The Care and Feeding of Monsters

Submitted into Contest #206 in response to: Set your story in an eerie, surreal setting.... view prompt

40 comments

Fantasy Horror Drama

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

Viya Sol looked around the mansion with distaste. She didn’t like being here, and she certainly didn’t like what she had heard about the monster who used to live here.

Not that she put much credence in the old tales that some of the more senior members of the Lollipop Guild talked about. Those wizened relics of the past had many tales to tell, all the stories outrageous and all the events sounding just a little too fantastic to believe.

Viya poked around the foyer and the living area, marveling at the size of the place and grimacing at the thick coat of grime and dust that covered every surface. She had drawn back every curtain on the ground floor, yet the area remained dark and suffocating. Curious.

The high, vaulted ceilings spiraled upwards, seemingly without end, but the claustrophobic feeling stayed. The ancient wood creaked and groaned with every step she took, voicing its complaint in sonorous, funereal tones.

She wanted to leave. Right now. But she had a prospective client. This place had been on the books for over one hundred years, and getting it sold would be a major coup for her. She had visions of a corner office and a hefty bonus. The realtor overcame her fears and waited, but she waited outside.

A wicked witch indeed. What ridiculous tripe.

                                                    *************

Franklin Baumgartner looked around the mansion. Viya thought his eyes looked dead, but, she reasoned, that could be the effect of the poor light in the mansion. His assistant, a Miss Holcombe, also had a lifeless look about her.

Their size bothered Viya. The man towered over everyone in the land, standing almost six feet tall. The woman was a giant as well. Their attire was odd, and their actions startling.

“Miss Holcombe. Take some notes,” Baumgartner snapped. Miss Holcombe dutifully took out a notepad and readied herself for the onslaught to come.

“Replace the windows. Double-paned, insulated with argon gas. Make that triple paned. American made. Always buy American made, Miss Holcombe. None of that Chinese shit. Get some people in here to reinforce the floorboards. They squeak like a bitchy wife. Cleaning crew. Make that crews.”

“American crews?” Miss Holcombe pushed her glasses back on her face and peered up at her boss.

“No. Hire the illegals that come over here. They’ll work cheap and do a good job. Remember, Miss Holcombe: buy American, hire foreign.”

“Got it, sir,” Miss Holcombe said. She wrote rapidly and then paused, waiting for more.

“Contact Kate Mueller in Chicago. Have her come in and furnish this place. Spare no expense. It’s a fucking mausoleum right now. Get Haliburton to give me a call. I hear wolves out there. He’s good at killing things. Gardeners, of course. Lots of ‘em. The land has gone to hell. Oh, and I saw some beehives out there. Find me a beekeeper. If the bees aren’t producing honey, we’ll exterminate ‘em. The roof needs to be checked…”

Baumgartner went on like this for some time. Miss Holcombe wrote furiously, nodding occasionally and staying six feet behind her employer.

Viya Sol didn’t show it, but she was confused and alarmed. She had never heard of the places mentioned. America? Canada? Chicago? The man also used language that was unfamiliar to her, especially the word beginning with a “phu” sound. Or “bitchy.”

Maybe it’s their way of saying itchy. And maybe the “phu” word is a term of endearment?

Viya was snapped out of her reverie by Baumgartner’s stentorian voice.

“Miss Sol. Hey! You still with us?”

Viya looked up and almost stood at attention.

“Of course. Yes.”

“So. The price? You have it listed as “133 lollipops.” That must be a typo,” Baumgartner frowned at her. He didn’t approve of sloppy work.

“No sir. That’s the price, but we can negotiate.”

“Lollipops?”

“Yes, sir. I’m assuming that you can pay in lollipops.”

“Hell no, missy! We use good ol’ American dollars. The best currency in the world, I’ll have you know. Lollipops? What the hell kind of lollipop do you require? Are they lined with gold?”

“Um – well – no – that is, they’re just – lollipops.”

