Disclaimer: Like a bad case of diarrhea, it may take a few sittings to get through this post.
A few more treats from Halloween, because nothing says October 31 like the third week of November.
As usual, I’m late. Running on McFadden-time. But being late is sort of how we found ourselves in this four-kid pile-up, so I guess it’s fitting.
Anyway, as noted in Part I, Kick Ass Wife went all-out theme on the kids’ petunies this year. Genius. With just one hangup: our children had absolutely no idea what The Wizard of Oz was. None. As such, they had a lot of questions, which is so unlike children under the age of six.
I decided that it was up to me to respond to our band of players’ inquiries. But I wanted to do more than simply answer their questions: I wanted to give them a feel for their individual roles, better allowing them to get into character. Fortunately, I’m somewhat of an expert in all things Oz, having watched parts of the film on television when I was 8-years old, so I was able to draw from that extensive reservoir of knowledge. I started by sitting our cast down and giving them a general plot synopsis.
“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away called Arkansas, there was a young girl named Dorothy who lived on a communal wind farm. This simple-minded teen had always dreamed of going ‘over the rainbow,’ an asinine idea that had been subliminally planted in her mushy little brain through Skittles advertisements cleverly placed on her Facebook page through targeted-demographic marketing techniques. Such ads had also created in her an inexplicable desire to see the newest talkie, Jackass 1D.
“Well, one day she got her wish. A tornado ripped through the Arkansas countryside and easily picked up her family’s trailer house, which did not have nearly enough tires stacked on the roof to properly anchor it. That trailer was sucked into the air like an empty can of Spam, along with Dorothy and her pet rabbit Frodo.”
“Dad, Dorothy had a pet rabbit, like Hopper?” asked Perpetual Motion.
“Yes! Just like Hopper. Frodo cruised around his cage each day, spilling his water and crapping out three times his body weight in small, dark fecal-balls, generally serving no other real purposes in life than to make Dorothy’s family’s trailer house smell like the inside of a barnyard port-a-potty on a 90-degree day and to scratch the hell out of anyone clueless enough to pick him up.
“But Dorothy’s dad dutifully cleaned Frodo’s cage each morning and evening, everyone else in the family having forgotten long ago about their ‘pet,’ the new-rabbit smell having worn off about two days after they got him. And her Dad fed and watered the rabbit, swearing under his breath all the while, secretly plotting to eliminate Hopp– Frodo.”
“Honey, would you like some cheese and crackers with your whine?” intoned Kick Ass Wife from the next room, unsolicited.
“No thanks, dear. Would you like a tall glass of kiss my…sorry, kids. Back to the story. So Dorothy and Frodo and the trailer house go swirling up into the sky, and, as is often the case in disasters involving tornadoes, they were dropped into an alternative dimension. When Dorothy awakes, she and Frodo are surrounded by people-whose-size-shouldn’t-define-them-but-yes-they-were-slightly-shorter-in-physical-stature-than-most-folks and–”
“What does that mean, Daddy?” asked the Hellcat.
“It means they were Munchkins, okay! You made me say it. Are you happy? Well, at least now it’s out there. So these Munchkins are all dancing around celebrating and high-fiving one another (although that’s a bit of an oxymoron) because one of the few tires that was on the roof of the trailer had flown off and flattened the Semi-Wicked-But-In-Some-Ways-Simply-Misunderstood Witch of Ill-Fitting Hosiery and Ruby-Encrusted Stilettos, effectively deflating her tyrannical reign over the smaller-than-you-people-who-are-yet-no-less-significant.
“Hey, tire…flattened…deflating? Nothing from you kids? Let’s pay attention here: I refuse to raise children who do not appreciate lame punnage. Well, the sister of the deceased, the Wicked Witch of Menopause-Induced Moodiness, threatens Dorothy with bodily harm, as would most individuals whose sibling had been taken out by a wayward steel-belted projectile. ‘I’ll get you, my pretty!’ she hisses, then zips off on her customized Swiffer WetJet, witch-cackling in a manner that suggests she and a couple of packs of unfiltered Camels get to know one another pretty well on a daily basis, if you know what I mean.”
“What do you mean, Daddy?”
“It’s not important. What is important is at this point, Dorothy is freaking out, straining to pass a solid-gold brick of disbelief, which is ironic because right at that moment Gladys, the Overly-Pleasant-to-the-Point-of-Being-Annoying Witch of Unannounced Visits to the Neighbors, shows up and tells Dorothy that if she wants to go home, all she has to do is follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City, where most of the Munchkins were gainfully employed at a snack nut manufacturing facility, and seek counsel from the powerful and all-knowing Wizard.”
“So there was a whole road made of gold bricks?” asked Slim.
“No,” said Tax Credit #4.
“Your brother is right. The road was really made of ordinary pavers which had been discolored from acid rain caused by pollutants in the air, most notably the deisel-like path of exhaust that trailed the Witch’s WetJet whenever she cruised the skies of Oz.
