The sun had just risen over the horizon over the Land of Oz. It was a warm and brightly sunny day. The birds were chirping, the flowers blooming, and the butterflies fluttering about happily and freely. Everyone was very happy as they awoke in Oz on this morning. There was, however, one such place where at least one person in Oz wasn't happy at all to wake up on this beautiful morning.
Within the Royal Athletic College of Oz, Professor Wogglebug groaned deeply with agitation as he opened his eyes feebly. His vision was so blurry at first and he promptly reached over to his nightstand and snatched a pair of spectacles from there which he placed lightly upon nasal antenna. He winced at the bright rays of the sunshine as they filtered in through his window pane. He yawned with pain at just being awake and slowly got out of bed. He moaned and winced as he did so. His joints in his old and wiry limbs were so weak and frail and could barely hold him up anymore it seemed. He groaned again with agitation and frustration at the ways of his existence.
He dressed himself in great haste. There was not much to his clothing these days. He wore only a long dark gray coat which hung rather loosely over his long and frail body and a thin flat vest that was thinning out from so many ironings. He arranged his necktie and placed his mortarboard cap jauntily on top of his head set in-between his antennae. He sighed with a heavy and rough edge as he looked up into his bedroom mirror over his dresser and stared for just a moment at his reflection. He had long tired of his reflection being always just the same. Yet today it looked a bit different, but not for the better. It looked even more sour in its frown and even deeper lined with grimness and bitterness, and his big eyes sagged with great agony and grief behind his clear rounded glass spectacles.
"Why...? he muttered. "Why... me...?"
He turned around and slowly trudged out of his bedroom. He went into the next room which was his personal study. While barely looking at anything he walked ever so slowly across the room and towards his desk. He glanced briefly at some blueprint plan papers lying there and his lip trembled ever so slightly as he did so. Before he closed his eyes tightly and turned his head away and moaned very faintly as he did so.
When he opened his eyes again he found himself staring out the window of his study. The sun did not shine as brightly on this side because of the arched overhanging of a terrace just outside attached to the college grounds. Still, Professor Wogglebug's eyes still winced in pain and grief at the sight of one thing he could clearly see. A little rope cord just lying there on the ground and still attached to the long banister pole attached to the terrace of the college itself. What that rope cord had been once attached to, only just a week ago still clouded his mind with a sense of dark gray clouds that rained grief upon his great brain so painfully. For even though he was so intellectual and thoroughly educated he still couldn't help but feel nothing but a deep hollowness all through him right from the center of his being as he recollected everything that had transpired just a week ago.
Then once again he had to ask in a whisper to himself, "Why me?" He looked down and began to slowly close his eyes. "Why me?" he asked again. "Why did this have to happen to me? Why did it have to work out this way? Why couldn't things have just worked out the way they were planned to for just once... just once in my life? How could a thing like this happen to one so brilliant and thoroughly educated as me? I mean, all I just wanted was a nice relaxing vacation just for myself... was that actually such a wrong thing to want? Was it? Why does no one seem to have any respect for me?"
His musings were rudely interrupted when he was startled out of his reverie by the sharp knocking upon his door. He whirled around abruptly, his face burning with agitation.
"Come in here!" he shouted towards the door. "How dare you disturb me at this time of day!" he added before the door was even opened.
Slowly, a young Munchkin boy opened the door and peered cautiously into the room. "Professor," he began meekly. "It's me. I've just come to let you know Alexample's parents have arrived now. For your meeting with them."
"Well, why didn't you say so in the first place?" he snapped angrily in the young boy's direction. "You are just too slow for your own good!"
"I do apologize, Professor," replied the boy who's name was Zif. He tentatively entered the room while still keeping close to the doorway. "But Professor, I feel I should ask why you are so hard on me, and all of us all the time? Why must you feel the need to expel Alexample? I mean, he did say he was sorry to you, after all."
"Why how dare you question me and my reasons!" Professor Wogglebug shouted at Zif so loudly that a light in the room seem to flicker for a moment off and on. "His being sorry he stole away my Air Castle will never bring it back to me after all! He must be punished and he should be grateful to me I'm only expelling him and not worse!
"I apologize once again, Professor," said Zif briskly, his face pale as chalk. "It's just that Alexample's parents seem so regretful and grieved about it. He was after all a Talented and Gifted student for his age and.."