Baumgartner looked at his assistant impassively. He blinked and shook his head. Miss Holcombe waited patiently for something to write down.

“Show me,” Baumgartner said.

Viya nodded, confused as to why someone needed to see what was widely considered the coin of the realm. She went outside to her horse and buggy, retrieving a couple of lollipops. She went back inside the mansion, not easy in her mind.

Baumgartner stared at them for some time. He inspected them closely, twirled them in his fingers, and even sniffed them. He handed one to Miss Holcombe, who mimicked her boss’ actions.

“Am I to understand that these lollipops are made with sugar? Nothing else?”

“Just sugar, and some natural coloring, I think. I’m not sure. The Lollipop Guild makes them, and they guard their secrets carefully.”

Baumgartner nodded. Although confused by the method of payment, he didn’t hesitate to take advantage of the situation.

“What’ll you take for these lollipops? Cash? Goods?” Baumgartner eyed Viya closely, noting her body language. He was successful in part because of his ability to read people.

“Well – uh – I was going to purchase some new clothes after work. Food for the winter. Grain for the horse,” Viya said. She was nervous. The conversation about money bothered her. No one talked about money here. No one at all.

Baumgartner considered what the realtor said. He whispered to his assistant. She nodded lightly and wrote something down on her notepad.

“Tell you what, Miss – uh – Miss Sol. I’ll bring you a new horse when I come back if you give me one of these.”

Viya gasped. A new horse would normally cost seven lollipops. She tried to keep her composure.

The man is an idiot. However, I could use a new horse. Poor old Rusty is getting old. And maybe I could get a little more out of this dolt.

“A new horse is acceptable, but I think I’d want a little more. Maybe throw in a hundred kilos of grain for the new horse?”

Baumgartner accepted quickly.

The woman’s a dolt. Selling this place for 133 lollipops, and all she wants is a new horse and some feed? Jesus, this is gonna be easy.

“We’ll be back next week. Have the papers ready to sign. I’ll have the – uh – payment. In full,” Baumgartner said. He didn’t even try to haggle over the price. He was starting to love this exchange rate.

                                                          **************

Baumgartner was as good as his word. He paid for the mansion and bought Viya a new horse, along with supplying her with an impressive amount of grain for the horse. Still, Viya was disturbed. The stranger found his way to her homeland. There were tales about a farm girl who had done this, but that was nothing more than a story that the old ones told.

Baumgartner was indeed from another land. Kansas.

His Aunt Ell had given him what was left of the family farm, and he sold it quickly, at a ridiculously low price. His aunt was dead, the farm was not a money maker, and he hated farming.

The only thing he kept was a pair of silver slippers, for they entranced him. In the light, they turned into a fiery, ruby-red color.

Aunt Ell also told him that he could transport himself to a magical land by wearing the slippers and wishing himself to this nebulous place. The slippers were far too small to wear, and he didn’t believe such nonsense anyway.

One night, after drinking, in excess, a particularly cheap and poor quality of a chianti, he tried it. Frank found himself in the middle of a poppy field, staring at a city that seemed entirely made of green crystals. He took one of the crystals and closed his eyes again, wishing himself back home.

Emeralds. The green crystals were emeralds. He made several trips like this and became rich. He also discovered streets made of gold bricks. He helped himself to plenty of these as well. When he returned, he found that the gold bricks and the emeralds had been replaced. Frank had no qualms about taking more emeralds and more gold from this place. None at all.

Frank Baumgartner had found Oz.

                                                            **************

The inhabitants of the land that Baumgartner invaded were becoming unhappy with their new neighbor. He had a landing strip built for his private jet. The people thought it was a monstrous steel dragon, and fled every time it landed or departed. The same emotions arose when Baumgartner drove his vehicle. To them it was nothing more than an iron terror roaming through their land.

Queen Ozma demanded that the stranger leave. He refused. She had no recourse to his refusal; no one had ever defied the queen before, so she was at a loss as to what to do. They had no police force, for there was no crime. They had no standing army, for they had no enemies. Until now.

