Below is a Recollection–this is not a review, but rather a full spoiler walkthrough of the author’s experience in The Door, Chapter Three of The Speakeasy Society’s The Kansas Collection. It is also only one path out of many that could have been experienced, so there is some repeatability in returning! In this chapter, The Wizard invites you to the house of an old friend for a hard decision. We do have word that this event may happen again, so if you are concerned with spoilers, please don’t read this. Instead, read the review.
I enter a small outdoor patio, sheltered from the outside world by a protective canopy. It’s cold outside, but a warm light fills the enclosed space. The wall at the far end is adorned with various Kansas license plates—and a large diamond-shaped sign with a cow on it. Under it sits Lyman, our guide. But this isn’t the typical conductor-hat-wearing Lyman I’ve grown accustomed to. This Lyman looks tired, nervous, uneasy. It appears as if he was woken suddenly, dressed in pajamas and a bathrobe. He offers us a drink and a seat. Then in a more serious tone, he asks us a question:
“What’s the difference between inevitable consequences and destiny?”
The four of us on the patio remain quiet, considering the difference. Lyman jokes, “This is why I asked you if you wanted a drink to start.” We laugh, but Lyman doesn’t. He continues, explaining that there may not be an answer to his question. There are some choices that are harder to make than others—and there are some consequences that are inevitable, regardless of the choice.
“You are in a different place tonight. The rules are different from what you’ve experienced before.” And he’s right. We are not socializing around a fire or hanging out in the quilted lobby of a resistance group enjoying drinks with friends. It’s just four of us, together, outside of a small house. “Some choices you may not want to make, but some choices you have to make. You have to make choices for the good of the future. Just know, sometimes the consequences are inevitable.”
Lyman shifts in his seat uncomfortably as we idly chat. But abruptly, we stop talking as Lyman’s eyes grow large. I look to see what he sees, and notice the light of a lantern through the slots in the fence. The gate opens and Mr. Diggs, the former Wizard of Oz, emerges. The sight of him confirms Lyman’s expression. His hat is pushed to the side; his clothes filthy; the ragged remains of his precious balloon still draped across neck. I notice his fingers, they are bandaged and bleeding.
“Looks like everyone’s here. Did you all bring your keys?”
I hesitantly open my hand, revealing my key. The Wizard looks at it and nods approvingly. He explains that these keys won’t open any physical doors, but they will open other kinds, then goes around the group asking who we spoke to in Chapter One. One person responds Phil and The Wizard scoffs. Another says Phoebe. He holds up his hands and tells us that she’s the one who tortured him—removing his finger nails. We’re all here for different reasons. We all have different loyalties. But we’re all here for one thing: Dorothy Gale.
The Wizard walks across the patio and stops at the door. “I don’t know what’s in there. Stay close, stay quiet; don’t touch anything, and don’t go anywhere without me. Do we understand each other?” We all agree in unison.
“This is Dorothy’s house. Welcome.”
As I step through the door, I can hear Lyman repeating, “Some choices are harder to make than others; and some consequences are inevitable.” He seems remorseful, maybe even scared. I am in a dark kitchen. Light from the porch floods in and illuminates the space. A note on the fridge from Margaret says that dinner is in the freezer. But the rest of the space is bleak, cold. The Wizard stops us, and again warns us to stay close—this could be a trap. I enter the living room and notice a petite woman in her early twenties sitting at a desk. She’s dressed in a t-shirt and ripped jeans, with her hair in two braids. A computer in front of her plays a video of the Scarecrow King: “Find her. Find her. Find her. Find her. Find her.”
She spies us and slams the computer shut. “Please get out; I don’t want any trouble. Margaret, my sister, will be home soon.”
The Wizard asks, “Do you know who I am?”
She looks at him, but remembering appears to be painful.
“Do you remember what happened in Oz?”
The girl grabs her head and shrinks back. She tells him Margaret won’t let her talk about these things—it isn’t healthy. The Wizard looks concerned. He tells her everything she remembers is real—no matter how bizarre it seems. She needs to remember. He then turns to us, instructing us to sit. I take a seat on a large couch and look around the room. It is dark, illuminated only by a small light. A sign on the door from Margaret warns Dorothy to never leave the house.
