licked her lips.
"I don't want to hear about some psycho bimbo."
Chubby flipped her two twenties.
"Here, we're paid up now. I need to make some deliveries
so get dressed and get the hell out of here."
"But don't you want to hear the ending?" she
"It depends. Is it any better than the beginning,
which really sucks up to this point? It sucks almost
as badly as you do."
The prostitute pulled on a pair of lace panties as she
cast him a wicked sneer.
"Oh, yes. The ending is ever so much better."
"Well, make it quick. I'm running behind schedule
and I don't want my boss on my ass. So hurry up, bitch!"
With a grunt he climbed into the driver's seat and clamped
on a company ball cap.
In slow motion the beautiful brunette reached into her
basket and retracted a long glistening knife. She methodically
fingered the blade as she stood, her bare breasts reflected
in the rearview mirror.
The driver gasped like a beached fish as the keen blade
slicked across his bristled throat. A river of blood
shot forth, coating the windshield in a red mist.
name's Dorothy, you asshole! Don't forget it!"
said the prostitute as she yanked the ball cap from
the slumped man's head. She admired her trophy, then
plunked it into her basket, dressed, and exited through
the back door with a smile.
Jim gave the young girl a few moments to regain her
composure then he resumed.
"C'mon, dear, tell me--did this Tin Man do the
same thing to you as the last one?"
grinned. It was not innocent by any means, and Jim squirmed.
She reached into her basket and pulled out one hat after
another and laid them perfectly in a row on the coffee
table before the psychiatrist with the company labels
facing forward. Each one had the same logo embroidered
on the brim-- "Federal Express".
She licked her lips as she retracted the glistening
"Yes, Mr. Wizard, the Tin Man did the same thing
to me as the last one, and the one before that, and
so on. And you're doing the same thing to me as the
last Mr. Wizard. You're prying into my thoughts and
revealing my secrets, so now I need to find a new Mr.
Jim reached for the intercom, but the young woman stopped
"Don't bother. Janice has already been sent to
the Land of Oz. Now it's your turn to join her."
Dorothy's evil laughter blended with Jim's screams as
she plunged the knife into his chest. With a click of
her heels, Dorothy exited the office, the basket cradled
in the crook of her arm. Carefully she tucked the doctor's
glasses deeper beneath the pile of hats, then skipped
down the hallway with a pleased grin.