Baumgartner paid well – in lollipops. This became a problem. A huge problem.

The economy was turned upside down and inside out. Munchkins and Winkies, with newfound wealth, invaded Emerald City and bought up desirable plots of land and built houses. Baumgartner built several yellow-bricked roads that led to Emerald City, and the flood of country people to the city was unsustainable. The new royalty had been, just a short time before, farmers and craftsmen.

The Lollipop Guild had been decimated by the influx of lollipops from Baumgartner. Inflation ran rampant. And then, a recession hit. Everyone felt its effects, and the people of all four quadrants of the land found themselves struggling to survive.

Baumgartner didn’t care. He was rich in America, but here, he was a god. He controlled the lands, the supply chains, the very fabric of life. Poverty became the new normal.

                                                      **************

“We have to do something!” Viya slammed her fist on the table.

The Munchkins looked at her with surprise and consternation; she had never been so demonstrative. Viya Sol had always been the epitome of grace and charm.

Goruh stood up, though it made little difference in his height relative to everyone else. He was short, even for a Munchkin, but he commanded respect. The eldest member of the Lollipop Guild had been Goruh for the past seventy years, and his word meant something.

“I have a solution, but you aren’t going to like it,” he said. A quietness overtook the room. If Goruh said that it would be displeasing, then it would be very displeasing. The council braced itself.

Goruh outlined his plan.

Everyone was horrified, but they agreed to it.

                                                  **************

Effie sensed the Munchkin well before he came into sight. She sniffed the air and smelled fear. Desperation. Sadness.

Goruh stopped short when he saw Effie. It had been twenty years since she had been banished to the edge of Munchkin Land. Although he had voted against the banishment, he still felt a thrill of fear. Effie was dangerous. All her kind were dangerous.

“What brings the great and powerful Goruh to my humble shack?” Effie picked up a snake and stroked it gently before putting it back on the ground and giving it a shove with her toe. The snake slithered off into the underbrush, looking for a meal.

“A stranger from the Outer Lands. A bad person, Effie. Very bad. We need your help,” Goruh said, looking down. He was afraid to meet Effie’s eyes.

“I have no quarrel with you, Goruh. You didn’t vote against me when I was banished. But why should I help? I was exiled because of my grandmother.”

Goruh nodded. She was right; she had no reason to help.

“But I will,” Effie said softly, “because the stranger has something of mine.”

Goruh looked at her, surprised.

“You know about the stranger?”

“I may be restricted to the edge of the desert, but I hear things,” she said, “because the animals tell me.”

Goruh believed her. Effie’s grandmother understood the animals.

“I’ll come to the council next week, when it’s over. I’ll want something in return, though.”

Goruh nodded. He was empowered to agree to almost anything.

“What?”

Effie looked at Goruh and smiled. It was a beautiful smile, so unlike her grandmother’s wicked leer.

“My grandmother’s old house.”

Goruh expected this. He nodded, and then he left as quickly as possible. The edge of the desert frightened him, and Effie frightened him most of all.

He thought of a saying he had heard long ago.

Needs must when the devil drives.

He would wonder, years later, who the devil really was.

                                                    **************

Effie flew above the trees on her umbrella, scanning the countryside. She knew the area well, for she had been raised in Winkie country. Her old house looked different. Modern and bright. She hated it.

A portly man came outside and looked around, hands on hips. Effie’s tremendous sight allowed her to see him clearly. He had a smug look on his face. Odd clothes covered his portly frame, and he was smoking a cigar.

Effie banked sharply and flew toward the man. He finally spotted her and stared at her in surprise and fear. She saw his eyes widen. He screamed just as her umbrella penetrated his heart.

The umbrella settled gently on the ground as Effie stepped off. She strode to the man and took the briefcase. She had what she wanted.

She had what belonged to her.

