A/N: This is the fic for the winning bidder, Team Flippy Floppies (shalu, Becca Graymoor, TabithaAbraham, Elise Montgomery, Twirlgrrl, twowackykids, ceci9293, lulubelle—I hope I didn't forget anyone!), for the Support Stacie auction. I'd like to thank Team Flippy Floppies for not making me write slash.
This is probably the crackiest thing I've ever written, and that's saying something.
Disclaimer: I so don't own any of this, and I wish it hadn't come out of my brain. Holy crap, my brain is a scary place to be. Stephenie Meyer owns all things Twilight; Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, and Edgar Allen Woolf own The Wizard of Oz screenplay; and "Oh my god, they killed _________, you bastards," is freely borrowed from Matt Stone and Trey Parker (by request of TwirlGrrl).
The Wizard of Forks
A young girl in brown pigtails, except we can't tell that they're brown since everything is in black and white, comes running down the lane, holding a wee black doggie in her arms, one of those little yipping things you want to drop-kick into next week. The girl's face is turned down in a sour bitchface-like expression, and she stumbles every third or fourth step, swearing the whole way. She has that look on her face of a young Hollywood starlet who has been given barbiturates to sleep at night, and then amphetamines in the morning to get up and start her day. She also looks strangely as though she may become a gay cultural icon in the future. Don't ask how I know this. It's just a hunch.
Who am I? Pay no attention to the woman behind the keyboard.
More importantly, she is unaware of any of these things. Nor does she know that she will kill twice today, perhaps by accident, perhaps on purpose. But we know. Yes, we do. She is a killer.
"Auntie Em! Auntie Em!" she cries out, blinking rapidly and speaking with little inflection. It's sort of like a robot distress call, or a Speak-and-Spell. Or perhaps Steven Hawking's voicebox, except with less emotion.
A large man-woman-man comes hulking out of a tiny clapboard house. "Well, tarnation, what's gotten into your britches now, Miss Prissypants?" The she-man wears a frilly apron over a plain cotton dress, biceps bulging, straining the modest and practical fabric. S/he grins, displaying some killer dimples.
"Auntie Em! Old Miss Felch* hit JakeJake with her pokin' stick and threatened to call the sheriff just because she says JakeJake keeps leaving big challah-like turds in her yard!"
"Now, Bellathy, you made me lose count of my chickens. I love chickens. I love eggs. I was counting chickens and eggs. And then I was going to fill this bag with eggs and carry them around, because that's what your Auntie Em likes to do."
Bellathy kicks a pebble. "Isn't there anyone who cares what's happening to me and JakeJake?"
"I care!" says a scrawny little blonde kid.
"SHUT UP, NEWTON," says Auntie Em in a shockingly low voice.
"I thought I was going to be the Scarecrow," says the kid.
"What did I tell you about opening your piehole, Newton?" And with the grace and elegance of an inebriated wrestler, Auntie Em grabs this Newton and drop-kicks him into the neighbor's farm a good three acres away.
The Newton's scream grows then fades like a lit firecracker hurtling into space and exploding into a million pieces of light and ash and whatever stuff fireworks are made of. Gunpowder? Shit, I have no idea. This seemed like a good metaphor at the time, but now I seem kind of fucked.
So yeah, Newton's gone. But don't worry, perhaps he may show up again. I feel he is all right, although I think, if I squint, I can see him at the neighbor's farm, rubbing his testicles in pain.
Yes, Newton has testicles. Did you see in the summary where it says "OOC"? Yeah, that's what it means. OOC = Obligatory Ornamental Cockcessories.
Bellathy clears her throat. "I said, 'Isn't there ANYONE who cares what's happening to me and JakeJake?'"
A young farmworker in an inexplicable hoodie shrugs, tossing his canon-rust-colored hair, while millions of fangirls swoon. "Yeah," he says, taking a long drag of a cigarette. "I guess I care. Sort of. You know. Whatever, it's cool." As he speaks, smoke swirls out of his mouth like thick ropy strands of … ahem. Yes, no longer sexy. Sorry. Okay. Right. Where were we? Let's put it this way instead: He exhales, creating a fetishistic scopophiliac white and gray veil: misty, mysterious, and concealing, for the comfort of the male spectator, whether or not he possesses a penis.
He does, for the record, possess a penis. Does it sparkle? For serious, you are asking me this? Come on. We're in black and white anyway. Keep your panties on. Jesus.
Do you want me to start talking about Newton's balls again? No? Then shut it. Okay.
Hoodie-boy takes another drag from his cigarette, blowing smoke artfully out of the side of his mouth. "So, yeah, Bellathy. Use your brains or something. Why do you keep bringing JakeJake by Miss Felch's house?"
Bellathy exhales sharply, pouting. "I do so have brains. Ask me anything about mitosis. Go on; do it."
"Well, your head ain't made of straw, you know."
"What does that have to do with anything I just said?"
Hoodie Boy sighs, flicking away his spent cigarette. "I'm just setting up some stuff for the part after the … well, there are spoilers. Straw. Remember I said that. Straw and brains. That's me." He taps his head with his long, dirty-baseball-metaphor-fingerbang-thought-inspiring index finger. Tap, tap, tap.
Do you hear that sound? That's a million reader panties simultaneously filling with Virginal Bella Wetness™. Gush! Whoosh! Long, artful fingers! Sploosh!
"Uh, okay," says Bellathy, backing slowly away, but tripping over her feet and falling onto the smoldering cigarette butt. Her dress catches on fire, and JakeJake runs out of her arms, yipping and pissing himself. Bellathy burns up into a crisp, and the air is heavy with human bacon smell.
"Oh my god, you killed Bellathy!" cries Auntie Em, punching Hoodie Boy in the arm. "You bastard!"
"Motherfucker, that hurt," says Hoodie Boy, rubbing his arm. "And anyway, she did the trippin'."
Seconds later, Bellathy reemerges from behind the two arguing folks.
"What did I miss?" she asks brightly.
"Nothing," says Auntie Em, glaring at Hoodie Boy.
"Why does it smell like bacon?" she says as she sniffs the air.
"Never you mind, Miss Bellathy," says Hoodie Boy, chivalrously tugging his hood back (no, not that hood, Jesus!) and bowing.
While the fangirls recover from swooning at the display of such gallantry, farmhand Jasper exclaims, "Holy mother of god! I think my rheumatism is acting up. My joints are all rusted up."
"Quit yer bellyachin' and get back to work," says Auntie Em, picking up a rake and shaking it menacingly toward Jasper.
"Ma'am, you wouldn't treat me that way if you had a heart."
"Don't you go looking after my interior body parts! That's a lady's business," huffs Auntie Em.
"Stop fighting!" monotones Bellathy. "Won't anyone help me figure out what to do about Miss Felch?"
"I'm not fightin', darlin'," says Jasper, causing Jasperfans to *swoon* and everyone else in the fandom to barf into a bucket. Also, all the Texans are throwing things and ringing airhorns. Have you ever seen the entire state of Texas do an *epic flounce*? It's quite a sight. ("We do not all say 'darlin'' after everything, you fucks! Fuck all y'all!")
"You're not?" pouts Bellathy. "You could have fooled me."
"I'm just saying I'm all rusted up and that all y'all need to have a heart."
"Dude, I have no idea what you are saying."
"It's important, all right, li'l lady?" He tips his cowboy hat, and there are equal parts squeeing, barfing, and *entire state of Texas epic flouncing*.
"You guys are so unhelpful!" Bellathy stomps around, kicking up dust.