"Silence!" shouted Professor Wogglebug. He coughed and then cleared his throat for a moment and then looked more calmly at Zif and said evenly, "I couldn't care less about how Alexample or his parents feel. No one cares about how I feel about this, either after all. Zif, when you have lost an Air Castle of your own, you will be welcome to come to me and speak all you want about how I should feel about it and what I should do about it. But until such ever happens... I really... really.. wish to not see you around here anymore!"
Zif gasped as he suddenly came to realize just what the Professor was implying by this. "Oh.. but no! Professor you can't expel me, too! I need to be here, or my..."
"I said get out of here!" Professor Wogglebug shouted and took a menacing step forward while picking up a walking stick nearby and jabbing it in Zif's direction.
Zif gasped in horror and ran away out the door with tears streaming down his face. He neglected to close the door behind him. Professor Wogglebug went briskly to the door and exited it. He glanced down the hall at Zif running away as if for his life. Then he went in the opposite direction and towards the main entrance of the college of where he was to have his meeting with Alexample's parents.
"Why?" he muttered to himself once again. "Why was I cursed... with such insolent students! Cursed I am with such a miserable existence!"
It had only just been but a week ago that it had all took place. Professor Wogglebug was tired and sick of being shut up inside his stuffy chambers of his college all the time, and so he decided now it was the time for him to have a vacation. It was his first vacation in two score years. He had heard about how dreams inside the mind's eye can be wielded into a solid reality if the mind and will to do so is great enough and so he taught himself how to visualize very vividly while he was asleep. He took many naps over a period of time as he carefully dreamed up his unique Air Castle in which he was to spend his vacation in for at least a week. He spent countless hours dreaming and working literally at the same time in his mind, and it seemed to be working well. He kept the Air Castle attached to a rope cord just outside the college to keep it in place until he was ready to get into it and float away for a while and back again.
Then just when he had completed his construction of it, everything took a turn for the worse and most unexpectedly. The Patchwork Girl who was running away from the Emerald City that day accidentally unfastened the cord that kept the Air Castle in place while on her spoolicycle, and Alexample his top student had ended up getting caught on the rope and got carried away with the Air Castle as Scraps dragged it away with her. He had come out just in time to watch as it floated away from his grasp. He was horrified, and then infuriated that such a thing could actually happen.
So he had set out then for the Emerald City to report of this to the Wizard and hopefully receive his help in the matter of getting back his Air Castle. Only to then be informed along the way by Jenny Jump that both the Wizard and Ozma also had left the Emerald City on political affairs, much to his dismay. So then he and Jenny Jump, along with Jack Pumpkinhead, had set out to look for Scraps and his lost Air Castle. Then he had basically spent the whole entire week he was to spend his vacation searching for his Air Castle instead of enjoying it as he had expected to.
Then at the end of the week he had just stood and watched as it had just melted away right before his very eyes. It had all just disintegrated into thin air and then vanished without a trace. He had to admit he hadn't actually known that the Air Castle wouldn't last and would dissipate the moment his intended vacation time was up. Yet that was what happened. Except he never even got the vacation he wanted. Instead Alexample and Scraps and the others with them had used it instead. This was an outrage! It was meant for him and not them! This was unforgivable! It was a theft of an intellectual property that was his alone by right after all! It may have started out as just an accident pull but then it just turned into a deliberate theft on Alexample's part, even if they hadn't known either that the Air Castle wouldn't last.
Professor Wogglebug got through with his meeting with the parents of Alexample who was expelled from the college on grounds of a second-degree theft of what did not belong to him but was really meant for a superior.
He sighed wearily and began to walk away again afterward. That was taken care of now. But as he had told Zif, it still seemed like it was not enough for him. It actually felt to him as if nothing could ever amend to the great void he felt inside him for his grievance of what he had lost. He was halfway down the hall, walking very slowly, when he stopped short when he was startled by the sound of the front door to the college being knocked upon. It was a very heavy and hard knock also.
He groaned and grimaced and tried to walk a bit more quickly as he went to the door and opened it again. There stood the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman at his doorsteps. They were both smiling from ear to ear, especially the latter. They both looked at him in this way as if they thought he shouldn't have anything remotely to be upset about.