                                                      **************

“We have to do something,” Viya said miserably. She didn’t slam her hand on the table as she had done all those years ago, but the tone of her voice revealed her desperation.

Goruh and the rest of the council agreed. Effie had been a hero twenty years ago when she killed the giant stranger – and everyone else in her grandmother’s old house. The land was freed from the bonds of American capitalism and its monstrous ways.

Now, however, she was as her grandmother had been: wicked and controlling. The flying monkeys were back, as were the giant white wolves and the huge black bees. They had gotten so used to smallish wolves and gentle honeybees that the new, more dangerous versions were even more frightening than ever.

“What can we do? We made a deal and she took advantage.” Goruh talked quietly, as usual, but his voice was tinged with defeat. He saw no way out.

“It’s like the old days,” he continued, “when her grandmother ruled Winkie Land. But worse. Effie seems to have a vendetta against us.”

“So, we’re sunk. Back to the way things were in the old days, and no stupid farm girl to bail us out,” another member said.

“Where did she come from? Kansas? Where the hell is that?”

Viya was willing to travel past the deserts if need be.

“Somewhere over the rainbows, Viya. Somewhere we can’t reach.”

                                                    **************

Effie sat in her darkened mansion and smiled, stroking the fur of a wolf and listening to the angry buzzing of the black bees flitting about her abode. She had reclaimed her family power.

The witch still remembered the day her mother died. She had been behind a curtain when the incident occurred, watching the events unfold. When the strange girl doused her mother with water, she gasped; her mother melted in front of her eyes. Effie had never seen such a gruesome sight in her life, but that wasn’t the end of the bad news.

She had been banished to the edge of the desert, though the council that banished her knew full well that she would, in all probability, die from this. The only member to vote in her favor was Goruh.

Effie, though, had been taught how to survive, by her mother. She flourished. Her hate grew. And then, another stranger showed up, and with the magical slippers. Her mother’s slippers, and the last remaining source of all witchy power.

Just a pair of shoes. Silver. But they fit her feet perfectly. Almost like they were made for her.

Now that she was the only living witch in Oz, she could rule all the lands, not just Winkie Land. There was a new ruler of the land, and she wasn’t about to forget what the inhabitants had done to her or her mother.

Effie scanned the skies for flying houses. It wouldn’t do to neglect the lessons from the past.

She grabbed her umbrella and took off across the land, flying low and fast, observing her domain. Effie was on her way to Emerald City to depose the queen.

She has a date with the point of my umbrella today. I look forward to the smell of royal blood spilled on the streets of Emerald City. My only regret is that she can’t melt, like my mother did.

Effie flew on, over poppy fields and verdant landscape. Evil had returned to Oz. The monster they all feared was a woman with silver slippers on her feet and hate in her heart.

The queen has an expiration date. Evil has no such restriction.

July 14, 2023 12:41

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40 comments

Laurel Hanson
14:01 Jul 16, 2023

This is a lot of fun, and I particularly appreciate the clever commentary on American capitalism - the true monster we keep caring for and feeding. Great title. Not on reedsy too much of late, but nice to touch bases with some of the good writing here, like yours.

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Delbert Griffith
14:41 Jul 16, 2023

Thanks so much, Laurel, for the kind words. And, yes, I've noticed a distinct absence of Laurel Hanson tales. I must say, I miss them. Yep, capitalism and its ills are the theme of the tale. Particularly, the love of money and power. This evil never dies; it simply goes from one blighted soul to the next. Again, thank you, my friend. Your commentaries are always worth reading and mulling over. Cheers!

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Christie McMahon
21:54 Jul 15, 2023

Hi Delbert, Wanted to drop in and check out your writing as you so kindly commented on mine. New to Reedsy, so felt very excited to see your response—thank you! I enjoyed the rhythm of your story. As other commenters mentioned, you clearly evoked the dangers of capitalism, and each time we came back to Viya as she tried to deal with the ramifications of her initial “deal with the devil,” it made me think how we Americans don’t ever seem to learn from our previous mistakes: plantations & slavery, robber barons & monopolies during the Industr...