"Helloooooooo, everyone! Who's feeling fabulous today?" trills the third farmhand, throwing the barn doors open to make his grand entrance. He's practicing his catwalk. He struts in his custom-fit short-shorts overalls and a big feather boa. He wears no shirt underneath, in homage to Dexy's Midnight Runners. Don't ask him to tell the joke about "Come on Eileen" (comma omitted on purpose). The wind whistling in the ominously gray (well, everything is gray since we're in black and white, but this is a particularly ominous shade of gray) sky even seems to sing RuPaul's "Supermodel." He wears red patent leather platform thigh-high boots, perhaps not so suited for farmwork, but they sure make his ass look as firm and round as an Asian pear.
"Not me, Yorkie," sighs Bellathy. "Miss Felch wants to take JakeJake from me for his challah-turd problem."
"What? Who she? She's got manhands and smells like festering tampons. You going to let a skanky-ass ho like that bully you around? You shouldn't be afraid of that hot mess. You just need a little courage." He does this sort of claw like gesture and meows. "Mrowr! Fiiiiieeeeeeeeerce," he adds.
"I'm not afraid of her," says Bellathy, accidentally stepping on Auntie Em's rake and whacking herself in the forehead. The wooden rake handle striking her head sounds remarkably like two coconuts knocking together.
Auntie Em claps her big, meaty hands. "Everyone, back to work! I don't pay you to strut and foreshadow, you know."
"Auntie Em, you know what Miss Felch said she'd do to JakeJake here? She said she was gonna…"
"Now, Bellathy, dear, stop fretting. You get yourself in such a tizzy over nothing! Can you say 'drama queen'?"
"I can!" volunteers Yorkie.
"Shush it, you," says Auntie Em, giving Yorkie the Manly Eyes of Death. S/he turns to Bellathy and says, "Now do us all a favor and just find someplace where you won't get into any trouble."
"Someplace where there isn't any trouble," murmurs Bellathy as the farmhands go back to work and Auntie Em heads back inside. Bellathy scratches JakeJake behind the ears. "Do you suppose there's such a place? There must be. You can't get there by boat or train. It's far away, beyond the moon, beyond the rain…"
Oh, crap, thinks JakeJake. I think she's going to sing now. He puts his paws over his ears and prays for a quick death.
Bellathy begins to warble:
Somewhere, in the Olympic Peninsula, of northwest Washington State,
There's a town that I heard of that exists under a near-constant cover of clouds…
Christ, thinks JakeJake. That shit doesn't even rhyme. I want to die.
Luckily, JakeJake is saved by the bitch, as Miss Felch rides in on her bicycle, calling for Auntie Em. "Miss Gale!" she says as she dismounts, her prim glasses perched on the end of her nose.
"Howdy, Miss Felch," says Auntie Em, reemerging from the house.
"I need to talk to you about Bellathy."
"What's she done now?"
"It's not her; it's her dang dog. He keeps leaving these challah-sized turds in my yard! And he near bit me when I tried to shoo him off the property. You'll get him under control, or I'll get the sheriff to destroy him."
"Destroy him?" Bellathy says, with the same amount of emotion as if she were stating her name for the Senate Judiciary Committee. "Oh. You can't." It's possible she did some acting workshops with William Shatner.
"Well…" says Auntie Em, looking from Bellathy to Miss Felch warily.
"JakeJake didn't mean to poop on her lawn! He just has a high-fiber diet!"
Actually, that Felch bitch's lawn is primo pooping real estate, corrects JakeJake, but no one there speaks Dog.
"Do you know who I am?" says Miss Felch, straightening herself to full height. "I am Irina Felch!"
Auntie Em snickers a little.
"Irina Felch doesn't put up with this kind of assholery! She doesn't care if you are as prickly as a chocolate starfish! She will get all up in your ass and suck you dry!"
Auntie Em falls on the ground laughing.
"What?" hisses Miss Felch.
"Oh, nothing," s/he says, recovering, snickering a little still into the crook of his/her manly arm.
"I know the Sheriff! I've brownnosed for years to get him right in my back pocket. One waggle of my tongue, and he's already bent over his desk …"
Auntie Em falls down laughing again.
"For God's sake, what's wrong with you?" Irina Felch says, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. "Now you've got me foaming at the mouth. And look, I seem to have gotten some chocolate on my face."
Auntie Em tries to recover, but is now pounding both fists into the ground and kicking in glee. Between laughs, s/he says, "Well what if we tied up JakeJake here? He's real gentle—with gentle people, at least."
"No, that mutt is coming with me! I already have the order from the Sheriff!" Miss Felch produces the papers and throws them down to Auntie Em, who has finally managed to sit up.
"I pissed myself," s/he says matter-of-factly before reading the paperwork. "Oh dear. Now, Bellathy, the law is the law. I'm afraid we can't stand up to Miss Felch."
"I knew I could make you see reason."
"Yes, your brown eye is very convincing," says Auntie Em, suppressing a laugh.
Miss Felch produces a basket from the back of the bicycle. "I'll take him in this, so he can't attack me or poop any more challah-sized turds on my property again."
"You wicked old witch!" says Bellathy, again in Senate Judiciary Committee testifying voice. She turns to Auntie Em. "You can't let her take JakeJake! Please!" She mixes it up here, and uses more of a "pass the salt" inflection.
There's a bit of a scramble, and a lot of pouting and blinking, and sphincter-related double entendres, but JakeJake finally is shoved into the basket, and Miss Felch rides away. As she rides away and fades from vision, she's too busy pedaling to notice that JakeJake has nosed the basket open and hopped out, running right back to the Gale farm.
Bellathy is lying on her side in the dirt, curled up into a ball. "I feel his absence everywhere," she drones. "It's like a hole has been punched in my chest."
JakeJake yips and nudges her with his wet nose.
"JakeJake! You escaped! Oh but that awful Felch lady will be back—we've got to run away."
She runs to where any young girl on the lam would go: the carnival, with questionable male strangers. Excellent thinking there, young girl.
Setting up this scene is really tedious, so I'm going to cut to the chase. She runs into a strange man in a turban. He goes by the name "Professor Aro" and claims to read minds. He touches her hand and guesses … incorrectly. "Strange," he says, "that works with everyone else. Aren't you an oddity?"
"Whatever," she says.
"You want to go home, don't you?"
"No! I want to run away with you!"
"Jesus, kid, didn't anyone teach you about Stranger Danger?"
"What's that? It sounds exciting!"
"Why do you want to run away? I know I'm dashingly handsome in my big fancy cape and turban and various other accoutrements, but even so, you just met me! Also, I think it's a federal offense to take you across state lines."
"No one at home cares about me. They would let nasty old Miss Felch take JakeJake here away and kill him!"
"Okay, none of that made sense to me. But hey, let's look in the crystal ball, shall we?"
"Wiener?" he offers.
"You want me to suck on your wiener? If I do, will you tell me my future?"
"Seriously, I am going to be arrested. Do I look like Roman Polanski? Girl, I was talking about these Vienna cocktail sausages. Want a snack?"
"Oh! That! Um, no. Ew. I eat only veggie burgers. And bacon."
"More for me," he shrugs. "I do so love these tiny Vienna wienies in my mouth!"
From the farm, Auntie Em falls down laughing, not knowing why.
"Oh! I see something here!" announces Professor Aro, mumbling around a mouthful of wiener while staring into the crystal ball. "I see … a rather … burly woman … big biceps … dimples …"
"That's my Auntie Em!"
