Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Searching for OZ

After a successful sales presentation that left you dissatisfied, you head home but turn off from the GPS efficient and direct route for a more leisurely scenic route. While stopping for a bite to eat you notice across the street The Oz Museum. From the outside it's just another store front, tucked next to Vacuum Repair by Mo who claims "I can make it suck again", Crabb's Jewelers "Top $$ Gold", Dizzie's "Home of Kansas's best corn dough pizza!". You're in no hurry, so why not?

After lunch you head over. Behind the old glass-fronted counter is a very short woman, nibbling a cookie as she reads a worn copy of The Lost Princess of Oz. She shakes her head before looking up. As you cross the four strides to the counter, she slides a laminated map of the museum across to the edge of the glass counter. Her eyes drift to the donation box, then she returns to her book.

You put $5 into the "Donations are ♥︎" box then step into the next room. You had expected some kitschy mockups from the Wizard of Oz movie. But this is set up like a natural history museum. Puzzled you wander from one case to the next that contain things like yellow bricks, a golden cap and jewel-studded belt both labeled REPLICA, and a dinner pail and a coconut-like object labeled Dinner Pail tree and Book tree. In one case there are 7 sets of feathers. Each card describes a different species of winged monkey.

When you get to a pair of silver shoes labeled Dorothy Gale your puzzlement draws your face into a deep scowl. Then a vague memory surfaces that the shoes had been silver in the books but had changed to the more colorful ruby for the movie. And an even vaguer memory niggles that the land of Oz in the books had been real rather than a dream.

This all must be the creation of some Oz nerd with more energy than sense to create this extended joke out in the middle of nowhere.

A high-pitched voice at your elbow says, "Here. You dropped this."

The woman from the counter holds out a mole-skin notebook. You protest but she shoves it at you, leaving you no choice but to grab it before it drops to the floor.

As she walks away, she says, "And don't forget to leave the map on the counter. They ain't cheap!"

You turn it over to see on the cover is written:

It Takes Courage To Believe

Glancing around, you look for cameras. This isn't an Oz-nerd creation. It must be a Candid Camera version of The Twilight Zone.

After some further skepticism, you are drawn into following clues to what is going on, on a quest to want to believe.

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