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Delbert Griffith
23:07 Jul 15, 2023

Thanks so much for the kind words, Christie, and welcome to Reedsy! You certainly add to the community. Yes, the dangers of capitalism. The little people often pay for the greed of the rich, yes? The lessons that history should be teaching us falls by the wayside when money enters the picture, unfortunately. From Viya's greed to Baumgartner's greed to Effie's greed (which is really a lust for power), we see what happens. And, as you say, the love of money (paraphrased) is the root of all evil. At least it was in this little tale. Thanks ag...

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Sophia Gavasheli
08:38 Jul 15, 2023

Hah, this was such a clever twist on the Wizard of Oz. I especially liked Frank's name :) Even fairy tales are subject to the evils of capitalism, lol. It's too bad that the Oz-ians only replaced one problem with a worse one, but I guess that's the way it is in real life. Not every story has a happy ending. "Evil has no such restriction" as you so artfully showed. Also, this was so funny: "'Hire the illegals that come over here. They’ll work cheap and do a good job. Remember, Miss Holcombe: buy American, hire foreign.'"

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Delbert Griffith
10:15 Jul 15, 2023

Thanks so much for the kind words, Sophia. I really appreciate you reading and commenting on my little tale. You're the first person to comment on Frank Baumgartner's name. Nice catch, Sophia. The whole idea was, as you stated, to reveal the ills that capitalism is subject to. The idea that evil people come and go but evil lives on was intertwined with the capitalism theme. Capitalism is a great concept - until people put it into practice. We are so good at taking something viable and screwing it up. Again, thank you, my friend, for your...

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Kevin Logue
08:15 Jul 15, 2023

What a great take on both the prompt and the concept of capitalism in Oz. Extremely well.written as always with a fantastic flow. Using one evil to banish another never ends well! Where is a little farm girl when you need her!

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Delbert Griffith
10:03 Jul 15, 2023

Thanks so much, Kevin. You really got the point of the tale, and I'm glad it came through. Yeah, where is that farm girl? LOL Thanks again for the kind words, my friend. Cheers!

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Delbert Griffith
10:03 Jul 15, 2023

Thanks so much, Kevin. You really got the point of the tale, and I'm glad it came through. Yeah, where is that farm girl? LOL Thanks again for the kind words, my friend. Cheers!

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Aeris Walker
02:01 Jul 15, 2023

I’ll admit I haven’t seen the Wizard of Oz since I was probably too young to understand much of it, but you did a great job recreating the whimsical, vibrant feel of the world. And excellent characterization of Frank Baumgartner. I imagine him sweating in the hot sun as he overlooks his lucrative Texan oil fields haha. Your writing is easy to follow, engaging, and full of adventure! Well done :)

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Delbert Griffith
10:00 Jul 15, 2023

Thanks so much, Aeris. That means a lot coming from you. I wanted to show that eveil people come and go but evil itself is quite durable. Also, I wanted to get the Lollipop Guild some ink; those guys are sweet, but scary! LOL Thanks again, Aeris. Truly. Cheers!

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Lily Finch
16:18 Jul 14, 2023

Well done Del. Really clever writing. But what else is new? That is always the case! Wizard of Oz relates to Made in America = the wicked witch who is the ugly American. You have a great story here. Thanks for the good read. LF6

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Delbert Griffith
16:43 Jul 14, 2023

Thanks so much, Lily. It means a lot coming from you. Truly. Yep, the wicked witches and the ugly American vie for most evil, right? LOL Thanks again, my friend. You are appreciated. Cheers!

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Susan Catucci
15:42 Jul 14, 2023

You did it, Del! I love how you tied the pieces together and everything fit - as the munchkins would say - neatly, sweetly and so completely! You really brought Oz into present day. Baumgartner - the ugly American - considered a greater evil than a wicked witch, a more familiar evil. Hmm, they're not wrong. (But what you wrote is great, Del - really smart, clever read.)

