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Dignity, Dorothy meets the Wizard

“There is dignity in work. Increasing the minimum wage constitutes a threat to the dignity of the unemployed.”

Aaron Lane IPA Press Release.

”It’s about empowering individuals in being able to choose their own employment.”

Aaron Lane on abolishing the minimum wage altogether. The Age.

* * *

Ok, as the IPA are doing their own satire now, I’ll go back to writing straight fiction.

“Well,” said the Tinman, “I hope the Wizard will be able to give me a heart.”

“And,” added the Lion, “I hope that he’ll give me courage.”

“Here we are,” said the Scarecrow. “I’m so glad I found you folks because I could never have made it here by myself.”

Toto barked. It seems that the Wizard was about to appear. Dorothy hushed them all.

The screen fired up, spluttered, then went black, apart from a notice that said that if one wanted access to the Wizard, one should contact one’s subscriber.

“F*ck it,” said Dorothy, “I’ll use my phone.”

At this point, a wizened old man stepped out from behind the screen. “Just what do you think you’re doing?” he demanded.

“I’m going to access the internet using my smartphone,” she replied.

“Good luck,” said the old man. “Download speeds here are so slow that you’ll be my age before you get coverage.”

“Who are you?” asked Dorothy.

“I’m the controller of everything that happens here in Oz. Some call me the Wizened. Others call me, sir. But you, my child, can’t call me at all, because you’re not a subscriber. Go away.”

“But,” insisted Dorothy, “we’ve come all this way. The Tinman here, wants a heart, the Lion wants courage and the Scarecrow just wants a brain.”

“What about you?” asked the old man, “What do you want?”

“I just want to be safe,” replied Dorothy.

“Why do any of these things concern me?”

“Because we’re here and if you want to be left alone, it’d be better to help us. Otherwise, we’ll just tell everyone that the Wizard is just a sad, old man.”

The Wizened thought for a moment.

“All right,” he replied eventually. “I can use the Tinman. A person like that can take charge of Oz’s borders, and make them strong. Someone with no heart would be good like that. We shall henceforth call him Scott.

“As for the Lion, someone with no courage would make an excellent Minister for Education. That way, they won’t question anything and will feel that everything is fine just the way it is. Henceforth, he shall be called Pyne the Lion.

“As for the Scarecrow, he would make an excellent Prime Minister. He will do as he is told and he’ll be too stupid to understand that he’s being used to further my agenda and will actually think that I like him. Henceforth, he will be called many things, but will be too stupid to understand that history will judge him more harshly than Billy Hughes.

“And as for you, young Dorothy, I understand that you came into Oz illegally. We don’t want people like you here.”

“That’s good,” replied Dorothy, “because I don’t want to be here.”

“So be it,” replied the Wizened, and with a clap of his hands, Dorothy was whisked into custody.

The Scarecrow – when the Wizened had finally got his screen working – announced to the good people of Oz that Dorothy had come here illegally and that it had been a hundred days since a house had landed in Oz. He and his friend, Scott the Tinman, had stopped the houses and many of the people of Oz cheered, because even though house-landings in Oz were rare, the fact that one had flattened a witch made people fearful.

As for Dorothy, well, nobody knows what happened to her. There were rumours that she was kept out of sight in a nearby place. But these were only rumours, and one doesn’t investigate rumours. When asked about Dorothy, the Scarecrow would talk about flying houses and the Tinman would say that he made no apology because there was nothing to sorry for, and anyway, the Witch of the East had said that Dorothy was ok. The Lion said very little on the subject, but when he occasionally tried to roar, many people said that it sounded like he must surely still be a friend of Dorothy.

“Forget about Dorothy,” said the Scarecrow. “It’s time to get back to digging up that yellow brick road in return for free picks and shovels. There’s dignity in work, you know.”

And with that, the Munchkins went off to work singing as they did, feeling happy that they lived in a place where gold was so plentiful that they could dig it up and send it to needy billionaires.

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