"Well she is on the floor, rocking back and forth. I think she's wet herself."
"Oh no, not Auntie Em!"
"I'm afraid the crystal's gone dark, dear."
"I've got to go!"
"What happened to running away with me?"
"Oh, she might be sick … or worse!"
"You'd better hurry, little girl—looks like a big storm's a-coming."
Bellathy runs as fast as her toothpick-stick legs will take her, tripping a few times, rolling on top of JakeJake, twisting her ankle in a ditch. At one point, an alligator comes leaping from the sky (no, really) and chomps her up in one big gulp.
Oh my god, you ate Bellathy! thinks JakeJake. You bastard!
A second later, Bellathy is there again, running as she sees the twister approaching. The twister resembles a giant utensil with four prongs. It's like a rapidly twirling fork, picking up gigantic spaghetti, except the spaghetti in this case is comprised of tractors, hay bales, houses, barns, and people.
At the Gale farm, everyone is hustling for the tornado shelter in the cellar. "What about Bellathy?" asks farmhand Hoodie Boy.
"I can't find her," says Auntie Em, a worry line etched in his/her forehead. "She must be out in this storm!"
"She seems to die a lot, doesn't she?" remarks farmhand Jasper.
"What? Shut your mouth," says Auntie Em. The twister is coming, so Auntie Em sighs and shuts the cellar doors.
Bellathy runs as fast as she can, JakeJake at her heels. "Auntie Em! Auntie Em!" she cries out as if testifying in front of the more hearing-impaired members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
She tries the cellar door, but it's locked, so she runs into the house instead. She sits on her bed, and there are some crazy but low-budget special effects as the house is torn from the foundation and sucked into the giant, twirling fork.
The house lands with a large crash. Bellathy and JakeJake are knocked off the bed. She takes him in her arms and walks out of the house. Suddenly, wham! Boom! Biff! Spooge! Everything is in color!
"JakeJake," she says, "I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." She looks at the green around her, the wetness, the near-constant cloud cover. "JakeJake! We must have gone over the Olympic Peninsula!"
She notices dozens of pairs of eyes on some very short people peeping out from behind giant fir trees. A woman with kind eyes and the biggest, pouffiest pink dress (even bigger than what Yorkie wears to go to town) approaches Bellathy. "Are you a good witch or a bad witch?" she asks.
"Are you a good witch or a bad witch?" she repeats, smiling warmly.
"I'm sorry … I don't understand …"
"Jesus Listening Skills Christ! It's a fairly straightforward question!"
"Well, uh, I guess I'm not a witch at all?" ventures Bellathy. "I'm Bellathy Gale from Kansas."
"Kansas? Aren't people from Kansas supposed to be tan?"
The pink puffy gown lady sees JakeJake squatting, pinching out a grade-A challah turd. She points to him. "Is that the witch?"
"Who, JakeJake? He's a dog."
"Well now, this is puzzling. The Vertically-Challengedkins called me to tell me that a new witch had dropped a house on the Wicked Witch of the East. And there's the house, and here you are, and … well … the Vertically-Challengedkins want to know if you're a good witch or a bad witch."
"Oh, but I already told you, I'm not a witch. Witches are old and ugly and smell like VapoRub." She hears high-pitched laughter. "What was that?"
"Oh, that's the Vertically-Challengedkins. You see, I am a witch."
"Is that why you smell like VapoRub?" interrupts Bellathy.
"I most certainly do NOT smell of this VapoRub. I am Esme, the Witch of the North."
"Oh! Well I'm terribly sorry," she says as if she is apologizing to the Senate Judiciary Committee for misappropriation of federal funds. "I've just never heard of a beautiful witch before."
"Only bad witches are ugly," says Esme the Good Witch. "As in the rest of life, pretty people can always be trusted. Ugly people are ugly for a reason. All that matters is what's on the outside! Isn't that a wonderful lesson to learn?"
"Uhhhh," says Bellathy.
"The Vertically-Challengedkins are happy because you have freed them from the Wicked Witch of the East."
"Excuse me, but I have to ask—Vertically Challengedkins?"
"Well, we are trying to be sensitive and politically correct. We used to call them Shortfucks-kins, and they complained, so … you know, you can't fight Shortfucks-kins Hall."
Behind Esme, there is the sound of a hundred tiny throats clearing emphatically. "I'm sorry," she says, rolling her eyes. "I mean, you can't fight Vertically-Challengedkins Hall." She glances around her. "All right, you little fu—Challengedkins, you can come out now."
A hundred tiny people pop out behind trees and bushes. They're all wearing teeny, tiny hoodies and teeny, tiny Chucks. Somewhere, angstgoddess003's head explodes.
They present Bellathy with gifts and songs, mostly dark emo poetry and a lot of shrugging.
In the middle of the Emo Shrugging Guild's presentation, a black cloud appears, and the Vertically-Challengedkins scatter. A woman looking remarkably like Miss Felch, only with green skin, emerges from the cloud.
"What's this?" asks Bellathy. "I thought you said the Wicked Witch was dead."
"That was her sister," explains Esme. "This is the Wicked Witch of the West. You killed East Saiiiieeeeeede Witch."
"Who killed my sister? Was it you?" demands old green-skinned Witchiepoo.
"No! I mean, maybe. Yes. Yes. Definitely yes. But it was an accident! I didn't mean to!" Bellathy says these things, rapidly blinking, stuttering a little, as if giving her lunch order to the Senate Judiciary Committee lunch-fetching intern.
"Didn't mean it? Accident? Well, my pretty, I can cause accidents too!" She raises her arms and is about to hex Bellathy but good when Esme interrupts.
"Aren't you forgetting the ruby Chucks?"
"Where? Where?" She runs for the house under which her sister lies.
With a tap of her sparkly wand, Esme makes the shoes disappear and reappear on Bellathy's feet.
"Where are they? What have you done with them?"
"Oh!" exclaims Bellathy, as if someone on the Senate Judiciary Committee let out a loud fart.
"Give me back those Chucks! You don't even know how to use them! They belong to me!"
"Keep tight inside them," Esme warns Bellathy.
"Oh, don't worry," she responds. "Apparently I'm always tight. Or something."
"Uhhhhhh," says Esme. "Anyway, they must hold some powerful magic if she wants them so badly. And she's ugly, isn't she? That's how you know how evil she is. Because pretty equals good. Never forget that. Ugly people? Evil. Always."
"Hey, so why did you have to ask me if I was a good witch or a bad witch?" says Bellathy, rather insulted, as if the Senate Judiciary Committee made disparaging remarks about her mother.
"You stay out of this, Esme, or I'll take care of you too!"
"Oh, fucksticks, you know you have no power here!" laughs Esme. "Now off with you before a house drops on you too!"
"This isn't over!" says the Witch, turning to Bellathy. "You'd better watch your back, my pretty."
"See?" says Bellathy. "Even the ugly one thinks I'm pretty. So what's your problem?"
"Hey! I'm still right here!" says the Wicked Witch.
"Sorry," shrugs Bellathy. "But facts is facts. You is oooooglay."
"Rude," says the Witch as she disappears in another puff of smoke.
"It's safe again, my little fu—Challengedkins!" As the little hoodied masses come out of hiding, Esme turns to Bellathy. "I'm afraid you've made a pretty powerful enemy. You do not fuck with the Wicked Witch of the West."
"Gee, thanks," says Bellathy. "Then why'd you give me these ruby Chucks?"
"Errrm," says Esme. "You should find your way out of Forks as quickly as possible!" she exclaims brightly.
