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No one comes to see me anymore. Now that I've given the cowardly Lion his courage and the Tin Man a heart, they are so busy being courageous and loving that all those little munchkin geeks are practically worshipping them. And the Scarecrow? With that brain of his, he's done away with the simple balloon rides. Oh yeah, the freak has invented a Cyclone Machine and the little creeps are visiting Auntie Em (who thought up that name, anyway?) and Uncle Henry in that godforsaken hole in the earth called Kansas.

Why someone would want to leave Oz for Kansas is beyond me. I mean, since the ruby-slippered brat dropped the two-story on old battle ax of the East and melted (which was really cool, by the way, have to admit that) her green-skinned sister of the West, there's not much to fear around here. Especially since Mr. I'm So Brave Lion has declared himself Sherif.

So here I am, the greatest wizard in all of Oz (the only wizard, probably), sitting in this poppyfield, alone. I thought I was going to get away from the funny dressed geeks with the nasally voices, but oh no. And Dorothy? She loves it here, she has to come back to Oz every week just so she can share fashion magazines with that goody-goody Glenda. And oh, the stories I could tell you about Glenda! Oh sure, she's a "good witch" but have you ever thought about that? She's a good witch, but a witch is still a witch, no matter what color her hair and how good her figure. It was a curse from Little Miss Good Witch that keeps me here in this field.

The only way I can escape this forsaken place is by smoking the poppy!

Good witch indeed! As a matter of fact, let me just tell you about Little Miss Glenda, the so-called good witch of the North.

You see, when I first arrived in Oz, Glenda was jealous. She was taller than the little shrimps that run around singing of grape tootsie pops and all that crap, and she used that to her advantage. She would threaten to stand on their heads if they didn't worship her, and on Glenda Eve (a ridiculous holiday that she made up), she would take four or five of them at random, tie them up on the yellow brick road, dress them in purple shirts and yellow pants and blow bubbles at them until their eyes were bloodshot. If that wasn't enough, she would then make all of them dance those silly little dances and sing children's songs, dressed like circus clowns. During all of this, she stuff her face and not give them anything to eat at all.

She was big as a cow when I first arrived here. Even the Twisted Sisters stayed away from her. She could really be a bitch sometimes.

Anyway, I arrived by way of my balloon, and the munchkins asked if I were good or bad. "Hey," I said, "I'm whatever you need to be as long as you'll feed me." I was half-starved from my journey, you see. So they fed me, and we started to talk. I was quite a bit taller than the little creeps, taller than Glenda too.

They said I must be some sort of magician to have arrived out of the sky, and when I turned on my transistor radio, they were amazed. It didn't pick up anything but static, but that didn't seem to matter to them. They were amazed, said they'd never seen anything so wonderful. I just shrugged my shoulders and kept fiddling with the dial.

About then, Glenda arrived in her bubble, and I stuck my finger at it, and popped it. Well, she spilled out onto the yellow brick road in a heap. Was she angry? She was fuming! I tried to apologize, but the little munchkins were laughing their little fannies off, and I got tickled as well. "People arrive here in such strange ways," I said. "I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were... well, a person. I thought you were just a bubble."

She swore revenge, and started screaming at the little geeks to shut up, that she would require ten or maybe even twenty of them for Glenda Eve this year, which was only a week away. They started screaming and begging, and that's when I got upset. I jumped up and pointed my finger at her, only it was my radio antenna. I'd forgotten about it, and when I pointed it at her, it picked up some weird program, and proclaimed quite loud and bluntly: "How dare you talk to my people this way! I am a wizard! Beg forgiveness and cleanse yourself, and maybe, just maybe I'll let you live!"

I was just as surprised as everyone else when Glenda fell down on her knees and offered me her palace in the capital city of Oz. Hey, I'm nobody's fool, and I wasn't about to explain that the radio had just picked up some silly program. I accepted her castle, and she promised to treat the smurfs better. She kept looking at me out the corner of her eyes though, and when she left, I noticed that my radio was gone as well.

Things were going great. Glenda had kept her promise of being nice to the midgets, and I was this incredible wizard that lived in the castle. Every so often I'd have Glenda or one of the other witches over for dinner just to be sociable. I really thought things were going to work out well, and I was settling down for a long and happy old age.

Then disaster came along, and it's name was Dorothy.

She dropped the house on Ms. East, and then West came and really got things confused. She wanted the ruby slippers I'd given to East as a birthday present, but Glenda just had to interfere. She slipped them on Dorothy's feet, and this really put West in a bad mood. Glenda then sent Dorothy to seek my guidance, knowing full well I had no idea what to tell her. I'm not a wizard, not really, and Glenda had no doubt figured this out. This was her revenge.

I thought I'd get out of it pretty easily by sending the brat and her weird friends on some ridiculous errands. Thanks to the winged monkeys and some help from Glenda, they did everything I demanded, and I was stuck in a bind. I had promised to deliver courage to a coward, a heart to an empty soul, a brain to a moron, and a ride home to a farm girl. I made up some ridiculous speech or other and gave them some old trinkets. Everyone was happy, and then it was time for me to take Dorothy back to Kansas.

Problem was, I had been to Kansas, and there was no way I was going back. There's nothing there but cyclones and corn fields anyway, but I looked at Dorothy and figured I could at least spend a little time alone with her way up in a balloon. She said her tearful goodbyes, and we started to leave. Then that little mutt of hers got away, and she went to chase him down. Too late, I couldn't stop the balloon. Hey, if I knew how to work the balloon I wouldn't have been in Oz to begin with, right?

Anyway, I just shrugged and thought I'd just enjoy the ride, and was feeling pretty good about myself, enjoying the view and just relaxing a little when I saw it: a big bubble coming my way just over the tree tops.

"Where ya going, Wizard?" asked Glenda, popping out of her bubble just inside my balloon.

"Home, Glenda. Oz is yours again, darling," I said as sweetly as I could.

She just laughed that brutal laugh of hers and said she didn't think so. She winked at me and stuck that wand of hers in the side of my balloon, and down I went. I've been here ever since, trapped in this poppyfield.

Every time I try to leave it, those little traitor flying monkeys pop my balloon again. I'm almost out of ideas now, and almost out of dreams as well. I've got one final trick up my sleeve, and if it works, I'm leaving Oz for good. If it doesn't... well, I'll be known as the Wizard Of Was, I guess.

* * *

Slowly, majestically, the balloon rises into the dark night and glides over the rainbow. Below, in the poppyfield, lies body after body of the winged monkeys, all of them stoned off their rockers on poppy buds. Somewhere in the darkness, the transistor radio is playing Sweet Leaf...