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Delbert Griffith
16:13 Jul 14, 2023

Thanks so much for the kind words and the help, Susan. The tale is a thousand times better because of you. I picked the name Frank Baumgartner because of L. Frank Baum. Cheeky, I know, but it felt right. I hope he doesn't come back to haunt me. LOL I really wanted to get the Lollipop Guild in there because I love those characters. They are sweetly savage, so what's not to like, right? And the idea of evil itself outlasting evil beings was a great suggestion on your part. Made the story, IMO. Thanks again, my good friend. Cheers!

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Susan Catucci
17:15 Jul 14, 2023

I should think L. Frank would be flattered - being an Oz fan myself, it was a real delight to spot the parallels and vividly envision the action. I think "sweetly savage" is a perfect way to describe what I've always considered the thugs of Munchkin Land (or if Yellowbrick Road had a street gang.)

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Zatoichi Mifune
15:23 Jul 14, 2023

First time I've ever read a story related to the Wizard of Oz. That's not the Wizard of Oz, I mean. Great. That was great. Creative and engaging. I'm not really sure what else to offer.

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Delbert Griffith
16:10 Jul 14, 2023

Thanks so much, Zatoichi. I appreciate the kind words. It was a fun write with a dark ending. My type of tale! LOL Cheers, my friend.

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Amanda Lieser
23:30 Aug 29, 2023

We’re off to see the wizard! And what an interesting adventure it is. I loved the way you chose to lean on familiar characters and events, while shedding some fresh light onto it all. This story had us pleading with villains in the best way possible. You did a great job at packing so much in. Nice work!!

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Delbert Griffith
00:03 Aug 30, 2023

Thank you, Amanda, for the praise and for the commentary. As usual, you seem to hit on what's important. I did lean on familiar characters; I didn't have to develop them. A little lazy, maybe, but it fit the prompt well. I'm glad you saw that i packed a lot in it. Thematically, it was very dense. Again, thank you, my friend. Your unerring eye sees so much! Cheers!

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Tom Skye
19:10 Jul 30, 2023

This was so creative man. I was smiling the whole time.

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Delbert Griffith
19:54 Jul 30, 2023

Thanks so much, Chris. I appreciate the kind words, my friend. Cheers!

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Sarah Saleem
18:28 Jul 21, 2023

Fun story with great writing style! I love how you described the characters.

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Delbert Griffith
22:03 Jul 21, 2023

Thanks so much, Sarah! I appreciate the kind words. I'm pleased that you liked my characters. Well, some of them were mine. I stole the others. LOL Cheers!

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Michelle Oliver
14:02 Jul 21, 2023

Where is a farm girl when you need one! Hahaha. Loved it. This is such a clever take on the evil and its different forms. The love of money, the love of power, the love of vengeance, the love of possessions all of these can be seen as evils. The people of Oz just traded one evil for another by using evil to dispose evil. How many times have we seen that strategy used in the world of politics and international relations? Such a great social commentary and clever use of the surreal to make some very real observations and connections. Well done.

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Delbert Griffith
14:37 Jul 21, 2023

As usual, Michelle, you've hit the nail on the head with your commentary. Not only do we see this in politics and international relations, we see it in personal relationships, and even in dealing with climate change. Thanks so much for your terrifically insightful comments, and for reading my little tale. I always appreciate a Michelle Oliver commentary/critique. Cheers!

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Antonio Jimenez
06:10 Jul 20, 2023

This is usually not my type of story but I found it entertaining and well-written (even if I disagree with the main premise that capitalism is a uniquely evil system). The characters were interesting and I liked the way you used the prompt. I just published a story (also dealing with the concept of evil) and would love if you could take a peak and leave some feedback. Thanks!