"Well, how do I get back to Kansas?"
"I suppose you will have to seek the Wizard of Forks."
"The Wizard of Forks?"
"Must you repeat everything I say?"
"Everything you say?"
"Oh for fuck's sake, child, are you touched?"
"No!" exclaims Bellathy. "That man said he didn't want to be the next Roman Polanski."
"Errrrrrrm," says Esme again, uncomfortable. "Uhhhhhh. Yes. As I was saying, Wizard of Forks."
"Is he a good wizard or a bad wizard?"
"Oh, he's good. He's very good." Esme flushes and fans herself. "I mean, erm, he's good but very mysterious."
"Honestly, is there an echo in here?"
"Here?" asks Bellathy.
"Anyway," says Esme, glaring at Bellathy. "He lives in the Emerald Township, which is a little ways from here. Did you bring your broomstick with you?"
"I … was not aware that there would be a cleaning requirement," says Bellathy.
"Well then, I suppose you'll have to walk. The fu—Challengedkins will see you safely to the edge of Fu—Vertically-Challengedkinland. And remember, never let those ruby Chucks off your feet, or you'll be at the mercy of that ugly, ugly witch. And remember, ugly people? Evil."
"But … but …"
"Dear, just follow the Dazzling Road."
"Yes! Yes! Yes!" shout all the Challengedkins, bouncing up and down. "Follow the Dazzling Road!"
"Follow the … Dazzle … ing … Road?" Bellathy asks, scrunching up her face.
"Follow the Dazzling Road!" they repeat.
"I'm sorry, I'm afraid I still don't understand."
"FOLLOW THE MOTHERFUCKING DAZZLING ROAD," they bellow as one.
"Jeez, okay, okay, no need to be so vulgar."
They send her off, waving and smiling until she's out of sight.
"What a stupid fuck," the Mayor of the Challengedkins mutters, shaking his head and puffing on a wee cigar.
"Okay, so I'm following this Dazzling Road. It is rather dazzling, all sparkly, the pavement of a killer, etc." Bellathy talks to JakeJake as she wanders. "Oh!" she suddenly exclaims, as if the Senate Judiciary Committee intern has come back with her lunch but forgotten the mustard packet she'd requested. There is a fork in the road. Not to say, a literal fork, as we are in Forks, but the path just divides, and … okay this is taking too long. The road splits, okay? Don't make me bring out the Mayor of Challengedkinland. He'll cut you.
"Gosh, which way do I go?"
From behind a fence, a voice says, "This way is nice. Also this other way."
"Who said that?" asks Bellathy to JakeJake.
I'm a fucking dog. And you don't speak Dog. Why do you even talk to me? I wish I were dead, says JakeJake with a doggy whine.
"What? You say it's this scarecrow?"
Jesus, YOU DON'T SPEAK DOG. Stop anthropomorphizing me, you stupid fuck.
"But, silly JakeJake, scarecrows don't talk."
"Yes, both ways are very nice ways to go," says the voice again.
"You did talk, didn't you, Mr. Scarecrow?"
The scarecrow nods for a while, but then suddenly shakes his head.
"Are you doing that on purpose, or can you not make up your mind?"
"That's the trouble," says the scarecrow sadly. "My head's stuffed with straw. I have no mind to make up. I haven't got a brain."
"Well, how can you talk if you don't have a brain?"
"I don't know, but some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don't they?"
Preaching to the choir, buddy, thinks JakeJake, looking at Bellathy with disdain.
"I like fruit cocktail," says Bellathy, "but not if it has mandarin oranges in it. That's some freaky shit."
"Ummmmm," says Scareward.
Bellathy climbs over the fence, trips, falls, and cracks her head open. Blood and goo spill out of her cranium as she does her Humpty Dumpty impression.
"Oh my!" exclaims Scareward. "You killed … yourself! You bastard!"
There's a popping sound, and Bellathy appears, healthy again, behind Scareward. "So, we haven't been properly introduced. I'm Bellathy."
"How … you were …"
You get used to it, says JakeJake, knowing no one can understand him. He sighs a big doggy sigh. I wish I were dead, he thinks again.
"Yeah, that happens," shrugs Bellathy. She tries to curtsey, but she falls over, exposing her canon panties. "How do you do?"
"Meh," says Scareward. "It's very tedious standing out here all day with this pole up my … hey, do you hear snickering?"
From inside the cellar back in Kansas, Auntie Em chuckles to him/herself, again not understanding why.
"Can't you get down from up there?" asks Bellathy. "Also, I've never seen a scarecrow in a hoodie. And is that a cigarette in your hand?"
"What? Oh, this?" Scareward waves his lit cigarette casually, blowing out a puff of smoke from the side of his mouth.
"Is that wise, you know, being flammable and all?"
"We all gotta go sometime," Scareward says, carefully stubbing out the cigarette on his tongue.
Bellathy climbs up behind Scareward and unties a few things, and he comes toppling down.
"That's very kind of you, so kind," he says, picking up his straw stuffing and jamming it all over.
"Here, let me," says Bellathy, grabbing handfuls of straw and putting them down the front of his pants. "Yes. Yes, this will do nicely."
"Check out my package!" exclaims Scareward, turning his crotch this way and that to see it from all angles.
"Mmm," says Bellathy.
"Boogity boogity boogity!" says Scareward suddenly.
"What is that, Scarecrow foreplay?" asks Bellathy.
"Did I scare you?"
"Uh, not exactly."
"I didn't think so." He sits morosely. "I'm such a failure, because I haven't got a brain."
"Well, what would you do with a brain if you had one?" asks Bellathy, as if she is asking the Senate Judiciary Committee if they would allow her to take a short bathroom break.
"Do? Why if I had a brain I could …"
Music swells in the background, and JakeJake thinks, Oh god, he's going to sing too. I wish I were dead.
And sure enough, Scareward begins to sing:
I could drive a silver Volvo,
And oil up your window,
To be quiet as the rain.
Though some would call it stalking
I don't think that you'd be balking
If I only had a brain …
"Uh, whut?" says Bellathy.
"I mean, whatever," he shrugs, trying to look casual and not like a creepy Scareward stalker. "So, uh, where are you going?"
"I'm trying to find the Wizard of Forks so I can go back home to Kansas."
"Kansas, eh?" he says, acting like he doesn't care one way or the other. "What, uh, street? And which room would be your bedroom? I mean, I ask for no particular reason. It just helps me picture … stuff. You know, not having a brain and all."
"Uhhhhh," says Bellathy.
"I mean, OH, could I come with you? To see this Wizard of Forks? Do you think he might be able to give me some brains?"
"I don't know, but you'd be no worse off than you are now." Bellathy brushes a bit of dust off her ruby Chucks. "Oh, but I do feel I should mention that I pissed off an evil witch earlier today. You might get into trouble."
"Why, I'm not afraid of anything—except a lit match!"
"Uhhh, weren't you smoking a few minutes ago?"
"Duh, I used my lighter."
Can we get this show on the road? Maybe the Wizard of Forks will kill me. God, I wish I were dead, JakeJake whimpers.
"Aw, I think he likes you!" exclaims Bellathy.
None. Of. You. Speak. DOG! growls JakeJake. Motherfucker, why do I even bother?
"Well, let's get going," Bellathy says, looping her arm through Scareward's. They skip and sing—badly—while JakeJake continues to wish for his own death.