“So Dorothy headed down the road with Frodo, wearing the ruby stilettos of the witch she killed for protection, which is pretty creepy. And soon she meets Scarecrow, who wishes he had a brain.”
“Why did he need a brain?” asked Perpetual Motion.
“Because he was a man, much like your father,” Kick Ass Wife chimed in from the peanut gallery.
“Daddy doesn’t have a brain?” asked the Hellcat.
“Hah, hah. Nice. Way to confuse the kids, honey. Yes, I have a brain, Hellcat.”
“He has a small one. I just wish that he would use it more.”
“That’s what she said. Don’t listen to your mom, kids. That strategy has worked for me for years.”
“Middle finger, my pretty,” chirped KAW, somewhat-cackly.
“Anyway, so Dorothy tells Scarecrow to come with her to see the Wizard. ‘He probably has a collection of brains to choose from that would make Hannibal Lecter jealous,’ she says. On they go, and before long they run into the Tin Woodman. That’s you, Slim.”
“What is a woodman?”
“Kind of like a lumberjack.”
“What is a lumberjack?”
“Kind of like a woodman.”
“Well, why was he tin? Was he a robot?”
“No,” said #4.
“Uh, yeah, he was a robot. Exactly.”
“Awesome! ‘I. AM. THE. TIN. MAN. I. AM. A. ROBOT.’ What did he want, Dad.”
“Oh, my God.”
“Hey, Kick Ass Wife, do you want him to wear the costume or not? So Dorothy, Scarecrow, and Tin Man keep on keepin’ on, annoyingly skipping down the contaminated paver path, and next they meet Lion. Okay, #4, get off your sister’s head and listen for a minute; this is important. Now, if memory serves, Lion needed a spleen.”
“Sweet Jesus! Can you hear me dialing the phone? I’m calling a therapist.”
“Again, ignore your mom, kids. Now, the spleen is an organ with a highly-specialized function: it is essential in breaking down and processing chocolate.”
“So Lion couldn’t eat chocolate?” asked Slim.
“No,” said #4.
“I feel bad for Lion,” said the Hellcat.
“Tell me about it. Felines and canines don’t have spleens, and that’s why you can’t ever feed them chocolate. So Dorothy tells Lion, ‘Hey, come with us. If the Wizard has a surplus of brains, he will almost certainly have a spare spleen laying around.’
“Jumping ahead now. The foursome (plus the rabbit) finally make it to the Emerald City, where they go to see the Wizard and ask for help. Guess what? The Wizard tells them that they have to bring him the Wicked Witch of Menopause-Induced Moodiness’s WetJet before he’ll do anything because Frodo has crapped all over the palace and he wants it cleaned up!
“So they head toward the witch’s castle and are attacked by flying monkeys, which is actually one of the more plausible scenes in the film. They fend off the monkeys, reach the castle, and then ward off the witch’s attempts to get her sister’s stilettos back. In the ensuing melee, Lion snatches up the WetJet and holds it above his head like it’s the Lombardi Trophy or something. Scarecrow and Tin Man are feeling the moment, grab up a conveniently located bucket of sports drink, and douse Dororthy with a celebratory Gatorade bath, some of which splashes onto the witch who then immediately melts into a liquified puddle of evilness. Game over.
“The Freaky Four head back to the Wizard’s pad, give the floor a once-over with the WetJet, and then ask that their wishes be granted. Bingo-bongo, brain for Scarecrow, sword for the Tin Man, and spleen for Lion. Then the Wizard gets to Dorothy. ‘So you want to go home? To Arkansas? Really?’ Truthfully, she wasn’t that hip on returning; she just thought it was what people would want to hear. I mean seriously, how bright can one’s future look on a communal wind farm? Plus the trailer was totally thrashed, so she decided to stay in Oz and rock the stilettos.
“And as for Frodo…ever see a movie called Fatal Attraction, kids? Kids? Hey, where’d you guys go?”
“I’ve got them loaded up in the car. We’re going to see if we can rent the movie and undo what you just did.”
“What did I do?”
Well, what I did was create Halloween magic. The movie was checked out (thank God), so the kids took my synopsis and ran with it. As we moved from house to house, Slim would stiffly march up to each door with his best robot posture, wave his sword, and say, “I. AM. THE. TIN. MAN. TRICK. OR. TREAT.” Hellcat screamed “Gatorade!” at any child or adult who was dressed as a witch. PM told each person that offered candy to his little brother that he couldn’t have any because he didn’t have a spleen. And Tax Credit #4 ran around yelling, “No!”, and acting like a maniac.
As for the reviews of our troupe’s performance? After first asking, “Are they all yours?”, most people gave Kick Ass Wife a sort of sympathetic-yet-disgusted look, likely suspecting that she had indulged in high-levels of recreational drug-use during each of her four pregnancies. Meanwhile, I just stood in the background shrugging, admiring the best Oz cast ever assembled and singing to myself all the while.
“And my head I’d be scratchin’ while my thoughts were busy hatchin’, if I only had a brain.”