“You used to know me—I was the great and powerful Wizard of Oz,” he continues. But the girl shakes her head in disbelief. “What happened to you? Do you really not remember me? The Dorothy Gale I knew was fearless; people followed her. Why are you defeated? Why have you given up? Come on, you were a fighter. You were the Patchwork Girl. You were the Lost Princess. You were hope…” His voice trails off, lost in a fleeting thought.
“I can’t be all those things!” she counters. “It’s not fair.” She moves over to the couch, crouching down to look up at me. “I can’t be both. What do you think I am? What do you believe.”
I respond that to me, she’s the Patchwork Girl. The Lost Princess is Ozma.
“So, I’m the Patchwork Girl.” She repeats it a few times, trying to remember it as she stands.
The Wizard tries one more time, pleading with her. “Oz needs you.” But Dorothy can’t face that truth yet.
“What if I am happy? Don’t I deserve to be happy?” she retorts. The Wizard, and Oz, don’t care. He tells her Oz will take what it needs. And right now, it needs her.
“I lied. I remember you. You’re a coward.” I hear the malice in her voice. “I remember it. Enough of it. Pain and heartbreak. That was Oz.” She continues to tell us that Margaret thinks Dorothy is sick. It was all a bad dream, a nightmare. She had a concussion. The storm, that was real. “But Oz; it was as if the sun needed me to make the dawn happen.” Her voice drops to a whisper as if she’s telling a secret. I lean in closer. “And it was beautiful.” She looks as if she’s going to cry. “But it was difficult. It was hard. There was a storm coming. Much more frightening than anything in Kansas. And I was expected to hold it off, to keep everything balanced.” I feel the weight on Dorothy’s shoulders. The fate of a world rested on this poor young girl. So many people depended on her and she wasn’t ready to be that person yet. She breaks down into tears. “It’s not right. I feel guilty for things that I don’t even remember. I stepped into a world that wasn’t meant for me. Margaret picked me up from the hospital. I didn’t have anyone. And everything is so grey here.” She looks at me through the tears. “Time moves differently here. Sometimes I have these splitting headaches, as if someone is screaming so loudly in my head that I can’t even hear my own thoughts!”
The Wizard looks worried. He asks Dorothy when Margaret came home last. They could have gotten to her. We aren’t safe. Dorothy stops crying; she’s no worried. She tries to distract herself. “Let’s play a game!” she yells. The Wizard tells her we don’t have time for this. But she runs over to the other side of the couch anyway. “Let’s say, you receive a phone call in the middle of the night only to find out that a long-lost relative had passed and left you a large inheritance, what is the first thing you do?” A girl in our group responds that she opens her eyes. This is the same question Lyman asked us at the opening of The Key.
The Wizard is impatient. He offers to show her a magic trick to calm her down. But she screams no at him, moving across the room once again. She begins to ask another question as The Wizard begs her to listen to him. She stops, looks him dead in the eye, and says, “Okay. You say that you’re a wizard. Prove it.” The Wizard takes this challenge. He pulls a deck of cards from his pocket and shuffles them in his hand. He pulls a seat up to the couch and he and Dorothy sit facing us. He instructs us to each place a hand over the cards.
“We humbly beg the angels to descend on this modest gathering of souls. We entreat the spirits of past and present to look favorably upon us. To move the cards in such a way to break the shackles of time and space and allow us to peer through the dark mirror in hopes of divination of the grandest order!” I remove my hand, impressed by the words of the famous con man. He explains that he will draw nine cards that will give insight into the past, present and future, the head & mind, the heart & blood, and the body & instinct. He lets Dorothy draw the first card.
“Separation!” He explains that this card means that Dorothy traveled a great distance, experienced loss, and has changed. She retorts that everyone experiences loss and changes because of it. The Wizard explains, “Not everyone loses their parents or is separated from their siblings—sent to live on a joyless grey farm in the middle of nowhere. Not everyone lives in a house without laughter. Not everyone—” Dorothy interrupts him, but he doesn’t let her speak. He continues, “This is your life, Dorothy. It will be in the cards. All of it. Time split apart, weaving itself together again. But this I know for a fact. Of all the things this card represents—it represents a great storm that carried you to a faraway land.”
