~work in progress~
It began with the twister. Everything was going so well until then. All the beasts in the forest were getting on so well, problems were discussed amicably, and without my need to roar or scare anyone. I was happy being King of the Beasts. The Wizard of Oz had given me the courage to be their King, and I drank it up. I guess Queen would be more gender-accurate, but the Wizard still scared me, and I didn’t want to correct him.
The day of the cyclone began so well – to be on the road again, to be with Tinman and Scarecrow was just like old times. I’m sure Dorothy would have immediately known the answers to Scarecrow’s problems. She always knew exactly what to do. But with the sun warm on my fur, and the breeze ruffling my mane I relaxed and enjoyed the moment. Maybe I took my eyes off the ball, as the Wizard used to say – but only for a moment. True, it was an important moment to have been paying attention. But maybe if the Wizard had given me extra brains, I would have anticipated what happened next. For sure, I feel sorry for not being able to rescue my friends. I believed I was doing the right thing by listening, and not interrupting the Scarecrow as he talked about the bad Bank Manager of Oz.
I should have had plenty of courage to be able to carry my friends out of the path of danger, and maybe certain death. I don’t understand what happened. The Wizard didn’t say that my courage would expire, or run out. But I didn’t ask either; I didn’t think to, I believed him. I trusted him, now I don’t know what to think. Maybe courage is something that is finite and I’ve used it all up? What happens now? How will I manage? What will I do? I don’t know. How will I get home to the beasts? Will they still recognise me as their King if I’m not strong and brave?
The first problem seems to be finding out where we are. There is no colour in this land, everything is grey – maybe we’ve ended up in Kansas? But I’m not sure as Dorothy said her family were farmers, and unless the people here plant bricks, all I can see are buildings, not crops, trees or things you can eat. A landscape packed full of tall straight hard edges, and swarms of people un-nerve me. Also, this land smells odd… dry, acrid and synthetic, false. In Oz, I can smell life and dinner on the breeze. To clarify, I’m vegetarian. As King, I cannot kill and eat my subjects. Besides, I can’t stand the sight and the iron-tang aroma of blood: it twists my stomach sideways.
The second problem we need to solve is finding out who is the leader of this grey land, and how we can meet them. Maybe he is just like the Wizard of Oz, and they can give me more courage? I do want to get back home to the forest. I want to feel the warm earth flex under my paws, and the rustle of leaves over my head. Maybe I’ll need to face great challenges in order to find my way home.
Until we figure out how to get home, Tinman, Scarecrow and I have decided to go into what you call politics. From what we have learnt so far, this appears to be the best chance we have of getting to meet your leader, especially on a Wednesday – although I don’t understand the significance of that yet. Scarecrow‘s word of the day is audacious (he read it on the back of a cornflake packet). And maybe this plan is audacious, I’m not sure, but as the only plan we have, we’ve committed to it. Well Tinman and Scarecrow have, I just don’t want to be left on my own. Tinman says we need to blend in and adapt to this world for now. For all my doubts, I have acquiesced, for now. I am going to be Leonie Redmayne for the duration, and to think of this as a working holiday. Perhaps even a detective story.
We certainly need to understand how this world works in order to find our way home. There are things that already really confuse me. Like fairness. Some people seem to have great wealth, and others very little at all? Some people seem to have the right to tell others exactly how to live their lives, even when they are sick and dying? Even stranger is the apparent need to dig up grasslands and wetlands and forests to build more tall buildings? I just don’t comprehend. But I’ve joined the Liberal Democrats, partly because they are yellow, and that’s a colour I understand. Also, they understand how limited aspiration is more achievable than grand ambitions. They believe in the grassroots, and anything to do with grass, I’m game. I’ve been told that they’re aiming for a constituency the size of a small paddock by 2020. This I definitely understand. They sound like Salt of the Earth people. The flavour, that makes the main meal more palatable.