It's several hours later, and it's been slow going on the Dazzling Road. "I'm so hungry," says Bellathy. Suddenly, glossy red apples catch her eye. "Apples! Oh look, apples!" She picks an apple and is surprised when the tree grabs the apple back and slaps her hand. "Ow!" she screams.
The tree speaks. "What do you think you're doing?"
"I was hungry, so I thought I could eat one of your apples."
"Oh, oh, isn't that rich? She was hungry," the tree announces to the other trees. "How'd you like it if someone came up and picked your apples?"
"Duh, I don't have apples."
"Come along, Bellathy. You don't want any of those apples. Mealy. I bet they're full of worms." Scareward tugs on Bellathy's arm.
"Hey, I got tested six months ago! I'm clean!" insists the tree. "I mean, there was that one time I was rubbing up against that tree when I was in Tijuana, and maybe she had kind of some sore things on her bark, but she swore she was … oh fuck me." He chucks apple after apple at Bellathy's head, and Scareward catches one in his pale, cupped hands.
"Whoa, that looks like, uh, just really familiar," says Bellathy, scratching her head. "I think I saw a book cover like that, maybe?"
Please, huffs JakeJake. Like you even know how to read.
"Anyway," she says as she takes the apple from Scareward. She hurries over to gather the other apples until she comes across something long and hard and—before you get too excited—metallic. "Huh," she says. As she looks up, she sees the long, hard, (don't get too excited) metallic thing is a leg of a man made entirely of tin.
"Oil can," says the man.
"Oil can?" repeats Bellathy.
"Oil can?" laughs Scareward nervously. "Why would I have an oil can? That's only for stalkers! I'm not a stalker!"
"Oil can," says the tin man again, gesturing with one metallic eyebrow at an oil can at his foot.
"Oh!" exclaims Bellathy as if the Senate Judiciary Committee's Committee Clown blew a spitball at her. "There is an oil can here. What do you want oiled up first?"
Somewhere, Auntie Em stuffs her fist in her mouth to stop herself from laughing.
"What was that?"
"My mouth, you dumbfuck!" he says between clenched teeth.
She obeys, and soon he speaks. "My goodness, I can speak again! How wonderful!"
"Is that a tin cowboy hat on your head?" she asks.
"Yes it is, darlin'," says Tinsper. "Now can you grease up all my joints?"
"Okayyyy," says Bellathy, quickly oiling him all over.
"That's my ass!" shrieks Tinsper.
"Oops, that's not a joint?"
"Ass joint? Are you kidding me? Oh crap, it's like a suppository … standing out here for a year, rusted up colon, oh jesus, it's gonna blow."
JakeJake perks up. Let's see if the tin thing can shit as big as I can.
"Oh… oh no, and it's gone again."
I'm still the king of Shit Mountain, nods JakeJake to himself.
"So what the hell happened to you?" asks Bellathy.
"Well, I was chopping a tree when it started to rain. And I just rusted shut mid-chop!"
"You'll be right as rain—oh, I mean, right as non-rust-inducing precipitation—in no time."
"No, I won't," says Tinsper sadly. "Listen to this." He pounds on his chest, and it makes a hollow sound. "It's empty. The tinsmith forgot to give me a heart."
"No heart?" exclaim Bellathy and Scareward together.
Music swells again, and JakeJake starts to dig a hole. No more motherfucking singing, he howls.
"Aw, JakeJake is sad you don't have a heart too!" says Bellathy.
I wish I were dead, he thinks, sticking his head in his newly dug hole.
Tinsper starts to sing:
When a man is good n' Texan
He likes to get some schmexin'
The finest form of art.
I could pound hole for hours
Finish up with golden showers …
If I only had a heart …
He stops singing, and Scareward, Bellathy, and JakeJake are all staring at him with open mouths. There is no sound but the chirping of crickets.
Finally Bellathy speaks. "Uh, I'm not quite sure what those things have to do with having a heart."
"I can't expect someone like you to understand the needs of a man made of tin. I have needs. Sexual needs. Urinating on people needs."
"And the heart will help you how?"
"Can't pee meaningfully without a heart," Tinsper says sadly.
"Well, why don't you come with us? We're heading to the Emerald Township to ask the Wizard of Forks to help JakeJake and me to get back home, and Scareward here is going to ask for some brains. Maybe he'd help you get a heart."
"Well, what if he can't help me out?"
"Oh he will! He must!" she says as if the Senate Judiciary Committee had just informed her they were taking a short recess. "We've come such a long way already!"
There's cackling, and the Wicked Witch appears. "You call that long?"
"Why, hello there, green lady," says Tinsper, waggling his rusty eyebrows. "I got something long for you. You look like the kind of lady who might like to get urinated on."
"Uhhhhhhhhhhh," says the Witch. "I was going to do my scary act and threaten you all, like say I was going to set Scareward on fire, and make, like, a bunch of cans out of Tinsper, but I have to be honest; I'm a little creeped out right now."
"Aw, come on, baby," says Tinsper. "Bellathy here just oiled up my hips real good. You know what they say … Green loves peen."
"Uhhhhhhhhhh," says the Witch again. "That's terribly racist. And not true. And ew."
"I'm so filled with tin urine and jizz!" cries Tinsper. "It's all pointy and metallic! I need some sweet green pussy…"
"I'm, uh, going to go now," says the Witch. "Bellathy, I'll get you, uh, maybe. Oh god, I think I'm going to throw up." She poofs and disappears.
"That was awesome thinking!" cries Bellathy, blinking rapidly. "To disgust her to the point of running away?"
"Uh, yes. That was my plan all along," says Tinsper, looking shiftily from side to side.
"Let's find the Wizard!" she says as if asking the Senate Judiciary Committee if they had a pencil she could borrow.
They link arms and continue down the Dazzling Road.
It's beginning to get dark as the three people and JakeJake come to the edge of a forest. "I don't like the look of that," says Bellathy. "It's scary in there. Do you think we might find any … wild animals?"
Tinsper shrugs squeakily. "I never met an animal I didn't want to pee on."
"Yes, that is the most upsetting thing you could have said in this moment," says Scareward.
"Anyway, that forest is probably filled with lions and tigers and bears. That I want to pee on," he adds hastily.
"Why don't you go first?" asks Scareward. "So you can get, you know, first spray? And try not to backsplash, okay?"
They form a bit of a conga line as they chant, "Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!" Or, in the case of Tinsper, "Lions and tigers and bears (for me to pee on)."
Suddenly there's a strange sound, and Bellathy turns entirely blue.
"Bellathy, why are you blue?" asks Scareward with some concern.
"Shit, not again," says Bellathy as a giant yellow circle emerges from behind a tree and chomps Bellathy completely. "Fuck you, Pac-Man!" Bellathy cries out as if the Senate Judiciary Committee just informed her that they would have to reconvene at 8AM the next morning.
"You ate Bellathy!" Tinsper calls out at the quickly retreating Pac-Man. "You bastard! Come back and let me pee on you!"
Bellathy's eyes hang in the air, blinking rapidly.
"Why do you blink so much?" asks Scareward.
"It's how I, you know, express my emotions," she says as if reading the eye chart at the ophthalmologist's. Blink, blink, blinkety blink blink blink.
After a time, Bellathy's body flashes and disappears a few times before she becomes solid again, and back to her original skin tone.
They continue through the woods. "Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! (For me to pee on!)"
"Who's faaaaabulous?" cries out a voice in the darkness.
"Who's there? Who is it?" asks Scareward.
"And can I pee on you?" asks Tinsper.