“To Oz,” Dorothy admits. He then turns to me, and has me draw the next card. I place it next to the other. It’s a six of spades.
“Fate!” This is a card of destiny,representing something that happened because it had to. Dorothy separated from the old land and came to the new to find her destiny. He looks down at the card. “Six. Three pairs of two. Three friends fighting together.” Dorothy recalls, “The Scarecrow… a lion… and uh… I don’t want to play this anymore.” But The Wizard moves to the next person, a girl. She draws a card and places it next to the others.
“Harmony,” he chuckles to himself. This means she has a good heart. Dorothy asks the girl to inquire what it means moving forward. “It means she brings peace and prosperity wherever she goes.” This is a stark contrast to what the Scarecrow King told us of the girl who brings chaos and destruction. “She deposes the unjust. Witches, Wizards, Me.” The next person draws a card.
“Disappointment!” He explains that this means loss, an end. That Dorothy lost her faith in people. “Why,” she asks disheartened. The Wizard takes a deep breath preparing himself, but Dorothy speaks first, “Did I kill someone?” She is frightened. “Yes—because I made you. I promised you something in return and you were foolish enough to believe me.” The honesty from the Wizard, his vulnerability, is surprising. I squirm in my seat, feeling horrified as Dorothy remembers the terrible things she did for The Wizard.
“Who did I kill?”
“Just some witches. The first was an accident.” There is no remorse in his voice.
“And the second? Why did I kill the second witch?” Dorothy is about to break.
“Because I promised to take you home,” he admits.
“And did you?”
“Draw the next card please.” The next player does, placing it on the stack as Dorothy shakes in her seat.
“Doubt!” The introduction of unreliability. Friends become enemies. He explains that this is where she is now. This is the center of her story. She has slipped in and out of time so many times that she no longer knows what is real. “You trust no one, let alone yourself.” She doesn’t trust him—or any of us. The Wizard has one last card to draw, a card revealing the future, but he hesitates.
“No, no, no, no! Please finish the reading. I have to know that you’re real.” She draws the last card.
“Change. Rebirth. Transformation.” He explains that this is a very powerful card. With it, she became something new and she will become something new again. “I freed Oz. I freed Oz from you,” Dorothy realizes. The Wizard nods approvingly. “They called me The Lost Princess—and I didn’t stop them. I lied to everyone.” But the Wizard tells her she didn’t lie; she just let it happen. “They thought I was better than I was. I thought it was harmless—just let them believe what they want to.” Her voice becomes frantic. “I wanted to hide. I never wanted to be anyone important, so I just let it happen.”
She is afraid. She is wounded. She looks to The Wizard—and her sadness shifts to anger. She clenches her fists and she accuses him: “You left me. You told me you’d take me home, but you left me in a war-torn land where people wanted me dead. You left me. I was lost.” Her voice quivers. “Everyone was after me. Wanting something. Needing something that I couldn’t give them. I wanted to go home. And you left me.” Her voice finally breaks. All the emotion she had been holding back fills her tiny frame. Her presence fills the room and she focuses everything on The Wizard: “You monster. I killed for you. I murdered someone on the condition that you would take me home. And you left me. You left me.”
“Yes. I left you. Of course I left you.” The Wizard is screaming back at her. I shrink back in my seat, making myself as small as possible. The hairs on my skin stand at attention. “Have you ever thought of the consequences of my life. Of what happened to me! Look at me? I’m nothing; I’m nobody; I’m a con man from Omaha. But over there, for just a moment, I mattered—I meant something.”
Dorothy crumples to the floor, sobbing. The Wizard doesn’t care, he’s filled with rage, animosity, fury. He begins to turn over cards in rapid succession. “Grief! I lost everything because of you. Everything I had was taken from me. I was banished because of you.” He flips another card. “Tears! You were easy to leave. I would do it again if I had the chance.” He flips a third card—the queen of clubs. “The Black Widow…”
Dorothy asks if it’s her. “Yes and no,” he responds.
