Democratic Underground  

Behind the Green Curtain: An Update on Ozís Post-Wicked Witches Era
September 17, 2003
By Shawn Holiday

It has been over ten years since the Munchkins were liberated from the tyranny of the Wicked Witches of the East and West by Dorothy - yet peace, stability and prosperity have eluded the tiny population ever since. Due to serious infighting immediately after the power vacuum, the Munchkins have been unable to sustain a democratic society and bear little resemblance to the cheerful and fastidious people whose exploits were popularized in the famed documentary "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: Behind the Green Curtain."

"Frankly, it was not so bad under the Wicked Witch of the East," says the former Mayor and now arms merchant. "We were clean, well fed, wore elaborate clothes and had a sufficient reservoir of happiness to burst into spontaneous song and dance as soon as Dorothy's house smacked down that witch. Actually, we'd been rehearsing for years.

"Hey, I'm not complaining. Witchie there was about to fry me as an example to the others. It's just that, well... at least her brand of oppression did give order to a divided region."

While details are sketchy, several townspeople - many of whom asked not to be identified - said that the chaos, looting and violent reprisals began immediately after Dorothy slipped out of sight down the famous Yellow Brick Road, which no longer exists. The bricks were used in walls to separate ethnic groups, thus fragmenting the populations into impoverished enclaves. The resulting collapse of trade and infrastructure threw the tiny kingdom into anarchy which spread to the surrounding lands of Oz in a classic domino effect.

"This whole place went to crap after the Wizard left, whoever the hell he was," said a women dressed in what looked to be extinct bunnybury skins. "He didn't mess with us and we didn't mess with him and everything was fine. Then that awful triumvirate took over and everything just.... pfft!"

She was apparently referring to the brief reign of Dorothy's three companions - Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion - whose constant bickering so unnerved the peaceful residents of Emerald City that many fled to the countryside where they soon fell victim to the lions, tigers and bears.

Glenda, the Good Witch of the North, tried to mediate but her powers were useless there and the eons of harmony in the capital city were soon shattered. Glenda herself narrowly escaped injury when her transporting bubble was damaged during a food riot. She had to walk the 70 miles back to her castle in Winkle Country and hasn't been seen since.

Through her spokesperson, Glenda informed reporters that she wished the Munchkins well, but it's time that they grow up and learn to manage their own affairs. As for the rest of Oz, she hoped that the international community would finally lift the trade embargoes and provide peacekeepers and developmental aid.

Rather than an era of peace in which oppressive overlords have been vanquished, the entire land of Oz was divided along ethnic and class lines. The Tin Man stormed a nearby castle and began a reclusive heavy metal band that experiments with chemical weapons during its annual "Doomsday Ethnic Cleansing" concerts; the Lion was in and out of rehab for three years before accidentally drowning in the Magic Waterfall; and the Scarecrow stayed behind to dismantle the Emerald City using prison labor from the Quadling Country. Only tiny shards of the once magnificent architecture are left, which is now boarded up with plywood and duct tape. The city's fortunes declined further when Scarecrow flooded the market with cheap Emeralds, collapsing wholesale prices and throwing the country into a severe economic depression, now in its ninth year.

"Hey, it's not like I have a degree in macro economics," shouted the Scarecrow from behind a cardboard peephole. "I should have grabbed those ruby slippers when I had the chance."

For a while, many Oz residents had pinned their hopes on a dark horse, Brenda Lee - The Good but Troubled Witch of the South. The polite, cheerful girl with spunk was the darling of the family and soon overshadowed her much older sister, Glenda.

"Them girls used to go at each other. Whooee!" exclaimed the mayor. "Trouble is, if they had just worked together they would have defeated those wicked witches in a natural progression of internal conflict. The kingdom would have rallied and that would ease in a balanced resolution on which we could build a moral foundation for a new government. But noooo. Brenda had to be the bitch!"

Soon after the quick deaths of half of Oz's witches, Brenda and her lover, political newcomer Cleetis Fortuitous, took charge of Munchkinland after a highly questionable election and intervention of the Mt. Fludderbudget District Court. The couple, who have two children together, shared power until Brenda threw Cleetis out of their trailer for alleged infidelity. Cleetis, formerly a roofer and carpet installer, denies the charges and is waging a bitter custody battle during which Brenda turned several judges into rigmaroles.

Their legal troubles worsened when the last Munchkin lawyer filed a class action suit against the couple, alleging insider trading, accounting irregularities and conducting genetic experiments on immigrant Oompa Loompas. Last week, Brenda emerged from her trailer at the edge of the Forest of Fighting Trees for a brief but bizarre press conference, during which she denied carrying the Mayor's child and threatened to send the remaining Munchkins back to the tobacco fields.

"You tiny ingrates better drop this lawsuit or it's hard labor for the whole mess 'o ya!" slurred the agitated Brenda while flicking lit cigarettes on reporters. "Big Daddy - god rest his soul - only left me with this farm and his army of flying pit bulls so it's been a struggle. Let me tell you something, you little farts better mind me 'cause my critters haven't had a Munchkin luncheon for a loooong time."

Brenda Lee then burst into tears and bumped her magic wand against the podium, which immediately exploded into purple smoke. In the confusion, two flying pit bulls whisked her into the air while the rest set upon the reporters, mauling several. Animal control officers arrived later to capture several suspects, which were then destroyed.

Aides later said that Brenda Lee was medicated due to a difficult pregnancy - the unwed 24-year-old enchantress is expecting her sixth child next month. The aides also refused to address rumors that social workers have taken custody of her other children: Gator, Feedback, Destiny, Rumor and Blanche.

Some pockets of Oz appear to have stabilized, albeit through savage oppression. Warring factions have split the once mighty Munchkin Army that policed all of Oz during the Golden Age. Now the soldiers have become mercenaries for the highest bidder. However, the military attache for Cleetis says that after his legal troubles are over, he plans to reconstitute an all-volunteer force to restore civil order and form a provisional government.

"The Munchkin Army? Hah! Give me a break," said the Coroner, who now prefers to be called Warlord Wogglebug. "Those wussies couldn't cut through a poppy field without folding."

The Coroner reportedly commands several hundred militia that are largely made of conscripts and children, some as young as 8. Their fierce loyalty and brutal methods of warfare have already garnered a feared reputation in Oz, allowing the Coroner to operate with impunity.

"I know where all the bodies are buried. Nobody's going to touch me," he laughed during the interrogation of a POW who was repeatedly dunked in the Truth Pond. "The good ol' days are over! It now takes cajones to rule Oz, and they'd better not be made of tin!"

All of this means big business for the Mayor, who used his political connections to sell the country's surplus arms just as civil order collapsed. He is one of the few Munchkins to prosper amidst the anarchy and lives comfortably in the old Winkle Embassy complex guarded by his private army of Munchkins that were trained in orphanages. Still, there's a twinge of bitterness in the formerly jovial leader of a people known for their innocence, compassion and snappy choral numbers. He almost seems wistful for the days of capricious vengeance from a flying hag.

"Hey, our Wicked Witch was the worst, but she was ours you know?" he says, shining his ceremonial sword. "That Dorothy just parachutes in here, takes out our leader and screws up an arrangement that had its problems, but worked just fine for generations. There was no contingency for providing services, restoring order, maintaining the infrastructure. I still can't make a phone call. So if you see that uppity Kansas broad, tell her we got a huge clean up bill for her."

Printer-friendly version
Tell a friend about this article Tell a friend about this article
Discuss this article
Democratic Underground Homepage