"Buy me a drink first, jesus. I'm not a manwhore. Put 'em up. Put 'em up." A lion emerges from behind the shadows, paws up in pugilist form. He looks over Tinsper and Scareward. "Why, hello! I'll fight you on one foot! I'll fight you with one paw tied behind my back! Do you … want to wrestle?"
"Errrrrrrrm," says Scareward, backing up slowly.
"Are you scared? Mrowr?" He hisses and makes like he's an extra in Cats. "Isn't my mane fabulous?" He shakes out his tawny curls.
JakeJake runs for him, hoping the lion will devour him. I wish I were dead, he thinks as he bolts. But before he can find the sweet, sweet release of death, Bellathy is there, swatting the lion on the nose.
"My nose!" he shrieks. "Now I'll never be a teen model!"
Bellathy grabs JakeJake and clutches him to her chest.
Motherfucker, thinks JakeJake. I was so goddamn close.
"What'd you go and do that for? I just had a facial! If you broke any capillaries, so help me, God…"
"Why, you're nothing but a great big coward!"
"I'm not exactly sure how you got coward from that. I'm the Gaysianly Lion. How do you do?" He holds out a freshly manicured paw. "Careful, the acrylic tips aren't dry yet."
"Nice to, uh, meet you," says Bellathy. "Listen, we're all heading toward the Emerald Township to find the Wizard of Forks. Is there anything you need? I'm trying to get home; Scareward would like a brain, and Tinsper would like a heart."
"I'd like to know how to do the Worm—do you think your Wizard can hook me up?"
"Well, I don't see why not," says Bellathy.
When the music swells, JakeJake starts running headfirst into the nearest tree over and over again.
The Gaysianly Lion sings:
My physique is much admired,
My wardrobe quite inspired,
The gentlemen all squirm.
Still, my taint would get more lickin'
And my ass would get more stickin'
If I only knew the Worm.
"I can't believe you guys were grossed out by my urination needs," says Tinsper as soon as the Gaysianly Lion's song is finished.
"Uh, no, actually, your song was way worse," says Bellathy. "His was kind of cute. And I love the Worm! Who doesn't?"
"Fine," Tinsper pouts, stomping away all metallic and clompily.
"To Forks!" shouts Scareward, running to catch up with Tinsper.
"To Forks!" says Gaysianly Lion.
"To Forks!" monotones Bellathy.
I wish I were dead, thinks JakeJake.
Inside her crystal ball, the Wicked Witch of the West watches the scene play out. "So, my warnings don't scare you, eh? I'll take care of you before you get anywhere near Forks. I'll get my hands on those ruby Chucks. And now, my pretties, something poisonous, but beautiful, and with an enchanting smell … hmmm … yes … bacon. Lots of bacon. Baaaacooooon." She rubs her hands together.
In the distance our protagonists can see the jagged, fork-like outline of the Emerald Township's grand castle. "We're nearly there!" Bellathy says with the excitement of a priest reading out the bingo numbers in a dank church basement.
"Mmmmmm, do you smell that?" asks Bellathy suddenly.
"Can it be?" asks Scareward.
"Bacon? Bacon? I love bacon so much that I wouldn't even need to pee on it before I put it in my mouth," says Tinsper.
It's BACON! thinks JakeJake, happy for the first time in his life. BACONBACONBACONBACONBACON!
They all run toward a field of swaying strips of bacon. They gobble as they go, rubbing bacon grease all over themselves. "I don't even need the oil can now!" exclaims Tinsper. "Bacon makes the best lube."
"Oh, my head," says Bellathy. "Nitrates. Oh. So many nitrates. I have to lie down. Bacon coma."
"It's killer for my waistline, but I do so love bacon," says the Gaysianly Lion. He yawns. "I'm heading for bacon coma too, you fabulous so-and-so." He topples over, paws up.
"Hey, they're asleep," says Tinsper to Scareward. "Do you think I could …"
"NO, Tinsper, you may not pee on them just because they are asleep."
"You have no heart," says Tinsper, pouting.
"How are you even pouting?" asks Scareward. "You're entirely metal. Do you even have lips?"
"That's rather personal, isn't it, shit-for-brains?"
"Ahem, it's straw-for-brains, MR. Straw-for-Brains if you're nasty. Which you are."
They proceed to bicker while JakeJake, Bellathy, and the Gaysianly Lion snooze in their respective bacon comas.
"Stop!" says Scareward finally. "We need to get these guys out of this cursed bacon field! Help me, or I'll see that you never pee on anything again."
"You can't stop my mighty tin urethra," says Tinsper.
"I got straw for days, freaky tin guy," says Scareward. "I don't think they'd feel so good jammed up your tinrethra there."
"Fine," huffs Tinsper, as he tries to drag the sleepers away from the bacon.
"Oh, this won't do at all. We need help. HELP!" cries Scareward.
Esme's face appears in the sky.
"Can you help us?" asks Scareward.
"I don't know—what counteracts bacon?"
"Oh god, NOTHING!" whimpers Scareward.
"Maybe if I pee on them?" suggests Tinsper.
"For fuck's sake, NO. You are so disgusting," says Scareward.
"You know, your urinating friend might be onto something," murmurs Esme.
"What?" asks Scareward, who has taken some straw out of his pants and is preparing to jam them up Tinsper's tinrethra.
"It's just that nothing cures a bacon coma but time, but if they're in the field of Eternal Bacon, they won't ever get that bacon out of their systems. Pee, Tinsper! Pee for all you are worth!"
"Aw man, now that's too much pressure," grumbles Tinsper. He stands over the sleeping figures and wiggles his clunky metal ass a little. "Nope. Not even a drop," he says sadly, shaking his head.
"Okay, let me see what I can do," sighs Esme. She waves her wand, and stuff starts falling from the sky, wet and golden.
"Whose pee is this?" demands Scareward.
"Um, I'm not sure," says Esme.
"Did you have to use the pee of someone who's been eating asparagus?"
"Desperate times, etc.!" shouts down Esme.
"You know you can never get the urine smell out of straw," complains Scareward.
"What. The. FUCK?" says Bellathy, waking at last. "Why you gotta be killing my bacon buzz? Is this … PEE?"
"She's waking up!" claps Scareward. "Let's go, let's go!"
"Jesus, this is fucked up," says the Gaysianly Lion, stretching and coming to. "This is nasty! Asparagus pee!"
I was almost dead from bacon, thinks JakeJake. Why do you hate me, God? Why? Is it so much to ask, to die in a field of bacon? Apparently so. He shuffles to his feet and runs after the others, shaking his coat to try to shake the urine off.
"Wait!" cries Bellathy. "We can't leave Tinsper behind!"
Tinsper has rusted completely again. It seems he can dish the urine but can't take the urine. Bellathy looks for the oil can to no avail. She grabs the cursed bacon and rubs it all over. Eventually Tinsper becomes unstuck.
"Hoist by my own petard. Of urine," he adds sadly.
But their sadness and disgust are quickly forgotten as they reach the Emerald Township.
"We made it! We're here! The Wizard of Forks!" says Bellathy as if the Senate Judiciary Committee had just announced the new per diem rates for people testifying.
She boldly knocks on the big door. "Hoom," says the mustachioed man who answers. "What do you want?"
"Well, we're here to see the Wizard of Forks."
"The Great Fork? You've come to see the Great Fork? But nobody sees him! Nobody has ever seen him!"
"Well, then how do you know he exists?" asks Scareward.
"Why do you smell like bacon, asparagus, and pee?" asks the doorman.
"Are we playing a game of questions?" asks Scareward.
"Do you want to play a game of questions?" says the doorman.