“Oh great and powerful Wizard, am I going back to Oz?” Dorothy says mockingly. He shakes his head at this defeated woman. A shell of her former self. “I don’t need the cards to read your future.”
“I am not going back to Oz!” She shrieks. “And I never was The Patchwork Girl.”
“From one fraud to another, it doesn’t fucking matter.”
With that last sentence, he rushes forward and grabs her. She screams and kicks, but his 6’2 frame is too large for the petite girl. A whirling noise overpowers the room and a bright line shines from a side door. It bursts open and Phil and Phoebe Daring, the two recruitment agents for The Armed Militia, emerge. The both brandish weapons: tactical batons that extend.
“Stay where you are and no one gets hurt,” Phil commands.
“Oh Dorothy, it’s so good to see you,” Phoebe coos at the restrained girl. She turns her attention to us. “You have served the Scarecrow well. You too, Mr. Diggs.”
The twins then explain that the keys were able to bring them here. When enough are brought to one place, they can find a way to crossover. They knew the only way to get four of us to show up was if a neutral party invited us. “Where’s Margaret?” Dorothy cries out.
“We had nothing to do with that.” Phil grabs his head—another headache. “Pull yourself together, Phil!” Phoebe yells at him. He apologizes, standing up straight and thanking us for our good work. Phoebe grabs Dorothy, yanking the poor girl from The Wizards grasp. She pulls her across the floor, towards the doorway the twins arrived through. The door slams shut behind them, leaving Phil to clean up.
“I hope you’re pleased with yourself,” the Wizard says begrudgingly.
“We wouldn’t be in this mess, if it wasn’t for you—” All conversation ceases as a television to our left emits a loud static burst. The picture begins to focus, revealing The Scarecrow King, with Dorothy lying at his feet.
“Attention Armed Militia Recruits. Mr. Oscar Diggs, formerly known as The Wizard, is hereby pardoned of all crimes against Oz and the Emerald City. This is in agreement with a deal struck during his last round of questioning.” The Wizard looks down at the bloody bandages covering his hands. “Mr. Diggs has found Dorothy, and I provided a means in which to take her. As for you, Special Officer Daring will make sure your names will be remembered for your part in restoring Oz’s prodigal daughter to the Emerald City. Thank you for your service. I hope to meet you in person someday soon.” The television returns to static and then shuts off. The room is left in silence.
But Phil speaks first: “My mother was a quilt maker.” I recognize this sentence—it’s a passphrase for The Patchwork Resistance, a way for other resistance members to identify each other covertly. I am not Patchwork, so I don’t know the response—and neither did the rest of my group.
“We’re all going to die for this shit, Phil,” The Wizard barks.
“On the contrary, his majesty–”
“I just want to be left alone. A little peace before the world ends.” The Wizard is hostile. Upset at the choice he had to make—and the consequences that went alongside it. Phil nods to him that he can leave. The Wizard mutters profanities under his breath as he walks to the front door and exits, slamming the door behind him. Phil retracts his weapon and puts it away. He kneels close to us.
“He’s of no use to anyone now. Sad what happened to him. I remember the thunder in his voice. Parlor tricks aside, he really did seem to have some power.” He stands and begins to pace. “You know, I think the Scarecrow is going to marry my sister.” He chuckles to himself. He tells us that they’ve been spending increasing time together, secret clandestine meetings. It’s all people in the palace can talk about. He admits that his sister loves power and authority, while the Scarecrow loves adoration and being King. It’s a good pairing.
“To be honest, she scares me. Like I don’t know who she really is. And when she touches me, I get this pain—like someone is screaming in my head.”
He excuses us—he must clean up. He thanks us again for our good work and informs us to keep our keys—we’ll need them again soon. We walk out the front door as Phil salutes us.
“I’ll see you at the wedding!”
I exit back into the night, feeling dirty, shameful, and horrified at what I just allowed to happen.
This was the conclusion of Chapter Three of The Kansas Collection: a multi-part venture into the land of Oz. If this interested you, please read our recollections of Chapter One: The Key and Chapter Two: The Axe; and follow The Speakeasy Society’s website or Facebook for more information.