The Scarecrow took off his hat and tipped it to him. "Good morning, Professor Wogglebug!" he said cheerily. "It's such a lovely morning!"
He stared at him and scowled for a moment before he rasped at them, "Just why would this be a good morning to me? And why would there be anything lovely I would find about today, of all days? I would like to know!"
Both the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman abruptly stopped smiling. The Scarecrow stammered uneasily for a moment and then replied, "Well, it should be! After all, I just learned about how my dear Patachwork Girl has come home again! I hadn't even known she had been gone actually before now! But how glad I am she has come home at least! For I would have missed her most grievously if she had actually left for good! I hope she never decides to run away again, and even if she does she will just come to me instead!"
The Tin Woodman glanced toward the Scarecrow and nodded. Then turned to Professor Wogglebug and said, "And so of course there will be a welcome home party just for Scraps this evening. I am attending also, of course. As I will be so glad to be able to go to Scraps then and apologize to her for being so angry with her last week. I should have known. She can't help being the way she just is, and of course that is what makes her so special just the way she is! I am also so glad she came home again, or I would have felt so guilty in my heart that she had gone away!"
"Of course!" bewailed Professor Wogglebug. "Of course, Scraps has come home again and everyone is happy that she is! But my Air Castle is gone forever and it will never come back to me! And... it... is.. all... her... fault!"
The Scarecrow and Tin Woodman both looked quite taken aback by his sudden outburst. The Scarecrow began to stammer once again and couldn't seem to find words this time. So the Tin Woodman answered for him.
"I take it then you mean to say you will not be attending Scarps' welcome home party and are declining our invitation to come?" he said.
"What do you mean by having the audacity to want to invite me to a wretched get together event for that horrendously misshapen quilt covered bag of cotton stuffing!" Professor Wogglebug shouted so hard it made them both step back abashed.
"But... can't you just forgive Scraps for what happened to your Air Castle?" inquired the Tin Woodman.
"Well... let me think about it! Oh! No, I never can!" he replied in one great heated breath.
"Well... But I should have thought that Alexample was better deserving of an Air Castle vacation than you ever were!" said the Scarecrow as calmly as if he were answering a trivial question he didn't need to even think about. "Why can't you just be happy that your top student got it at least?"
Now Professor Wogglebug stared at the Scarecrow as if in shock for a moment. Then he began breathing very rapidly and looked him straight in the eyes and stated very coolly, "You, Scarecrow, have been reputed to have the best and greatest of brains in all of Oz, right?
"Right," said the Scarecrow rather confused at the questioning.
"Well," continued Professor Wogglebug, "it is a great wonder to me then that your brains can't register the fact I am too grieved in my loss to be happy for anyone or anything. I suppose it's true what I suspected all of the time. Your brains simply have a complete lack of sympathy or even empathy." Then he pointed an accusing finger at the Tin Woodman and added, "And you, Nick Chopper, claim to have a great heart that can feel a great deal of sympathy for others in pain. Well, I am afraid I must still let you know that until you have lost a great thing of your own creation, like an Air Castle crafted to your own specifications, you will be forever unwelcome to come back here and convey sympathy for what I have lost or tell me how I should feel or what I should do about it. Now, I don't mean to be rude to you, but I mean it when I say that I have no intention of attending the party you spoke of and I really, really don't want to see Scraps, or either of you again for a long, long time!"
"But you can't really mean that...?" The Scarecrow started to claim.
But just then Professor Wogglebug had gone swiftly back inside his college and slammed the door shut, right in their faces.
"I think he did mean it, really," stated the Tin Woodman.
"Boy! He is even ruder than I remember him last!" the Scarecrow said with exasperation.
"But, you know that he did have a point at least," said the Tin Woodman thoughtfully.
"What do you mean?" asked the Scarecrow curiously.
"I mean, he was right," Nick Chopper went on. "Neither of us had ever had our hearts broken by the loss of one such as he has just suffered. I suppose we can't understand, and he has gone through something of which only another someone who has suffered so great of loss or pain can understand."
The Scarecrow had to agree the Tin Woodman was making sense. "But who could that be who can understand him in ways we never will?" he inquired offhandedly.
"Who indeed?" echoed the Tin Woodman. "Who indeed, I'd like to know."