"Not particularly," says Scareward.
"I win! I win I win I win!" [holy] crows the doorman.
"I wasn't playing," says Scareward. "Now look, you've got to let us in, or else that tin fellow back there?" Tinsper tips his metallic cowboy hat. "He's going to pee on the castle. He might well put his tin penis through this little peephole and flood the entire city."
Tinsper nods. "I haven't peed in years."
"Uh, okay, I guess you can come in," says the doorman, shuddering. He looks them over as they shuffle in and wrinkles his nose. "You cannot approach the Great Fork in this horrifying state. The citizens of Forks will take care of you."
The Gaysianly Lion claps his paws together. "MAKEOVER!" he cheers.
Then we have a MONTAGE of hairstyling, wardrobe, makeup, massages, and the biggest, shiniest urinal in the world for Tinsper. Everyone emerges refreshed and smelling far less of asparagus pee.
They are all about to hug when they hear a terrible racket in the sky. It's the Wicked Witch of the West! She's found them! She rides on her broom and spells out in gigantic letters, "SURRENDER, BELLATHY."
"What does that say?" asks Bellathy. "S-s-uh-rrrr … oh this is too hard."
What a moron, thinks JakeJake. Why couldn't I have died in the field of bacon?
Scareward says, "Uh, it says, I believe, 'Surrender, Bellathy.'"
"Why, that's me!" says Bellathy.
"Uh, yes," says Scareward.
"Let's find the Wizard," suggests Tinsper. "And no, I am not going to pee on him. Ew. I don't pee on wizards. I have morals."
There's some malarkey with the guard at the Great Fork's palace, but Bellathy blinks and stutters her way in.
The four unlikely friends and JakeJake slowly make their way into the hall of the Great Fork.
"I AM THE FORK, GREAT AND WONDERFUL!" booms a giant head floating before them.
"'Sup?" nods Bellathy. "I'm Bellathy, and these are my buddies Scareward, Tinsper, and the Gaysianly Lion."
"I KNOW WHY YOU ARE HERE, SILLY HUMANOIDS."
"Oh really?" asks Scareward.
"YOU DARE ASK FOR A BRAIN, YOU SACK OF STRAW?"
"Well, I thought …"
"HOW CAN YOU THINK WITHOUT A BRAIN, STRAW-MAN?"
"Testy," says Scareward.
"AND YOU, TINSPER. A HEART? JUST SO YOU CAN PEE WITH MORE EMOTION ON PEOPLE AND THINGS? REALLY? DOES THAT … DO ANYTHING FOR YOU?"
"That's rather personal now, isn't it?" huffs Tinsper.
"GAYSIANLY LION. SERIOUSLY, YOU CAME ALL THIS WAY TO LEARN HOW TO DO THE WORM? THE WORM? HONESTLY? NO ONE'S DONE THE WORM IN LIKE TWO DECADES."
"I'm retro-chic, bro," says the Gaysianly Lion.
"DON'T CALL ME BRO, BRO."
"Hey! These are my friends. And we've come a long way. And I want to get home. Esme sent me here. She said you'd help."
"OH VERY WELL, BUT QUID PRO QUO."
For God's sake, why am I surrounded by morons? mutters JakeJake to himself.
"I WILL SCRATCH YOUR BACK IF YOU SCRATCH MY BACK."
"Uh, I hate to break it to you, guy, but you're just a head. You don't have a back to scratch."
"I WAS SPEAKING METAPHORICALLY."
Seriously. Someone just kill me, thinks JakeJake.
"FOR FUCK'S SAKE, I WILL GRANT YOUR WISHES IF YOU DO SOMETHING FOR ME FIRST. JESUS!"
"I … have to do Jesus?" asks Bellathy. "That … seems kind of wrong. And also impossible."
"JUST BRING ME THE WITCH'S BROOMSTICK, AND I'LL GRANT YOU EVERYTHING YOU HAVE ASKED. IS THAT CLEAR ENOUGH FOR YOU?"
"I think I have it," says Bellathy. "Now what's this about backs?"
"JUST GET OUT."
"Going, going, sheesh. What died up your butt?" Bellathy mumbles.
As they leave the Emerald Township, Scareward says, "So I guess we have to go to the Witch's castle and get her broom."
"Oh, is that what he was asking?" says Bellathy. "I had trouble with his accent. Also his lack of body. Creepy. And he kept talking about back scratching," she says, shaking her head. "What a moron."
Kill me. Kill me now, thinks JakeJake.
The Witch's castle seems quiet, but she's been watching this whole time through her crystal ball. "Fly, fly, my pretties!" she says to her army of flying monkeys. They are all in little bellhop uniforms. The head monkey has blond hair.
"Are you serious? A flying monkey. A flying monkey. You should have left me in the field, rubbing my balls."
"Can it, Newton," snaps the Wicked Witch. "Now go get me Bellathy and those ruby Chucks!"
"Done and done," says Newton, his leathery batwings flapping rapidly as he barrels out the open window.
Newton actually comes through for once and soon drags back Bellathy and JakeJake in his prehensile toes.
"Excellent, monkey boy," purrs the Witch.
Newton sighs. "I have a name, you know," he mutters.
"So!" the Witch says as Bellathy cowers in front of her. "The ruby Chucks are finally MINE!" She reaches down to unlace them, but there are sparks and shocks as she tries to touch the shoes. "Oh, I'm such a fool," she says to herself. "They'll never come off while she's still alive."
"Who in the what now?" asks Bellathy. "You are … going to make me … not alive?"
Okay, this just turned into the best day ever, thinks JakeJake.
"Run, JakeJake, run!"
JakeJake doesn't move. I'm going to enjoy this, he thinks, settling in for a show.
The Wicked Witch of the West takes a ginormous hourglass and turns it over. "See this, precious? That's how much time you've got left."
"Uh, how do you read sand? 'Oh, it's three grains past eleven'? How am I supposed to … my god, woman, have you ever heard of digital?"
"An hour. You have an hour. That's like two episodes of 'Charles in Charge.'"
"I hate that show!"
"Exactly. See you soon." She exits dramatically, except her cape gets stuck on a nail, jerking her back. "Ahem," she says, swishing her cape and striding out, trying to regain her dignity.
Bellathy notices the big crystal ball and peers into it. "Auntie Em! Auntie Em! I'm frightened! I don't know how to tell time with sand! And I think I still smell like asparagus pee! Oh how I wish I were home."
Meanwhile, the others have snuck into the castle and are searching out Bellathy. They call her name.
"Here! I'm here!" she says with the enthusiasm of a TSA guy checking your ID against your plane ticket.
"We'll get you out!" says Scareward.
"Can I pee on the door?" asks Tinsper.
"Do you pee pure acid that eats through wood?"
"Not so much," says Tinsper.
"Then, no," says Scareward.
"Right," says Tinsper. "How about I chop the door down with my axe?"
A few chops later, and the door is in splinters. Scareward, Tinsper, and the Gaysianly Lion rush in and hug Bellathy. "Thank god you're here!" says Bellathy.
Goddammit, thinks JakeJake. So close. We were so close.
The gang begins to leave, running as fast as they can for the exit.
"Going so soon?" It's the Witch!
"I've got, you know, dinner reservations," says the Gaysianly Lion, fiddling with his tail.
"Hey, Scareward, how about some fire?" The Witch throws a big fireball toward Scareward, whose straw immediately catches on fire.
"It burns! It burns!" whimpers Scareward.