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Delbert Griffith
10:08 Jul 20, 2023

Thanks very much, Antonio. I'm pleased that you liked my little tale. I don't think capitalism is inherently evil. I think it is twisted into evil purposes by greedy people. As the Bible states, the love of money is the root of all evil. Capitalism, in and of itself, is benign; it promotes ambition. Again, thank you, my friend. Cheers!

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Wally Schmidt
23:19 Jul 18, 2023

This is a really great mash-up story. I have always been enamored with the Wizard of Oz. I remember vividly having the pants scared off of me when the wicked witch's green face close-up came on the tv. Much later in a US history class, the professor had a member of the OZ society come in and take us through the symbolism in the OZ books. The scarecrow representing the agrarian age vs the industrial age represented by the tin man, and the Lion who doesn't have a heart, representing the dehumanizing work which was turning men into machines. Ev...

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Delbert Griffith
23:29 Jul 18, 2023

Thanks so much for the praise, Wally. You always have something interesting to say about my little tales, and this is no exception. Yes, all of the symbolism that you stated was something I learned about in college. It was a fantastic dawning for me, how a simple story could carry so much weight. And we must also remember the silver slippers, symbolizing the silver standard. The movie version has Dorothy wearing ruby slippers, but they had just started color movies, and the studio wanted to show off as much color as possible. Wally, I wish...

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Wally Schmidt
01:40 Jul 19, 2023

I haven't looked yet but maybe someone recorded one of those lectures online. I'll surf around and let you know if I find anything.

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Delbert Griffith
09:08 Jul 19, 2023

Wow, thanks, Wally! You're a jewel!

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Michał Przywara
20:43 Jul 18, 2023

Heh :) Horror, yes, but amusing too. Quite a clash of worlds. Unbridled capitalism is a theme but so could colonialism be - Oz only exists for us to take it and exploit it, and the locals be damned. There's another theme that stood out to me. "and no stupid farm girl to bail us out". These characters are quite passive, and they constantly depend on others to help them. First Dorothy, then Effie, but even Franklin, as he was what Viya was counting on to make the sale. Maybe there's something to be said here for personal responsibility, a le...

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Delbert Griffith
22:57 Jul 18, 2023

Thanks so much for the commentary and the terrific insights, Michal. As usual, you see what the story is meant to show - and sometimes more! The whole idea of unbridled capitalism was paramount. As was the lust for power. Both are inextricably intertwined, and we shouldn't be able, at the end, to separate them. The whole idea of personal responsibility didn't occur to me at all. I think that I see the Oz characters as static and unchanging. They are what they are, and there is no changing that. perhaps this is a mistake, or at least a lost...

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Chuck Thompson
19:26 Jul 17, 2023

This is a fun addition to the OZ legacy! Monsters, witches and knotheads all wrapped up in one sweet little package. Thanks!

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Delbert Griffith
22:26 Jul 17, 2023

Thanks so much, Chuck, for the kind words. Truly. Cheers!

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Russell Mickler
01:59 Jul 17, 2023

Hey there, Delbert - Dark, scary mansions? Okay, I totally grok that! I think I recognize Frank Baum here. Definitely surreal. Hey, wait, it's good to be green - Ballgown! Is this thing on? It's also Wicked! Hahah I mean, yes, charmingly derivative, but also relatable in the sense that we know this world and the parallel to the real world. I like the draw on the legal system tied to Munchkins and Oz, and the capitalist commentary throughout. A fun read, sir - R

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Delbert Griffith
07:49 Jul 17, 2023

Thanks so much, Russel, for the kind words. I appreciate your insights on the tale; capitalism was the theme. In particular, how destructive it can become in the wrong hands. Yes, L. Frank Baum and Wicked! both made an appearance here, a generation or so removed. Pointing out, I suppose, that evil never dies. I'm pleased you liked it, my friend. It was a fun write. Cheers!

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Mary Bendickson
14:44 Jul 14, 2023

This has an Oz feel about it.

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Delbert Griffith
16:09 Jul 14, 2023

Just follow the yellow-brick road, my friend. LOL Cheers!

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