"I got this! I got this!" says Tinsper. He lets out a fire hose-like stream of pee, putting out the fire. Bellathy grabs him from behind and aims some of the pee on the Wicked Witch.
"Aw HELLS NO, you did NOT just pee on me," says the Witch.
"I did, and I liked it. How was it for you, baby? Green likes peen, baby. Green likes peen. And pee. I mean pee."
"It burns!" shouts the Wicked Witch. "I'm melting … I'm melting … in urine, oh mah gah, this is disgusting … honestly, who PEES on people? What is WRONG with you? … Melting … melting … how do you even create urine inside that tin body? So many questions … agh, the urine, the urine! Melting!"
She sizzles and shrinks until nothing is left but her pointy hat and a puddle of urine.
"Huzzah!" shout Scareward and the Gaysianly Lion.
"Woo. And hoo," says Bellathy, blinking rapidly. "Wow, I didn't die that time. That's … different."
Scareward grabs the broomstick left on the floor and says, "To the Wizard!"
"WHY HAVE YOU COME BACK?" booms the Great Fork's voice.
"Well, sir, we brought you the Witch's broomstick, as you asked."
"WHAT? THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A SUICIDE MISSION."
If only, sighs JakeJake.
"Well, here's the broomstick. And you promised. You promised. Now take me home."
"WELL I WILL HAVE TO THINK ABOUT THIS. YOU SHOULD COME BACK TOMORROW."
"Tomorrow? What? I mean, we did everything you asked. Take me home! Give Scareward his brain! Give Tinsper his heart! Teach the Gaysianly Lion how to do the Worm!"
"DO NOT AROUSE THE WRATH OF THE GREAT FORK."
JakeJake smells something—bacon and Vienna sausages. He goes sniffing for the source of the meaty aromas.
Bellathy says, "If you were so great, you'd keep your promises, Mr. Promise Breaker!"
"DO YOU PRESUME TO CRITICIZE THE GREAT FORK? DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? I AM THE GREAT FORK! I … I …"
JakeJake has found the source of bacon and Vienna sausages—a familiar, dotty old man behind a curtain. The dog pulls it back.
"PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN WITH THE VIENNA SAUSAGE IN HIS MOUTH."
Bellathy and Scareward walk forward, hand in straw hand, to confront the man behind the curtain, which totally sounds like a euphemism but is not.
"You? You're the Great Fork?"
"Erm, in a word, yes."
"You're a bad, bad man," says Bellathy, with a particularly fascinating rate of blinking.
"Beg to differ. I am a good man, just a bad wizard."
"Well, what about everything you promised us?" demands Bellathy. "Scareward's brains? Tinsper's heart? Gaysionly Lion's mad Worm skills?"
"Oh, but, my dears, you've always had these things."
"Don't turn your throne room into a chamber of lies," says Scareward with disgust.
"No, I'm serious. Here, bam, I'm giving you a degree. It's written on sheepskin. And it's in Latin. Now you are Doctor Scareward. How does it feel?"
"Why, my head doesn't feel empty anymore! I feel … a strange helplessness."
"Yes, that's the weight of tenure track."
"What about my heart?" asks Tinsper.
"Why do you want a heart?"
"Don't ask," say Bellathy, Scareward, and the Gaysianly Lion together. "Really. Trust us."
"Well, how about a nice Flavor-Flav-style clock to wear around your neck? It's heart-shaped."
"Gimme, gimme, gimme!" says Tinsper, bouncing metallically up and down on his big metal feet.
The Grand Fork puts the clock around Tinsper's neck. Tinsper holds the clock up to his ear. "It ticks! It ticks! Who's ready to get peed on?"
Everyone takes a step backwards. Tinsper's face falls a little. "Fine. But mark my words, I'm going to pee on a lot of things when I get back home."
"Me! Me! What about me?" asks the Gaysianly Lion.
"You've always known the Worm," says the Wizard. "Search deep within."
"Wait! Wait!" cries the Gaysianly Lion. He gets on his belly and does the Worm all the way across the throne room floor. "I'm doing it! I'm doing it! And I look dead sexy!"
Everyone in the room claps politely.
"Well, what about me?" asks Bellathy timidly. "How do I get home?"
"By balloon, of course!" says the Wizard kindly. He waves his hand and reveals a giant hot-air balloon. They are about to climb in when a phalanx of gray-suited lawyers wearing mouse ears busts through the doors.
The head lawyer hands the Grand Fork a cease-and-desist letter. "I'm afraid Disney and Pixar own all references to balloons as a means of transportation. We're going to have to confiscate this."
The lawyers neatly shoot BBs into the balloon, deflating it. They drag the basket away. "Don't fuck with the Mouse!" the head lawyer shouts as the lawyers quickly exit.
"Well, now what?" whimpers Bellathy.
Suddenly a big, shimmery pink bubble appears. It pops in front of Bellathy, and Esme emerges.
"Can you help me, Esme?"
"You don't need my help, dear. You've always been able to go home by yourself."
"Son of a bitch! Why didn't you tell me that before?"
"Look, I've been stuck in this godforsaken place in the same fluffy pink outfit for years. Decades. Lifetimes. I just like to fuck with visitors. Is that so wrong?"
"Uh, kind of," says Scareward.
"Didn't you learn things, Bellathy?"
"Um," says Bellathy, thinking. "I learned that sometimes bacon puts you in a coma. I learned that there are some freaky-ass people in this world. I learned never to underestimate the power of a good golden shower."
"I think you're ready!" says Esme.
"Oh. Let me say goodbye," says Bellathy.
She turns to Tinsper. "Oh, Tinsper, thank you for peeing on the Wicked Witch. I'll think of you every time I go number one."
Then she turns to the Gaysianly Lion. "Oh, Lion, you can work it, girl."
"Kiss, kiss!" says the Gaysianly Lion, airkissing her on both cheeks.
Finally, she turns to Scareward. He's got his hood up and is staring at his feet. "Oh, Scareward, I think I'll miss you most of all."
"Are you ready now?" asks Esme.
"Wait, say goodbye, JakeJake."
I wish I were dead, JakeJake barks. Please, one of you, just kill me now.
"Aw, he says he's going to miss all of you too," Bellathy says, hugging JakeJake close to her. "I'm ready now."
"Then close your eyes and tap your Chucks together three times."
Bellathy begins to click her Chucks together. "Wait, which one is 'three'?"
"The one after two but before four?" says Esme.
"And say to yourself, 'There's no place like home. There's no place like home. There's no place like home.'"
Bellathy repeats Esme's words, and everything fades away.
"There's no place like home," murmurs Bellathy, the world again black and white. She opens her eyes and finds herself in her bed, in her farmhouse, with burly Auntie Em staring down at her.
"Bellathy, it's Auntie Em, dear."
"It's you, Auntie Em!"
"Yes, I just said that." Auntie Em sighs. "You had quite a bump on your head. For a second we thought you'd gone away."
"I did! I did go away."
"It must have just been a dream, dear."
"No, no, it was real. And you were there, and you were there, and YOU were there, and you were there…" She points at Auntie Em. "But you? You weren't there."
"We dream all kinds of crazy things when …"
"No, it was real, Auntie Em. Doesn't anyone believe me?"
"Of course we do," nod the farmhands Hoodie Boy, Jasper, and Yorkie.
"Oh, but anyway, JakeJake, we're home! And we're never going to leave again! And I love all of you! And there's no place like home!"
I wish I were dead, thinks JakeJake, hiding his head underneath his paw.
* hehehehehehehehehehehehe *snicker*